An e-zine I recently read has prompted me to write this article defending GPS tracking and other forms of monitoring or tracking your children. The author of the article I read questioned the use of GPS products to protect children. The author states her opinion:
“How secure are our children going to feel knowing that the world is so dangerous that their parents need to know where they are at all times? Are we stripping a part of their childhood away from them? Who doesn’t remember, as a kid, going somewhere you knew your parents didn’t want you to go, but as children we are adventurers, and if we got into trouble or got ‘caught’ being where we shouldn’t be, we more than likely not only got punished but also learned a lesson. We grow and mature by making mistakes and learning from them, are we going to take part of this education away from our children? At what age do we stop? Do we continue to monitor them through their teen-age years? A time that can be the hardest time of any child’s or parents life, it’s a time where a teenager needs to mature and a parent needs to learn to ‘let go’ and allow the child to learn on their own-mistakes and all. Although this
Article Source: Retrieved 29 December 2006 from: http://ezinearticles.com/?GPS-Technology-and-Child-Safety&id=268524 .
In retrospect, I believe GPS tracking devices for children are meant to be used to give the parent and/or child a sense of security and communication. Many times these devices have been used during critical situations and have proven to be a life saving asset.
These devices are not only used for child tracking, they often have an SOS button as does the device sold at: http://www.milkfly.com. It has an emergency button that will contact parents and/or authorities depending on how it is programmed. This product, as far as I know, is the only device that allows the parent to, “listen-in”, such as when the SOS button is pushed to hear what is going on. If the device is dropped and the button has been set off there may be a better chance of uncovering what has happened and act accordingly. This type of device is also used for other instances such as with the elderly that may be disabled or unable to reach help when needed. Alzheimer’s patients that have this device on their person will able to be found if they wander off. Geo-fencing, or setting a perimeter that will set an alarm off if the device passes this ‘fence’ is another unique attribute to the Gemtek and some other devices. This feature alone could save the life of family or pets that may wander onto a busy street or into nearby water.
A few GPs devices/phones have speakers where the carrier may be spoken to as well. One child directed devices there may be two or more pre-programmed phone numbers that if the child gets scared, a push of a button will call mom or dad. I know of some friends that plan on using these devices in such a way that one would use a “nanny-cam” in a daycare situation, by putting the device in a side pocket or mesh pocket of a knapsack to listen what really may be happening during these hours away from home.
GPS devices come in two types, real-time tracking where the device is tracked via satellite (usually more than 2 or 3) and via an internet connection through a computer or internet capable phone, the device positioning may be watched on a map. The other type of GPS device is passive. With a passive GPs device the unit is put somewhere in a pocket, car, knapsack, disguised as a bracelet, etc., and is retrieved at a later date to be synchronized with a computer to read history of the device’s paths. Some passive devices can be set at intervals and be monitored in that manner via the internet.
When considering what type of GPS product to purchase, one needs to first understand their needs of the device, not of how pretty it is or how it is marketed. The capabilities of a GPS tracking/ monitoring device should be the deciding factors when making a purchase of this type of product.
Teen driving habits monitoring?
Teen safety location?
Is their water nearby? Can they swim?
Driving speeds of a vehicle?
Tracking of assets such as cars and boats or larger pieces of machinery?
Hiker or Mountain climber communications?
Alzheimer’s or Lou Gerig’s disease patients monitoring? Even…
Are they really working late?