Parenting

This GPS gadget is a must for parents of kids who wander off

Jiobit helps keep kids safe.

Jiobit kids tracking device Credit: Jiobit

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One minute I was standing in line at our town’s local carnival and the next I was frantically searching for my then 6-year-old son who has autism. He had been right next to me in line, I turned to talk to a friend, and when I turned back he was gone. Twenty long minutes later I found him and although I swore that I would never let him out of my sight again, it wouldn’t be the last time he wandered away and got lost. Which is why, when I saw an advertisement for Jiobit, I thought maybe this might be the solution to keeping my son safe.

What exactly is Jiobit?

Jiobit
Credit: Jiobit

Jiobit makes it simple to keep track of kids who wander.

“Built for families and designed by parents,” Jiobit is a wearable GPS tracker that collects and reports real-time location details and then sends them directly to an iOS or Android compatible app. Created to prevent children from wandering too far from their parents—and helping to locate them if they do—Jiobit constantly monitors a child’s location and alerts parents if their child has gone too far from their preprogrammed safe zones.

Nearly half of children with special needs are prone to bolting and wandering away, which contributes to the nearly 400,000 children that were reported missing last year. “Children with autism go missing under a variety of circumstances” states The National Center For Missing And Exploited Children. But sadly, only 77% of children with special needs who go missing each year are recovered within one week.

How does Jiobit work?

Jiobit map
Credit: Jiobit

Jiobit notifies you when your child leaves or arrives at one of their "Trusted Places".

Designed for kids with special needs, Jiobit has no buttons or switches on the device itself. Water-resistant, weighing less than four quarters, and the size of a small cookie, it’s surprisingly packed with technology. By simply attaching the Jiobit device to a child’s clothing, it tracks the location of the child using GPS technology, and then sends that information directly to the Jiobit app for a parent to view.

Jiobit offers six different features:

  • Live Mode: Tracks your child's location movements and provides a detailed map of their current location.
  • Timeline: Allows you to view two days of consecutive location history so that you know where your child went, even if you weren’t there.
  • Trusted Places: Sends a notification to the app when the Jiobit device arrives or leaves one of your pre-selected trusted places; allowing you to see when your child arrives and leaves locations such as your home or their school.
  • Bluetooth Alert: The Jiobit will send an urgent alert to the app when it moves too far from the phone monitoring it, giving you an immediate warning that your child may be straying too far.
  • Care Teams: The app allows additional care providers to access location information, device history, and get the same notifications the parent app receives.
  • Alert Me: Sends a critical notification and location information to the app when a child double-clicks the front of the Jiobit, providing an immediate warning that help is needed.

Holding a charge for up to a week or more, the device self-connects to the best available WiFi, Bluetooth, cellular, or GPS connection. This allows the Jiobit to continue sending a location signal no matter how far a child roams outside of their original location, whether inside or outside, and in over 120 different countries. Plus, with safety in mind, Jiobit’s government level security protocol ensures data encryption that complies with The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Tool (COPPA).

What Jiobit is like in real life

Jiobit clip on
Credit: Jiobit

The Jiobit tracking device easily clips on to a belt loop or a necklace.

When the Jiobit device first arrived at my house, I put off setting it up, anticipating that it would be a time consuming project. But a few days later, while on vacation, I finally opened the box and I have to admit I was shocked at how easy the setup process was. With a simple three-step instruction guide, I downloaded the Jiobit app, created an account, and paired my phone with the Jiobit device. It then had me select my Trusted Places and within seven minutes of opening the box, the device and app were ready for use.

After attaching the Jiobit to my son’s belt loop using one of two included clips, I had my husband walk our son across the street to a playground. Watching via the satellite map on the app I was able to see the blinking dot that represented my son move across the street and stop at the playground. To say that I was impressed was an understatement. My phone chirped that he had strayed too far from me, offered to provide me with step-by-step directions to where he was located, and when he returned a little while later, the app alerted that my son was “with me.”

Over the next few days I didn’t hold back while submitting the Jiobit to a variety of situations that any typical family might encounter. First, it survived a long afternoon of swimming in the pool and proved that it is, in fact, water-resistant. Next, I watched the app reflect the Jiobit making its way around the zoo, warning me when my son strayed too far, and again offering to give me turn-by-turn directions to where he was. When we returned home from our trip, the app immediately alerted me that my son had returned to his “trusted place” as soon as I pulled into our driveway, and the next morning when he went on a walk with my daughter, it alerted me that he had left our house.

Does Jiobit live up to its claims?

I have to say, I was impressed. Jiobit proved itself to be extremely accurate, very durable, and was simple enough that it wasn’t overwhelming to use. The device itself never fell off, nor was it able to be taken off by my child, yet it was easy for me as a parent to remove. It held a charge for nearly the entire week, survived complete submersion in water, and was small enough that it never bothered my son, who has severe sensory concerns. I was surprised at the sense of peace I felt using Jiobit, as the anxiety of constantly losing my son slowly melted away.

The only place that the Jiobit didn’t really hit the mark for me was the app option to “Ring” the Jiobit. Assuming it was to assist in locating a child, the ring noise was much too quiet to be of any use in a crowd, and may actually be a feature designed to find a lost Jiobit device; a nice option, but I can’t help but think it could have been more.

Also, because Jiobit is designed to be simple, it didn’t come with a hefty instruction manual and from time to time, I had questions about the Jiobit features. However, getting assistance from the Jiobit team was extremely easy with the in-app chat feature where responses were quick, friendly, and very detailed. However, customer service is only available during business hours, so I would take that into consideration if you plan to use it for the first time on a weekend.

Is Jiobit worth the cost?

With a cost of just over $100, plus the monthly service fee of either $12.99 a month or $8.99 for a two-year commitment, the Jiobit's price tag is one that I would typically put some serious thought into before jumping on board with the purchase. But the monthly cost is far less than any of the other child-GPS tracking devices I was able to find in my research, so that’s definitely worth noting.

It is also important to mention that although the Jiobit device comes with a charging dock and charging cord, it does not come with the charging plug; a problem I initially ran into when it wasn’t compatible with the one I use for my phone. While a small expense, it could be an unexpected one and a hassle if you are in a hurry.

All-in-all, when it comes to the price of safety, I don’t think the cost is unreasonable when you consider what most parents would be willing to pay to bring a lost child home.

Get a Jiobit at Target for $129.99

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