Keeping track of the members of your family can be quite the task, especially if you have a large family. While parents want to keep track of where their kids are, and to be able to communicate with them instantly, at the same time, they don’t want to have to act as their offspring’s jailer.
Family Orbit, a new app for iOS devices from AppObit LLC, offers parents the ability to stay connected with their kids 24/7, keep tabs on their location, and even share messages and photos, as well as contact them immediately if an emergency should arise.
Family Orbit is available free in the App Store, and while it offers a number of great features in the free version, it also offers premium subscription features that many families will likely want to at least try for a month, to gauge their value.
Family Orbit allows users to:
- View an Activity Wall with Family News generated automatically
- Track every one’s location on a real-time map
- Create Family Places like Home and School and be notified automatically (by push notifications and emails) when they arrive or leave
- Check In or Send Panic Alerts to family members
- View Location History of members within last 7 days
- Share Photos privately and securely with everyone in the family
- Send one on one or group messages, free of cost
- Full privacy controls for adult members. They can turn sharing on and off at any time they wish. Child accounts are supervised by their parents.
Parents can setup accounts for each child, allowing them to monitor such information as:
- Set up Speed Limits and be notified when their teenager is driving over the limit
- Monitor “all photos” snapped with the phone’s camera applications
- Monitor “all contacts” added to their address book
- Monitor device information like Wi-Fi details and battery information
- Children can check which guardian is near and request for them to pick them up.
Setup was as easy as installing the app on my iPhone, setting myself up as a parent, and then sending an invite to other users. Prospective members of your family group will receive an email linking to the app in the App Store, along with a code to enter to join the family group. (If you have a “rebel” in the family who doesn’t use an iPhone, there is also an Android version of the app available via Google Play.)
Monitoring of the child users is simple, and is easy to setup and follow. Admittedly, my family consisted of myself and my wife, (she graciously agreed to act as a “child” for my testing), but all features of the app worked as advertised.
Users can check-in manually, by leaving messages to other users, as well as share photos they have taken on their own devices, making the app feel more like a social network than a strict monitoring app.
Users with large families or who want advanced monitoring abilities will want to investigate the $4.99 per month premium features. These include:
- Monitor location history up to past 7 days
- Add up to 10 members in your Family
- Monitor “all photos” from your child devices
- Monitor “all contacts” from your child devices
- Get up to 5GB of Cloud Storage for your family photos
The premium fee auto-renews every month, and has to be manually cancelled in the settings of the app, so keep that in mind.
One feature I particularly liked is the “Panic Button.” Users who are faced with an emergency can immediately message for help via the handy feature.
Family Orbit is an easy to use, and simple to maintain app that allows parents to keep tabs on their offspring, without the children feeling like they’re being unfairly monitored. The app, while offering monitoring, also acts as a family only social network, allowing for messaging and photo sharing, as well as the monitoring features sure to be appreciated by parents.
Rating: 4/5 [rating:4.0]
Price: Family Orbit is available FREE in the iOS App Store. Premium features can be activated via an auto-renewing $4.99 monthly subscription fee. [Get the App Here…]
- Easy setup
- Monitoring features come in handy
- Eases a parent’s mind when they can track they location of their children
- Communication features are a plus
- The apps sharing features makes it seem more like a social network, which could get kids to go along with the program a bit easier
- The limits for family sizes may not be sufficient for Brady Bunch-type clans
- 5GB of storage space could easily be used up by large families
*Note: The above review was commissioned by the developer in accordance with our app review policy, and has been written in an objective, unbiased fashion.