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Would You Put a Tracking Device On Your Child? 610

Posted by Soulskill
from the does-that-mean-i-don't-have-to-watch-them-anymore dept.
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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Would You Put a Tracking Device On Your Child?

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  • Phhhh...Knock-offs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

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

      • by cayenne8 (626475) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @03:47PM (#41756119) Homepage Journal
        Geez....

        I was actually talking to my Mom the other day...laughing about when I was about 2-3yrs..I wandered off from her, and got lost in the dept store...and they had to call over the intercom for her to get me.

        She said I never would wander off after that, and if I acted bad, she would tell me she was leaving..and I'd cry and promise to act right..etc.

        But, not long after that, I'd guess when I was about 1st grade...when we'd go to the mall, she'd leave me in the toy section or the book section and I'd be happy there till she was done. A couple years later, she'd let me wander the mall to look at the book stores, etc......

        I can't believe things are that much more dangerous now, are there? I often wonder, instead of more 'craziees' out there...if it is just more sensationally reported due to needing to fill up 24/7 news?

        • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @03:52PM (#41756201)

          Actually violence against children has been going down for a long time now. But the 24-hour news cycle has made abductions and other horrors seem like a common thing. You're a helluva lot safer as a kid alone in the mall today that you were 20-40 years ago.

          • by HaZardman27 (1521119) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @04:32PM (#41756733)
            That's what I'm constantly telling people who talk about "how when they were kids they could play in the street without worry." People tend to believe sensationalized media over sound reason and logic, even when you show them crime rate statistics for the last 50 years and show how much higher a risk they were at when THEY were a kid.
          • by isorox (205688) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @05:59PM (#41758039) Homepage Journal

            Actually violence against children has been going down for a long time now. But the 24-hour news cycle has made abductions and other horrors seem like a common thing. You're a helluva lot safer as a kid alone in the mall today that you were 20-40 years ago.

            Now then now then now then, kids in those days listened to showaddywaddy and have Jim fix it for them.

        • by QuantumRiff (120817) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @04:01PM (#41756345)

          No, things are not more dangerous. Today, kids are statistically safer than they were in the 60's.. But, we now have 24-hour news that needs to fill time... Lookup the book "Free Range Kids".. You are 20 times more likely to kill your own child while driving, than to have a stranger take off with them. Yet parents still, every day, pile little junior into the SUV to drive 1 mile to school.. (placing a child in a car is the single worst thing you can ever do for their safety, apparently)

          The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children flat out says "stranger danger" is wrong, and very dangerous to teach kids: http://us.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/NewsEventServlet?LanguageCountry=en_US&PageId=2034 [missingkids.com]

          • by wumingzi (67100) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @05:52PM (#41757923) Homepage Journal

            THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

            If I had mod points I'd mod you up...

            Here's how it breaks down (courtesy of National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

            About 800,000 kids go missing each year.
            The vast majority of those are either family abductions (200,000/year), younger girls running off with older and bolder men, younger boys running off with older and bolder women, disgruntled teenagers who hitch a bus to Seattle to start a band and get real big, or whatever disgruntled teenagers do these days.

            Number of honest-to-god stranger abductions? 115 last year. In a country of 300 million people.

            I'm not quite sure, but I think your chances of running into an honest-to-God flying saucer are better than that.

            • by AK Marc (707885)

              About 800,000 kids go missing each year.

              The majority of those are runaways or "lost" children that are reported missing when they didn't think they were (went to a friend's for the weekend and Mom forgot or wasn't told). Then are spousal complaints that involve the children. I'd guess more than half spousal abductions are when a parent has proper custody and is mis-reported as not having custody (i.e. "it's not his week" or 'I didn't give permission for that out of state trip" and reporting it to use against them later in the custody hearings)

        • by rkww (675767) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @06:26PM (#41758399)

          I've been doing much the same with my son, who's now 13. From when he was three or so, we'd play 'if you were lost, what would you do' games in stores and shopping streets (in a shop, ask somebody at the till for help; in the street, go into a store); and I had him learn my mobile phone number; and we'd happily leave him to read books and magazines while we did our shopping. He timed out a few times and asked a shop assistant to call us on the intercom and we'd reassure him he'd done the right thing. The aim was to get him thinking 'oh bother, I'm lost /again/'.

          When he was eight he moved to Denmark with his mum and they'd get a train each day - but his school was at an earlier stop than her office so he'd get off and walk the last half-mile or so on his own. A few weeks after he arrived there (and speaking no Danish), he got an earlier train back and she wasn't on it. So he got off at the right stop, went to a tourist bureau where he'd been before, and had them phone me in England on my mobile number. He was eight, and on his own in a foreign city - but not, technically, lost. Since then I've not really been too bothered about his finding his way about.

          He's now back in England and quite happy to take trains and buses on his own which, of course, is how it should be.

        • by Nyder (754090)

          crime isn't any different now, except for 2 things. We have the internet, which makes new crime, but also delivers news, fears, lies, and everything else instantly.
          So while it seems like crime may be up, it's only seems like that because because now we can get the news from everywhere, instead of just local and national.

          The perverts you need to watch out from, are probably in your family or friends. It's already someone close to you and your child, not a stranger.

        • by jamesh (87723) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @08:11PM (#41759513)

          Geez....

          I was actually talking to my Mom the other day...laughing about when I was about 2-3yrs..I wandered off from her, and got lost in the dept store...and they had to call over the intercom for her to get me.

          We "misplaced" one of our kids at a shopping centre when she was about that age. I thought she was with my wife, my wife thought she was with me. It was absolutely horrifying. Security fairly quickly had someone watching near each of the exits etc, but I found her very shortly after happily sitting in a little car ride (the type you put 20c in and it wobbles from side to side a bit) that she'd spotted on the way in.

          While it was about the worst i've ever felt about anything (my heart still races when I think about it!), my fear and anxiety was completely irrational, and i'm not going to stick a tracking device on one of my kids just because i've got a vivid imagination about the horrible things that might happen. There's a much higher chance of something bad happening on the drive to and from the shop than in the shop, so clearly spending massive amounts of effort mitigating the latter risk is well and truly misplaced.

          I can't believe things are that much more dangerous now, are there? I often wonder, instead of more 'craziees' out there...if it is just more sensationally reported due to needing to fill up 24/7 news?

          I'm pretty sure it's the latter. I can't remember the last time a child was actually abducted in Australia... i'm sure it's happened once or twice fairly recently, but there have been way more kids killed in traffic accidents in the same time. The abductions, when they do happen, get far more widely reported though, we even hear about it when it happens in other countries. The one in the US where the child turned up dead in a recycling bin even made the news here.

      • by devilspgd (652955) <slashdot@devilspgd.net> on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @06:34PM (#41758499) Homepage

        It's called an iPhone. Your kid will carry it willingly, no stress, no questions asked.

    • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @03:17PM (#41755729) Homepage Journal

      I have tracking devices on my children.

      The device is made by Apple.

      • by mrops (927562)

        hehe... I have one on my wife, time to time she wonders how i show up in malls where she is shopping.

        More to the current, topic, I think this question needs to be asked from parents, slashdot crowd, al though teksavvy is, IMO the wrong crows. My views on parenthood changed after having my own. Instead of being pissed at parents with cranky kids in flights, I now sympathise with them.

        As a parent, I wouldn't mind having one on my kids. I don't know the statistics, but its like thunderstorm, you wouldn't send

        • by yurtinus (1590157)
          Sure, it needs to be asked from parents - but you'll still get a skewed view. So much learning comes from making mistakes, I fear if you take away the ability to make those mistakes you will end up with people who don't have the right appreciation for the consequences of their actions.
      • by nitehawk214 (222219) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @04:33PM (#41756741)

        I have tracking devices on my children.

        The device is made by Apple.

        Your iPad is not your child.

    • Phhhh...Knock-offs.

      Ripley did it before South Park -- she found Newt in the alien nest because of the tracking device. That was what, 1986?

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @02:44PM (#41755221)

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

    • by jythie (914043)
      That was my thought. I could see those hard wired 'can only call X numbers plus 911' kids phones filling this kind of role.
    • by mellon (7048) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @03:01PM (#41755495) Homepage

      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?

      • by Luckyo (1726890) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @08:07PM (#41759481)

        The problem on the other hand is the lack of weaning off parents' "tether", which is often sited by modern psychiatrists as damaging to both kids' and parents' psyche. Both parties basically never learn how to function without the tether. It becomes natural.

        End result is the modern helicopter parenting, where both child and parents learn their roles on sides of the tether so well that parents show up for job interviews with their kid... when he's 20+. Yes, it started to happen lately. No too surprisingly kid rarely gets the job. Then, if that kid gets lucky, he'll get a spouse who can become his/her helicopter parent and push real parents out of his/her life.

        Seriously, helicopter parenting is a growing problem, and it affects both child and parents. It's the other side of the total neglect coin, and it tends to be almost as damaging.

    • by Tough Love (215404) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @03:33PM (#41755921)

      Spoken well and truly like somebody who has no kids. So is your two year old going to speed dial you, or have they got your number memorized? You sure they won't drop the phone in a duck pond? Try to eat it?

  • 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.

  • I have one on him (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    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.
    • 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.

      • by Anonymous Psychopath (18031) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @02:57PM (#41755435) Homepage

        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.

        • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @03:31PM (#41755895)

          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.

          Exactly. But this is a problem that proper parenting can fix. My daughter is 13. I can track her phone. I also know her bank password and can see the transactions on her debit card. Nearly every weekend she goes to her BFF's house to "study", but the two of them really go hang out at the mall (according to both the phone and the bank transactions).

          Here is what I have done about the situation: nothing. Lying and deceiving your parents is a normal part of growing up, and the point of spying on your kids is not to prevent them from being normal, but to protect them from real dangers. If you use your spying to keep your kid from occasionally skipping a class, then you will not be able to protect them from the crack dealers.

          Trust you kids. Let them do stupid stuff, make mistakes, and grow up. Only intervene when they make the big mistakes.

          • Please adopt me.
            Now seriously, you are absolutely right. On a more general note, I have seen mankind getting closer to being control freaks and overprotective and while it has its advantages, this sort of behavior exhibits the danger to turn kids into limited creatures who never learn by occasionally getting hurt (literally).
            It's hilarious to see kids riding their bikes at 2 mph, wearing HUGE helmets and knee+elbow caps. They look like they're going to some sort of children-friendly armored warfare. Of cour

          • by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlieNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @04:53PM (#41757035) Homepage

            Nearly every weekend she goes to her BFF's house to "study", but the two of them really go hang out at the mall (according to both the phone and the bank transactions). Here is what I have done about the situation: nothing. Lying and deceiving your parents is a normal part of growing up, and the point of spying on your kids is not to prevent them from being normal, but to protect them from real dangers.

            Hm. Personally I would rather catch the child from lying and then have a chat about lying and why she feels she needs to lie to me in the first place. I mean, I wouldn't be angry about the occasional skipping of class or hanging out with friends, that's all normal stuff, but never confronting her lying is just gonna raise some serious issues later in her life. If you can solve the issue in a way that the child doesn't any longer feel the need to lie to you you're BOTH better off than before, plus you've just taught the kid a valuable lesson.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @02:47PM (#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.

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

  • 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.
  • No I would not. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by santax (1541065) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @02:50PM (#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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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?

    • by mellon (7048)

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

    • by Anonymous Psychopath (18031) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @03:00PM (#41755469) Homepage

      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.

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        They may not have an expectation of privacy now; however if you are tracking them now and teach them it's a normal thing to do, then in later life they will still consider it a normal thing that they are tracked. After all the tracking has been going on for as long as they can remember, and it's simply part of life.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @02:54PM (#41755365) Homepage

    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.

    • 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

    • This.

      our children need never experience the fears that come with momentary separations,

      Let me be clear about this. Children NEED to experience the fears that come with momentary separations. It'll happen eventually. It's better if he is not 18 and driving a car to college when it happens. But yeah, do it in stages.

  • 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 shape

  • Tagg (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @02:55PM (#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.

  • 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...... :)

  • 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.

  • my 2 cents (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @02:58PM (#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.
  • 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.

  • Or not. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Taibhsear (1286214) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @03:01PM (#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.

    • What they really need is shock collars. See, you take the collar and you put it on the parent's neck. If the child strays too far away it activates.

  • Personally (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @03:01PM (#41755487) Journal

    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.

  • A bit of a stretch. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Revotron (1115029) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @03:02PM (#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")

  • Low tech solution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CubicleZombie (2590497) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @03:03PM (#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.
  • I have. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @03:04PM (#41755535) Journal

    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... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bkr1_2k (237627) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @03:04PM (#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.

  • by who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @03:16PM (#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.
  • Nothing new here. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ronin Developer (67677) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @03:18PM (#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.

  • by obarthelemy (160321) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @03:25PM (#41755831)

    I think a tracking device is bad because it induces a false sense of security. It's not so much about where your kid is, it's about what he is doing.

    From my experience watching over my now 6 (and a half !) yr old nephew, losing sight of him is not really an issue per se. I've lost track of him a handful of times over the years - how far can a kid go in 10 seconds ? VERY ! Those instances only served to motivate me to watch him more closely, which is useful for the really dangerous stuff: not stopping at crossings, not staying on the sideway, climbing chairs/tables when you can't even walk, finding the adults fussing over you when you get close to an electrical outlet a lot of fun...

    I'm betting the ratio of kids hurt or dead because of being lost/kidnapped to kids hurt/dead because of not being watched closely enough is one to ten thousands. Let's not get the issue wrong, especially when "fixing" the wrong issue can lead us to falsely assume that the real issue is fixed, too.

  • NEVER! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Yakasha (42321) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @03:26PM (#41755835) Homepage
    If the hunt isn't challenging, the kill isn't satisfying.
  • by onkelonkel (560274) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @03:38PM (#41756003)
    The tracker needs to go on mom and dad. Ask any 3 year old and they'll tell you "I never get lost but mom and dad get lost sometimes and they freak out when they do"
  • by nEoN nOoDlE (27594) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @03:40PM (#41756031) Homepage

    I don't see a downside to GPS tracking your kids. We use GPS on our smart phones to find directions to places in our direct neighborhood. It's ubiquitous. The whole "Children need to find out how to get unlost by themselves" is complete luddite garbage. Children are entering a future where this kind of technology is intrinsically linked to their development. Keeping them inside of a tech-free bubble, just because the parents never grew up with the same technology around them ("And they turned out fine!") is just as bad as brainwashing them into religion at an early age, and yet it's something I often hear from my friends and co-workers who are in the technology industry. I also often see it here on Slashdot whenever someone poses a question on what technology they should introduce to their kids.

    • Re:No downside (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @05:29PM (#41757551) Homepage Journal

      I don't see a downside to GPS tracking your kids. We use GPS on our smart phones to find directions to places in our direct neighborhood.

      Right! Because, as we all know, GPS will always be available, electronic devices never malfunction (especially in damp, dirty environments such as forests and amusement parks!), and batteries never lose their charge, so why would anyone these days waste time teaching their kids how to find their way using such archaic methods such as knowing which way is North and how the sun rises in the East and sets in the West?

      It's ubiquitous. The whole "Children need to find out how to get unlost by themselves" is complete luddite garbage.

      YEA, FUCKING LUDDITES! How dare they think that future generations will ever, ever be unable to access geolocation technology! Computers and machines will always be there to do our thinking for us!! GOOO TECHNOLOGICALLY-ASSISTED LAZINESS!!!!

      Children are entering a future where this kind of technology is intrinsically linked to their development.

      So, because of that, they shouldn't have to learn anything on their own?

      Do you not realize how silly that sounds?

      Keeping them inside of a tech-free bubble

      Strawman - no one is suggesting that.

      just because the parents never grew up with the same technology around them ("And they turned out fine!")

      Better than 'fine,' actually - I can find my way out of a wet paper sack without being forced to rely on some device that may or may not be available and functioning. Judging from your statements here, I find it doubtful you'd be able to do the same.

      I don't suppose you've ever considered the notion that complete reliance on technology is a self-inflicted handicap?

      ...is just as bad as brainwashing them into religion at an early age...

      So, here you say, essentially, that people who want their kids to learn as opposed to having a machine do all the kids' thinking for them, are exactly the same as crazy-ass fundamentalists?

      Man, and some folks think I've got a twisted word view... You take the cake.

  • by Pope (17780) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @04:15PM (#41756515)

    My parents didn't need one, why should I?

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @04:33PM (#41756745) Homepage

    Would You Put a Tracking Device On Your Child?

    The answer to that is an emphatic, "Yes and No." Slightly off-topic, but I think it is important to keep these thoughts fresh in our minds, in the current context:

    The answer to that exact question is, "Yes." I might put a tracking device on my child, if I chose to, for my own reasons, under my own authority and control, without coercion or consideration by society, government, or any third party.

    But do not confuse that with the question, "Would I consent to allowing someone else to put a tracking device on my child, or would I put a third-party-controlled tracking device on my child?" The answer to that is a very tenuous, "Maybe, but I need a lot more information and some serious legal accountability."

    Even more hazardous is the question, "Would you consent to society mandating that children wear a tracking device under a third party's control?" The answer to that is an emphatic, "No."

    Ubiquitous tracking is presumption of guilt. In my nation, the government is not authorized to create such a law. Let us not slip down the slope by failing to restate those limits early and often.

"Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone." -- G. B. Stearn

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