(NECN: Alysha Palumbo, Cambridge, Mass.) - Calling and texting but not being able to reach your child can be a frustrating - and frightening - time for any parent.
Did he stay late after school? Did she stop at the park on the way home? Is he hurt or in trouble?
Oftentimes imagining what may be keeping your child from answering your phone calls and text messages is worse than what the reality is - that the phone's on silent or they lost track of time.
Qiana Rudek, a parent from Boston's Roslindale section said, "Sometimes they change plans and forget to tell you where they're going."
Cambridge-based start up "dondeEsta" hopes to help give parents peace of mind with a simple free app that allows them to keep track of their children, focused on the locations they spend most of their time.
dondeEsta online marketing manager Marta Plaza said, "We created a real-time indicator that tells you if your kid is home or if he's at school and if he is not in any of those places then you can click on the image and see where he is in a map."
You simply type your home address and your child's school address into the phone and with this simple indicator, you can see if they've arrived at school in the morning or left school for the day., if they made it back home safely or if they left home for, say, soccer practice. You can even pay a small one-time fee and get real-time alerts to your phone.
Their location can always be pulled up on a map - so you can know without panicking that they went to the park down the street to play ball with friends ... and forgot to let you know.
"It's another tool in our toolbox that we can use if a child goes missing, if a child is lost we can probably find this child a lot faster than if this wasn't out there," Newton Police Lt. Bruce Apotheker said
Police say it could save valuable time and resources if a child is missing and not in danger, but Lt. Apotheker says it doesn't replace good parenting.
"Do your research, go online, go to the app store, there are many different apps out there that can help parents, help ease their minds," said Lt. Apotheker, "this isn't something that's going to prevent a kidnapping, it's not going to prevent an abduction, but it's good for a lost and missing child it helps us help you track that child."
For kids, there is a panic button, an alert to let mom and dad know you made it to your destination, and also a button to ask them to come pick you up.
Plaza said, "What they want is their parents not calling them like 20 times a day to know where they are, so with the app they get more freedom."
Lauren, a 14-year-old who has a smartphone said, "So that way I don't have to take a phone call if I'm like with my friends or like text her or something."
And parents we spoke to said any way of making it easier to keep track of their kids is something they'd be willing to try.
Rudek said, "It sounds great, I usually, we do a lot of texting and calling back and forth instead so an app like that would make life a lot easier."
A Newton, MA parent named Nancy said, "Well I don't think anything can replace hearing 'hey mom I'm home' but I think if the teenagers that they will be and are already that something's better than nothing."
The dondeEsta app is currently available on both Android devices and iPhones. The company says more than 100,000 families have downloaded the app, and as they move more of their operations to Cambridge by the end of the summer, they plan to expand in the U.S. and increase hiring here.
If you want to learn more about the dondeEsta app - or other location tracking apps - check out the links below or just search for a location tracking app on your cell phone: