Detecting the presence of kids

I’m wondering about the best method for detecting presence when it comes to kids…

I have two children and I share care with their mother. I’d like some way of being able to monitor their presence - ideally, when they are at my place, or when they are at their mum’s so I can know they’ve made it home from school OK etc.

Despite their ‘persistence’ (!) they don’t have smartphones (yet), else OwnTracks using geolocation would work great, but they do each have iOS devices - iPad Mini and iPod touch. My ideas so far are perhaps to either implement Owntracks with iBeacons (I have a handful of Estimote beacons I could use), or alternatively to give their devices static IP addresses and use the Network Health binding to detect presence by IP lease (although this will only work when they are at my place and not at their mum’s).

Any other interesting ways of tackling this? Perhaps another app, or inexpensive hardware solution?


i just start to build presence detection for the while family using openTracks, but have several problems. It does not work all the time but i is getting better.

With networkhealth i had the problem, that some devices did not answer to the ping even if there are logged into the network (Sleep mode)


If you have a FritzBox as your modem there are some neat example scripts, or probably any other OpenWRT based modem.

Ping just doesn’t work reliably as most of the Apple devices dont respond to ping in sleep mode.

I’m just starting to look at OwnTracks as an alternative too, but the Fritzbox method seems bullet proof so far.

Even in sleep mode the Apple devices maintain a wifi connection so their MAC address is still active.

If none of the above you might be able to do some ARP sniffing for the mac addresses.

Thanks. Looks like the jury is out a bit. I’ll explore some of the options and feed back. I’m thinking OwnTracks with iBeacon might be the best shot. Not a FritzBox user sadly. Glad of any other suggestions that people may have too. Cheers.

Do you have a way of using RFID tags? The (now defunct) Karotz controller had a great use case just as you describe, but there might be other easy paths besides modern Android devices with NFC. Of course, if your kids are willing to hold an RFID tag against Android tablets at both houses, problem solved. Otherwise, static IP addresses on their gadgets can be made reliable.