Find My Friends

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Find My Friends App Poster Image
Parental controls help lessen risks of Apple's location app.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 4+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Because of the privacy and safety risks with location-sharing apps, Find My Friends should be restricted to use by older teens. With guidance from their parents, teens can learn about responsible sharing, privacy (managing their own and respecting others'), and ways to socialize with others. While the tutorial is very good at explaining how to use the app, the app itself doesn't give teens much guidance on making good decisions when they're using it. Teens can learn important tech and social skills, but parental guidance is key.

Ease of Play

The app is simple to use with an always-on feature for those who want it -- and an easy way to turn off location sharing for moments when you want privacy. 

Violence
Sex
Language

Users can set up events, which could open the door for potentially offensive language. 

Consumerism

Users are likely to be found at any number of retail establishments, which could promote that company to their peers. There are no explicit ads, however. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Users may be at a bar or other establishment that sells alcohol or smoking materials when friends look for them. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Find My Friends is a location-sharing app for iOS devices. While there are several notable parental controls, the app is still best suited for older teens and adults. Users can communicate their location to friends (who have to request permission to add you to their tracking list). And while users can turn off location sharing, it's easy to forget and leave turned on. Parents can turn the app off on their children's iOS devices (and prevent them from turning it off as well, allowing them to use the iOS product as a tracking device).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjewels10 December 31, 2015

Location accuracy

Location is not accurate...has shown my child 3 houses away from where he really was. Sometimes shows him in a field when he's driving down street. Is not... Continue reading
Adult Written byMrs LL March 30, 2016

Unhappy

This app hardly ever works! I constantly get the msg saying "server error"
Teen, 16 years old Written byalynichelle May 3, 2013
Kid, 12 years old September 27, 2012

age 17????

this is an app that is perfectly fine for younger kids. age 17????????? what??? there is nothing bad on this app. it is great if you are a parent and you don... Continue reading

What's it about?

Users broadcast their location, allowing their friends to track them throughout the day. It's permission-based (not allowing anyone to track you without your consent) and comes with plenty of parental controls. Users can alert friends to events and spur-of-the-moment get-togethers.

Is it any good?

The risks that accompany any location tracking app are present in FIND MY FRIENDS, but to Apple's credit, the company has taken several steps to mitigate risk. That said, the app is still not a wise choice for children, unless parents want to use the iPod Touch or iPhone as a tracking device for their kids.

The free app allows people to track where their friends are, but uses a permission-based system. No one can track you unless you give your consent first. (Kids, though, might let anyone track them in an effort to build a large cache of online "friends.") It's easy to stop broadcasting your location, but given people's tendencies to sometimes forget simple tasks, it's inevitable that users will sometimes inadvertently announce where they are when they would rather not. Functionality-wise, it's not dramatically different than other location sharing services, but it does the job well and includes enough additional features (such as temporary location sharing) and controls that it might be worth checking out -- if the user is age appropriate. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Use the parental controls and talk about the restrictions you're setting and why you're setting them.

  • Talk about when it's OK -- and when it's not OK -- for others to track your teen's location. Give specific examples.

  • Offer advice on other ways teens can stay in touch with friends.

App details

For kids who love social networking and keeping in touch

Our editors recommend

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