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Would You Put a Tracking Device On Your Child?

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the does-that-mean-i-don't-have-to-watch-them-anymore dept.

Security 610

Hugh Pickens writes "In 2007 businessman Russell Thornton lost his 3-year-old son at an amusement park. After a frantic 45-minute search, Thornton found the boy hiding in a play structure, but he was traumatized by the incident. It spurred him to build a device that would help other parents avoid that fate. Even though most statistics show that rates of violent crime against children have declined significantly over the last few decades, and that abductions are extremely rare, KJ Dell'Antonia writes that with the array of new gadgetry like Amber Alert and the Securus eZoom our children need never experience the fears that come with momentary separations, or the satisfaction of weathering them. 'You could argue that those of us who survived our childhoods of being occasionally lost, then found, are in the position of those who think car seats are overkill because they suffered no injury while bouncing around in the back of their uncle's pickup,' writes Dell'Antonia. 'Wouldn't a more powerful sense of security come from knowing your children were capable, and trusting in their ability to reach out for help at the moment when they realize they're not?'"

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610 comments

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South Park did it first! (1, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41755189)

Phhhh...Knock-offs.

Re:South Park did it first! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755529)

I'd want one for when the kid becomes a teenager.

Re:South Park did it first! (4, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#41755729)

I have tracking devices on my children.

The device is made by Apple.

A device that helps find lost kids (4, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#41755221)

You mean like, I don't know, a phone?

Re:A device that helps find lost kids (1)

jythie (914043) | about 2 years ago | (#41755289)

That was my thought. I could see those hard wired 'can only call X numbers plus 911' kids phones filling this kind of role.

An animal that helps find lost kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755323)

Or a dog.

Re:A device that helps find lost kids (1)

bhv (178640) | about 2 years ago | (#41755387)

One a 3-year old can use?

Re:A device that helps find lost kids (2)

bkr1_2k (237627) | about 2 years ago | (#41755457)

My three year old knows how to use a standard mobile phone (both touch screen and old-fashioned push button) to call me, his mom, or his sister (who is 17) if for some reason he needed to do so. A fixhttp://tech.slashdot.org/story/12/10/24/1832248/would-you-put-a-tracking-device-on-your-child#ed 3 button phone would certainly be easy for him to understand and operate.

Re:A device that helps find lost kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755491)

I may be mistaken, but I'm under the assumption so long as a phone is on, it can be tracked.
Sure a kidnapper could reach in the kid's pocket and discard the phone, but the same proves true for this tracking device.

Re:A device that helps find lost kids (5, Insightful)

mellon (7048) | about 2 years ago | (#41755495)

It would be essentially a phone, only with no ability to place calls—just data+GPS.

I don't really see why this is remotely controversial. The point at which the kid starts to think about disabling it is the same point at which the kid is probably capable of making rational decisions. A three-year-old is not yet capable of doing that, and having a device like this would be a major anxiety-reducer for parents. It's not likely to make the kid hugely safer, but who cares?

Re:A device that helps find lost kids (1)

Curupira (1899458) | about 2 years ago | (#41755543)

I was going to joke about hoping for a Google Child Finder (Beta), but had to give up after considering the unfortunate child molestation implications...

Re:A device that helps find lost kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755621)

This is a handy way to share location information.

http://www.glympse.com/ [glympse.com]

Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#41755237)

Just buy them an iPhone, with Locate on, long distance off, and Find My Phone on.

And a case with a strap that connects it to their belt.

Problem solved.

Re:Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (1)

MistrBlank (1183469) | about 2 years ago | (#41755249)

until they turn location services off....

Re:Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (2)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#41755293)

until they turn location services off....

The police can override that.

Re:Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (2)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#41755439)

Not always, but using the cell towers to locate someone doesn't require the phone to do anything but be on, and in range. Tough luck though finding me that way if I turn the phone off, or pull the battery.

Re:Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755649)

With an iPhone, the battery can't be removed without physically breaking the phone and you so you can't actually tell when it's off. All the indicators on the phone that would show it on or off are actually software controlled, and could potentially be instructed to fake the appearance of being off by Apple. I haven't heard of any evidence of this actually being used, but the way the hardware is setup, it'd be hard to prove if they did.

Re:Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (5, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 2 years ago | (#41755305)

It's really simple. I expect my kid will actually want a phone. Leaving location services on is a condition of getting to keep the phone. If I ever check on him and find it is disabled, or is reporting him to be somewhere he is not, then he loses the phone.

Re:Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (1)

skelly33 (891182) | about 2 years ago | (#41755423)

"... then he loses the phone."

At which point you lose your parental advantages. That's quite the paradox...

Re:Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about 2 years ago | (#41755459)

I think he is counting on the kid wanting the phone more than he wants to track his kid.

Re:Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#41755735)

I think he is counting on the kid wanting the phone more than he wants to track his kid.

That's the point - counting on that won't work with a kid who is even moderately smart. For example, lots of parents do the "Don't leave your room until it is clean" thing -- but that backfires as soon as the kid decides he doesn't mind staying in his room for long periods of time.

Re:Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (1)

SilentStaid (1474575) | about 2 years ago | (#41755673)

Not to mention that maybe a stipulation for said kid adventuring out on his own is to have his phone with him, and charged.

until the battery dies or they go into a dead zone (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#41755473)

until the battery dies or they go into a dead zone

Re:Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (2)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about 2 years ago | (#41755557)

Wasn't this intended for young children (around 3 years). By the time they want to turn off the location services, those are not really needed any more (or they can turn them back on if they get lost).

Re:Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755273)

3-year-olds with $600 phones, what could possibly go wrong? :)

Re:Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (3, Interesting)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about 2 years ago | (#41755493)

My 2yo got an iPod touch ($300) and still has it 2.5 years later as his most prized possession. We have never had to tell him to keep track of it, he loves it that much. It's not for every kid though.

Re:Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#41755645)

Well, when my son was that old (he's 21 now) we would always take walkie talkies with us.

Look, most cell phones, even old iPhone and Droid models, have the ability to:

1. RING with a distinctive ring tone (helping you locate them)
2. Let them call you or the police if need be (useful if lost)
3. track them via the built in GPS devices in most smartphones and the locate function (also helps locate them and tell you how far they are from you)

But hey, let's patent something we don't need, shall we?

Re:Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#41755291)

Giving an iPhone to a three year old... how well do iPhones bounce?

Re:Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#41755665)

Just buy the rubber waterproof case. It's like $10 at REI. It has a strap and belt hook. It's for hikers.

Re:Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755757)

I have one of those. It is waterproof, but it is not shock proof. If you intentionally throw your phone at someone or something, I can guarantee you, it will break.

Re:Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755319)

While child abductions are on the decline. Phone robbery are on the Rise... Way to GO!

Re:Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#41755639)

like stealing 600 dollar candy from a baby.

Unless you live in places that block stolen phones, which apparently has put a damper on a lot of cell phone theft.

Re:Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (1)

kdogg73 (771674) | about 2 years ago | (#41755381)

Speaking of the iOS, here is something that can help keep tabs on those who participate with you: Find My Friends [apple.com] . Unfortunately, it hasn't found me any friends. :(

Re:Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#41755699)

Actually, some of my friends have the Find My Friends app on their iPhones, and it's helped me find them during Beer Fest and Cider Fest and Hop Scotch events.

Useful app.

Re:Just buy them an iPhone with a strap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755761)

Only one problem. iphones suck, and you can screw yourself for asking me to buy one.

I have one on him (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755263)

I have a tracking device on both of my kids actually. It is Google Latitude and they both know it is on (they turned it on) and they use it to find my wife and I as well. I just used it a bit ago to make sure my son was at school. It is handy and simple. As long as the kids know how it works and set it up themselves it is a good idea.

Re:I have one on him (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | about 2 years ago | (#41755303)

Right, and because they know about it - they can give their phone to a schoolmate who plans on going to school, while they head off to the local crack den.

Re:I have one on him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755413)

You mean that you don't implant your kids with their phones? USB belly buttons are going to be all the rage.

Re:I have one on him (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | about 2 years ago | (#41755435)

Right, and because they know about it - they can give their phone to a schoolmate who plans on going to school, while they head off to the local crack den.

You aren't describing a problem that technology can fix.

Re:I have one on him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755627)

It would be good, I kid you not, if they would do that, but most will not, or at least, not all the time. And that's bad.

Over time, it will become accepted to be tracked. It becomes their mentality, and that means they'll be open to more drastic changes.

You experienced the bliss of a very old democratic society for so long, you're oblivious the the rest of the world and the risks you're exposing yourselves, so what do I care. But, you know what? When you reach 70's, the same kids you're leashing now, will put a tracking collar on you, for your own protection of course.

Kids get lost all the time, but most of the time, it's the parents fault, not the kids budding ninja skills.

always with the children (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755277)

everything controversial can be made acceptable by saying it will protect the children. Well you know what? fuck the children, we dont need any more of them, and who cares if we lose a couple a year? thins out the population.

Re:always with the children (3, Funny)

Bigby (659157) | about 2 years ago | (#41755481)

But if people don't put tracking chips in their kids, they will have to ask them watch over them or heaven forbid: ask them questions!

Re:always with the children (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#41755505)

fuck the children

Well don't do that, that's sick! But you're right that many people will exploit parents' fears to sell them useless stuff or get their votes.

Big brother (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755283)

Those who give up essential liberties in exchange for security deserve neither.

Re:Big brother (2)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about 2 years ago | (#41755573)

True, but children don't have a lot of liberties to begin with. Can they get a license to drive a car (under 16)? Can they buy and consume alcohol, or cigarettes legally? Can they vote? Can they legally work at any age? etc.

Yeah. (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 2 years ago | (#41755285)

Yeah, and I call it a "mobile phone".

Where's the line? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755297)

The only risk is that the parent won't know the border of when it becomes integrity. When should you stop?

Who, exactly, was traumatized? (2, Insightful)

synth7 (311220) | about 2 years ago | (#41755321)

I know the pronoun likely is attached to the nearest noun, but I can't tell if Russell Thornton was traumatized and therefore built the tracker, or if the child was traumatized. Really, from the structure of that sentence it really seems like it is Russell who was traumatized.

Re:Who, exactly, was traumatized? (4, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#41755367)

As a new father myself (one who was once a kid...), I suspect that you're reading it right and that's what's intended. Children running off to play in places unknown can be very traumatic for parents, and fun for children.

Re:Who, exactly, was traumatized? (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41755405)

It is structured properly. Russell was the one traumatized. He probably never wanted his child to get out of his sight after the incident, and developed a device so that he can get on with his life, while still keeping an eye on the child.

Re:Who, exactly, was traumatized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755597)

Why does a 4 year old need privacy? Do you plan to give your 4 year old $20 bucks and send him to the store alone to get whatever he wants? Do you plan on leaving her alone for hours at a time completely unsupervised?

No I would not. (5, Insightful)

santax (1541065) | about 2 years ago | (#41755331)

The risk isn't worth the lost of privacy. If we teach our kids it's ok to be tracked anytime and always, it won't be long until all the kids wear government mandated trackingdevices. Which they get to keep to wear when they grown into adults. So no. It's not worth it, the risk is so small, don't do it. Keep an eye on your kids, make sure your kids know when to kick, bite and scream, but don't go tracking them with hardware. It's stupid.

Re:No I would not. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755445)

Same here. Wouldn't put one on my daughter. On my part it's a lesson in trust, on her part one in responsability. Seriously, when should they learn to be responsible, if not with small steps in child age?

Re:No I would not. (1)

mellon (7048) | about 2 years ago | (#41755455)

We could even have a countdown timer, like in Logan's Run. It would really help with the population problem.

Re:No I would not. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | about 2 years ago | (#41755469)

The risk isn't worth the lost of privacy. If we teach our kids it's ok to be tracked anytime and always, it won't be long until all the kids wear government mandated trackingdevices. Which they get to keep to wear when they grown into adults. So no. It's not worth it, the risk is so small, don't do it. Keep an eye on your kids, make sure your kids know when to kick, bite and scream, but don't go tracking them with hardware. It's stupid.

A 3-year-old toddler doesn't have an expectation of privacy. It's not even desirable at that age.

Re:No I would not. (1)

santax (1541065) | about 2 years ago | (#41755625)

While I agree with you they don't have that expectation, we all know the device won't be gone when they turn 4. Or 6. Or 8. Had you one on you when you were a kid? I assume no. And yet you turned into a fine anonymous psychopath.

Re:No I would not. (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about 2 years ago | (#41755551)

I am just wondering what ever happened to having a predetermined place to go in the event you get separated. Just pick out the tallest structure in the amusement park and tell him that if he can't find an employee for help, go to that structure.

Re:No I would not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755691)

,,,and if it broadcasts a signal you can track, so can anyone else.

Some separation is good (4, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#41755365)

Kids need to learn how to function without relying on parents, and if you do things right it will help dramatically when your kid is now 18 and headed to some faraway place for college. While 3 is probably a bit too young, by about 8 or 9 the child should be able to go places on their own. And a kid who is never ever lost when he's between 3 and 6 years old is a kid that is probably being watched too closely.

The secret is to do so in stages. For example, my folks wanted me to get used to traveling without their help: At 3, they were still taking me most everywhere. At 6, I was now responsible for walking to school with an older neighbor's kid. By the next year, I didn't have to stick with the neighbor's kid anymore. In theory, something really bad could have happened to me, but the only real challenge came from traffic, not crime.

Re:Some separation is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755577)

Traffic is the worst thing by far, and the increasing volume and distractions like SMSers is leading to an increase in pedestrian and cycle deaths in my area. I've was knocked off my bike as a child, my brother was hit by a car, and my mother was left for dead by a motorcyclist in her day. That was where there was a lot less traffic on the roads. Your dicing with death almost daily just getting to and from school on a bicycle around here. Not that cyclists are any better. I've be rammed in my car by some prick on his bicycle not seeing me! Although I did feel sorry for him, he thought I was going to kick the shit out of him when I got out of the car to see whether he was ok.

As for crime, the only crime any of us ever had was a pervert flashing his gentleman bits at a group of girls on their way to school, and the whole school having a full assembly over it. That's it. No attempted snatching, no offer of sweet treats to get into a vehicle.

But facts don't influence parents today. A number in my road are terrified their little Jimmy/Jenny is going to be snatched up by a passing perv at the school bus stop, in a gated community! The scary thing is this is only coming from media bollox creating drama, which will invariably lead to more paranoid and terrified kids growing up into even more frightened adults.

Re:Some separation is good (0)

Githaron (2462596) | about 2 years ago | (#41755623)

The problem is that these days someone who can't mind their own business will accuse you of neglect and endangerment and attempt to have your kids taken away.

Re:Some separation is good (2)

forgottenusername (1495209) | about 2 years ago | (#41755663)

This is good insight.

If your child is coddled throughout life they will be unprepared for the variety of challenges life throws. In my opinion, as a parent, your job is to provide a safety net while allowing your kid room to learn on their own. They need to be taught self reliance and understand consquences for actions which hopefully will help them make better decisions later in life.

If your kid is 3 years old though you just need to keep track of them :P

Re:Some separation is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755683)

Hell, I INFLICT separation on my child when he wanders off (stalking him to see if he'll get nervous - he doesn't).

If I could lo-jack him, that'd be perfect. Check my phone and he's free to wander.

I can see this being useful... (1)

Genda (560240) | about 2 years ago | (#41755379)

For that 2 to 6 demographic where a child is able to go somewhere, but may not have the forethought of sophistication to get back (of course depending on the child... I knew a 3 year old who could read, name all the states, presidents, vice presidents, and current governors, and use the phone and locate herself on a google map... what are they feeding kids these days?)

You could always give the kid a device they can turn on that transmits images and sound and sends a locating beacon. That and perhaps a shaped charge in one of their shoes, so as you're watching when the freak takes one of your child's shoes off... BANG!!!... no hands ma! Modern science can prove its incredibly hard to molest a child without hands.

Re:I can see this being useful... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755711)

That and perhaps a shaped charge in one of their shoes, so as you're watching when the freak takes one of your child's shoes off... BANG!!!... no hands ma! Modern science can prove its incredibly hard to molest a child without hands.

If you are living somewhere where there is such a high probably that something like that would happen that such measures are necessary, I would recommend giving your child a gun and teaching him/her how to respect and use it.

Tagg (3, Interesting)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41755395)

I don't know if I'd put a tracker on my child. Maybe. but I do have a Tagg [tagg.com] tracker on my dog.

I get a text alert anytime she leaves the "home zone" (which ranges to about 1/2 block from my house). The dog hasn't escaped from the yard since I started using it, but it's good peace of mind just in case she does - I can track her down easily and even if I'm at work, I'll know immediately if she gets out.

There are definitely privacy concerns, for example, anyone that looks at our Tagg activity will know when we're on vacation and where we are, and can pretty easily guess what time we go to work and what time we come home.

The Tagg device itself works very well - it's about the size of an adult's watch and is small enough to snap on the dog's collar. The battery lasts for about 2 weeks because the home docking station emits an RF signal that tells the device when it's in the home zone, so it doesn't waste battery power trying to get a GPS lock or talk to the cell phone network while the dog is at home. Even when the dog leaves the home zone, it doesn't use the GPS unless you explicitly request that the device be tracked through the website or smartphone app. When you request tracking, within a few minutes the device reports its GPS location every few minutes. If the device becomes detached from the dog's collar, it will notify you and report its location. It uses Verizon's cell phone network, so only works within cell phone range.

Re:Tagg (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755725)

Your child is still a person. Even if they are 3 or 14... they are still a person. They aren't possessions or an animal of a different species.

For that reason any tech like this makes me nervous. When you say "this is how a control my dog" I see a bit of red.

Objectionable (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about 2 years ago | (#41755417)

As long as the [amusement park | store | etc ] is legally required to remove it before you leave their premises, I would consider it.

I also would NOT want it to be easily removable for obvious reasons.

Side note: Heck, we already have leashes for our children...... :)

Re:Objectionable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755485)

Side note: Heck, we already have leashes for our children...... :)

I was just about to comment about kids on a leash. You beat me to it.

Might make sense here (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 2 years ago | (#41755433)

It might make sense here. But for every member of your party. An amusement park is a crowded area with lots of distractions. Beeing seperated from the rest of your party is always possible. Countermeasures should be taken. Starts from pre-arranged meeting points ("if someone gets lost we meet at the spinebreaker-ride-souvenir-shop at the next full hour") and does not end with making sure everyone has his cellphone handy.

Re:Might make sense here (1)

Imagix (695350) | about 2 years ago | (#41755653)

Last time I went to the amusement park with the nieces we had an arrangement. The 4 adults formed a box. The kids were told that they may not leave the box. If the box could not be maintained, they must be within arms-reach of one of the adults. And they were told that the box didn't exist to stop them from going anywhere. You want to go to ride X, we'll go there. The box exists for your protection. We had no problems making this work. (And even to the point that when we arrived home, the niece wouldn't even go to her mother without permission)

No (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755441)

Reasons: law of headlines and comon sense.

my 2 cents (4, Interesting)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about 2 years ago | (#41755443)

I think one of the reasons there's an obesity epidemic in the U.S., particularly in children, is because parents are scared sh*tless to let their kids outside or out of their yards for fear that something bad would happen to them. So they end up staying home and watching TV or playing video games...leading a sedentary lifestyle and eating. It was quite a bit different many decades ago when I was a kid. So I think that having a way to track your kid isn't a bad thing if it will give parents peace of mind and allow kids to ride bikes and exercise more, the way dinosaurs like me did when we were kids.

I'd never track my kids (1)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about 2 years ago | (#41755465)

I'm not yet a father, but if I have kids I will never subject them to something like this. I'm also the guy that does not bring a cellphone to the office because I don't feel the dependency. There are plenty enough gadgets in this life tracking us every second thank you very much.

Far more important lesson. (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | about 2 years ago | (#41755467)

Sadly our children should get used to being followed by authorities (older brother or sister, parents, neighbours, police, homeland security or government) 24/7 as early as possible.

Collar and leash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755471)

Or then just therapy sessions for the bad paranoid parent...

Or not. (3, Insightful)

Taibhsear (1286214) | about 2 years ago | (#41755479)

Or you could, you know, be a better parent and keep closer tabs on your little precious bundle of joy. Or just not have them if you can't handle the responsibility.
But I'm sure I'll be modded into oblivion by said parents.

Personally (3, Insightful)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about 2 years ago | (#41755487)

I would have no issue whatsoever with putting a tracker on my child. For anyone under the age of 18, the parent is ultimately liable for their actions. If my kid gets in a car crash and it is their fault, I have to pay for it. If they break a store window for fun, I have to pay for it.

However, such a tool should not be a "why is my kid 5 minutes late?" type of tool. I would only use it in emergencies. For example, curfew is 11 pm and by 7am the next morning, they are still not home. Or my child walks home from school and usually gets home about 3pm, I call them multiple times and the school does not know where they are, I would use such a device. Also, I would love a feature that let me know when they left a certain radius or approached a certain area. Certain areas being the known criminal enterprise areas.

There is a difference between being "big brother" and using technology to enhance your parenting.

trying to be funny here (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 years ago | (#41755501)

No, but I would on yours?

A bit of a stretch. (4, Informative)

Revotron (1115029) | about 2 years ago | (#41755507)

'Wouldn't a more powerful sense of security come from knowing your children were capable, and trusting in their ability to reach out for help at the moment when they realize they're not?'"

Sure, when they're 16 years old. Throw a four-year-old out in the middle of a large crowd of unfamiliar people and rational thought is the last thing you can expect. That's why it takes a rational adult to calm them down and ask "Are you lost?"

I wish I could be that parent that never loses their child, but I'm a realist and accept that it can happen, so these tracking devices sound appealing to me for use on very young children who are as of yet incapable of rational, level-headed responses to scary situations like getting lost in a shopping mall.

I wouldn't stick it on my 16-year-old's pants when he or she starts driving. That's a different situation involving a (hopefully) much more mature and logical person. Not to mention I probably don't want to know where those pants are at certain moments. ("GPS Location Update: on the floor at boyfriend's house")

Re:A bit of a stretch. (1)

Xacid (560407) | about 2 years ago | (#41755713)

After reading the article I started thinking "crap, the comments are going to be filled with a bunch of nerds without kids freaking out about privacy". And I was right. But at least you've got some sense. Kids that young have a totally different set of rules when interacting with the world. Even if we leave the topic of kidnapping out of the discussion - losing a kid in a large, populated place would be absolutely nightmarish. I doubt I'd go as far going out and buying this tech but I'm certainly not opposed to it if I was given it for free.

Nevermind what your wife will think when you come home and just say "I...seem to have, uh... lost Johnny".

Low tech solution (3, Insightful)

CubicleZombie (2590497) | about 2 years ago | (#41755521)

When my son is 3 years old, he'll be on a leash at an amusement park. Seriously. They make harnesses just for this purpose.

Don't get me wrong - when he's older, I will not be a helicopter parent. But a three year old is just a baby that can run. Fast. And if he's anything like I was as a kid, I'm in for big trouble.

Leash (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#41755525)

I thought that was what child leashes were for?

I have. (5, Interesting)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#41755535)

Back in the olden days, when my kid was very small and most phones didn't have GPS, she carried one of those mountaineer walkie-talkies with GPS when we were on vacation. She had fun playing with it and it helped guarantee that we could find her when she got lost in a crowd. Later when she got better at identifying her position, she carried a smaller walkie-talkie strapped to her wrist. (The first day she wore it, she wandered off during a parade and got separated from us. She called and said she was by "the big lemon" -- a lemonaid cart a few blocks away.)

Later, she carried a smartphone with GPS turned on. I periodically looked her up in Latitude, called her when her position was not where I expected. I did this because she traveled a lot between 12 and 18, to tutors, night classes, and various school functions.

Now she's 18, has her own car, and the GPS in her Bionic is routinely turned off, because, apparently, it's no longer my business to know where she is. I have learned to accept this. She will turn on the GPS if she gets lost or has an equipment failure, and I can then pinpoint her position and send help or go myself.

Regarding having the satisfaction of getting un-lost yourself, there is truth to that. At six or seven, she was quite proud of the fact that she was able to identify her position (the big lemon) well enough for us to reconnect with her. (That may not be the best example.) She liked knowing where *I* was (I keep gps on all the time) through Latitude, and enjoyed using this knowledge to find me. More recently, she called me, said she was lost trying to drive to a friend's house, was very frustrated, and wanted me to go get her. As it was 11:00 PM on a work night, I was reluctant to do this, as she had gas and wasn't in danger. She figured it out on her own and was quite proud of herself afterwards. (The solution, by the way, was quite clever: The problem was a hiccup in Google Maps, which steered her to the wrong place when she entered a certain address. She tried an address close to her goal, and that worked well enough to find her goal.)

So yeah, I recognized very early on that my daughter doesn't have the instinct to cling to a parent, and as a result, we were early adopters of technological solutions, upgrading as new solutions became available. These days it's hard to find a phone that *doesn't* have GPS. Parenthetically, I'm all for giving a kid a cell phone (one of the cheap ones) at an early age. For her to be able to contact me in emergencies trumps other considerations.

No thanks... (3, Interesting)

bkr1_2k (237627) | about 2 years ago | (#41755537)

No thanks. I think I'll stick with teaching my kids to find a specific location we both know and stay there until I find them. Or, better yet, teach them not to wander off. Better still I'll not ignore my kids while we're in a busy public place where they can easily wander off in the first place.

I know, it only takes a second, and I've "lost" a kid (not my own) for the longest 5 minutes of my life, but it's still better than using technology to track everything. There's already enough invasion of my and my children's "privacy" as it is.

Only on /. (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#41755541)

Would the consensus be that it is good to lose your children once in awhile.

I agree.

Do you trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755553)

everybody who works for the company providing the service ?
everybody who can get into the building this company is in?
everybody who is capable of hacking into the company's servers?

If yes, your child should not trust you.

That's why my both of my kids have iPhones (1)

eyegor (148503) | about 2 years ago | (#41755567)

The "Find your Friends" and the Find my iPhone" apps will give a very good location of your kids whereabouts.

It's also handy because it's simple to track down a misplaced phone (which seems to happen quite a bit more than it should).

Obviously, it's not a good solution for younger kids, but my pre-teen and teenage daughters adore their tracking devi.... er... iPhones.

Re:That's why my both of my kids have iPhones (1)

eyegor (148503) | about 2 years ago | (#41755591)

To be fair, I also let others in my immediate family see my whereabouts too.

Oh Boy...fear based marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755581)

I am not afraid. Keep your crap

Stupid, here's why... (1)

FilmedInNoir (1392323) | about 2 years ago | (#41755603)

To do GPS tracking requires a device that's ungainly and highly noticeable. Like the one he invented in day-glow colors.
Sub-dermal RFID chips (like the one in my cat) on the other hand only work at very close range.
Either way, it won't protect from abductions, which I assume is the holy grail of these capitalist ventures (aka snake oil).

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755633)

Have you looked at the world lately?
Only a truely evil human being would bring a child into this world as it is today.

And i can't imagine evil people would have that much problem putting tracking into or on their children.

Yotsuba's dad thinks otherwise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755685)

http://koiwai.biz/eng/v3/ch21/21_11120x174_jpg.htm

Build the tracking device into a Chasity belt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755715)

Solve two problems with one solution. Know where they are and what they are not doing. You just have to be careful about saddlebacking.

Be a Parent (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41755719)

If you need a tracking device to know where your kid is, you're a shitty parent.

Micro-chipped untill age 18.. (2)

who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) | about 2 years ago | (#41755721)

Children should be micro-chipped until they are age 18 with GPS tracking. After that they are considered an adult and should be allowed to have it surgically removed. Of course , as some one who does not have children after watching the red-necks breed where i live, i also think they should also be put on leashes , not allowed in any public area including grocery stores, malls, movie theaters, or any where else i may want to go and not have to see your disobedient kid putting its disease infused hands all over everything.

Re:Micro-chipped untill age 18.. (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 years ago | (#41755745)

The redneck kids where I live say "yes sir," and "yes ma'am," and are on their parents' heels at all times. That's because they live in a home with discipline that teaches good values, like being polite, respecting your elders, and doing as your parents tell you to do.

Maybe you live among a different breed of redneck, though. There is always the Rebel-flag waving KKK type that are more neonazis than rednecks.

Did it on purpose (1)

avandesande (143899) | about 2 years ago | (#41755739)

I always had a problem with my kids not paying attention and not keeping up when I would go to the grocery store. So one day I walked away quickly so they were 'lost'. After 10 minutes or so I got them, they were teary but ok. I never had problems with them keeping up again.

Abductions and violent crimes are down... (1)

mrquagmire (2326560) | about 2 years ago | (#41755741)

...but fear is way up!

Nothing new here. (4, Interesting)

Ronin Developer (67677) | about 2 years ago | (#41755743)

I used to work for the company (Zoombak) Securus acquired. During testing of our device (originally, designed for medium/large dogs), I had my son (who has ADHD) wear our device while on a Scout trip to the middle of a large National park. The device communicated via SMS over T-Mobile's network. It worked well and I knew his location throughout the entire trip.

When the economy turned, people began using the devices not for tracking their pets, but other people (usually, spouses, girlfriends, etc) without their knowledge. (We used to laugh at some of the names users gave their devices). Some used the device to stalk and kill their intended victims. That's the down-side to their use.

The primary difference I see in their new device is the one feature we wanted to see added to ours - that is a button to send an alert. They also improved the ability to obtain a location even when a GPS signal could not be obtained. Given the recent events where kids have been abducted and killed - the moment that somebody realized there was a problem, their location could be ascertained. Hypothetically, if the girls had these devices, they might still be alive today.

If you have been to a large amusement part and lost sight of your child, being able to pull out your smartphone and find your kid is a blessing.

It's good to see they are getting some good press on this.

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