Every kid is different. Some remain still, focused, and content with their books or Legos. Others get on a sled, immediately rocket into a snowy woods, and disappear for days on end. (Just kidding.) (Kind of.)
As a parent, it can be hard to know when to grab your children and when to pull back. But on a recent sunny Saturday morning, in a mostly empty park, I decided to try something different. When my 4-year-old took off down the trail, I resisted the urge to sprint after her. Instead, I opened the Jiobit app and turned on Live Mode.
I watched as the little dot got about 400 feet away from me, walked in uncertain circles at a fork in the trail, then turned around. As it turns out, a little bit of freedom goes a long way.
Connecting the Dots
I have complicated feelings about tracking my kids. But since Jiobit launched in 2015, customers have discovered that they’re handy for many purposes besides trying to keep your kids from being kidnapped. For instance, if you’re a caretaker, you can Jiobit your dementia patients. This week, the company also released a firmware update that lets you use it to track your pets.
If you have a few living creatures that are only semi-within your control, the Jiobit is by far the easiest and most attractive tracker I’ve ever used. The small, gray, teardrop-shaped device fits into the palm of my hand. Jiobit sent one tester for my kid and one for my dog and suggested a number of different ways to attach it. My dog was easy—I slipped it into the included fabric pouch and slid it onto her collar. My 50-pound heeler didn’t even notice it.
Figuring out a way to attach it to my kid required a little more experimentation. Looping it through a hair tie worked, but I found that the screw-on flex ring was the easiest way to attach it. (The optional silicone sleeves are also ridiculously cute.) Whichever method you choose, you want to be able to detach the Jiobit easily, to charge it or to switch it from jacket to jacket.
Jiobit uses a combination of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, cellular data, and GPS satellites to pinpoint the tracker, depending on which is available. Of course, GPS drains the battery more quickly than the other technologies; when I took the kids and dogs on a three-day ski trip with limited cell coverage, the Jiobit’s battery died within two days, but at home the battery lasted for a week. In my tests, it took two hours to charge it from zero to 100 percent.
Clap for Apps
The Jiobit is incredible easy to set up—no wrestling it into fragile plastic holders or blowing sand or grit out of a collar dock. It’s lightweight, only 18 grams. (That’s about the size of an Oreo, Jiobit notes, for the Oreo-eating crowd.) It also has a waterproof rating of IPX8, which means it can be immersed in up to a meter of water. My dog plunged into rivers wearing hers, and my kid face-planted into a snowbank without affecting either Jiobit at all.
The app was also, by far, the easiest to use of trackers I’ve reviewed. From the Parent menu, you can add members to the care team or change the map view from streets to satellites. It’s incredibly simple to add to or delete from the list of trusted places in the app. On our way to a weekend trip, I searched for the hotel’s address in Google Maps, named it, added my dog and kid, and determined a geofence radius between 100 and 800 feet.