We've highlighted some potential pitfalls of parents tracking their kids' cell phones in the past, foremost among them the points that kids would easily figure out how to game the system, and that the systems may do little more than give parents a false sense of security. A story about some early experiences with Bell Canada's child-tracking system lends some credence to those qualms. It quotes one 13-year-old that "immediately thought of ways to get around it" by leaving the phone somewhere, or just simply turning it off and telling his parents the battery died. More worringly, though, a mother says that she's replaced a $700 per month after-school program for her 8- and 10-year-old with the $5 phone tracking and now lets her kids walk home from school and stay with a neighbor until she gets off work. While the act of walking home from school may not be that inherently dangerous for these kids, the idea that the sense of security the tracking system engenders in a parent suddenly makes certain activities acceptable is a little troublesome. The tracking doesn't really do anything to actively make her kids safer than if they were walking home without being tracked, but it makes the mother feel good enough that she'll let her kids do something she wouldn't before. As a spokesman for the operator points out, these systems can't be replacement parents.
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