Anti-Bullying Or False Sense Of Security?

from the could-cause-more-problems dept

There are all sorts of efforts underway for parents to track children via their mobile phones. In the past we’ve written a number of reasons why a lot of these solutions are problematic — both in making the children always feel watched and untrusted, but also because of the unintended consequences: both parents and kids may get a false sense of security because of the tracking. That second issue may be a problem with a new solution. Instead of constantly tracking a kid it lets a child who feels threatened to quickly press a button to send an emergency message to a parent, which will include the child’s location. Obviously, there are times when such a solution could be useful — but do they outweigh the negatives? Again, the kids and the parents get a false sense of security. They may not think basic street smarts are as important and wander into more dangerous situations thinking they always can “call for help.” And, if a kid is really in danger, sending a note with their location probably won’t do much to help the kid in time. One situation where it could come in handy is in a kidnapping situation, so police can have some location info. However, the cases where that’s likely to happen seem pretty slim.

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Comments on “Anti-Bullying Or False Sense Of Security?”

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Tim (user link) says:

No Subject Given

Let’s see:

kid walks out under bus: no time to push the button.

kid gets bullied in school: gets black eye long before has a chance to push the button; message goes to parents who have to phone the school to say “oh no, someone bopped little Johnny on the nose”

kid gets lost in shopping centre: just how accurate is the map, again? Down to the level of aisles? How about navigating to the nearest checkout to generate a tannoy announcement instead?

Batteries go flat. Time spent pushing the magic button means the kid can’t defend themselves whilst being bullied, for example; this will only be retroactive, “oh no I’m hurt”. It would definitely be better to educate the wee brats incrementally over time (as a parent, *let* them wander a little out of their depth, but not out of your sight, so they experience being scared from time to time and learn), as prevention rather than mop-up cure.

Spartacus says:

Re: No Subject Given

Of course it isn’t useful in every situation but does that mean that it’s just stupid to use any kind of protective device for your children? What’s wrong with a button that might save someone’s life? A kid falls down some stairs in a back ally where no one will come across him and breaks his leg. “Hey I’ve got my phone in my pocket, I can push that button and someone can find me!” Sure there are negative aspects, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to protect our children. If we can’t carry things that give us a “sense of security” what the hell are we supposed to do if we’re not all 250 pound oafs who can “take care of ourselves”?
To the guy who thinks installing a tazor in your phone is a good idea, have you even thought about what that would look like? Remember how retarded people looked pressing a grey brick with a black antenna about the size of a car antenna to their face and talking to it? People like the convenience of a small phone and if you try installing crap like tazors in them how big do you think they’ll get?

There is nothing wrong with panic buttons. They may not work in every situation, but, hell, if they save someone’s life how can you say it wasn’t worth it?

Dustin123467 says:

No Subject Given

First of all, some kids just need to die, they are stupid and useless and going to be nothing but a burden to society their whole life, so stop trying to make the world idiot proof and let natural selection take care of these little problems before they start inconveniencing the rest of us.
Second, a panic button to save junior from bullies? by the time anyone responds to the distress call, the cell phone will have been shoved quite far up juniors little asshole. That kind of stuff really messes kids up in the long term – not having cell phones shoved up their butt’s, but having parents that try and shield kids from every one of lifes little challenges. You gotta let em figure some of it out on their own.

Frank J. Mattia (user link) says:

Re: No Subject Given

i just wanted to say that i 110% agree with the natural selection part.

life can suck – laws are made to protect the stupid from themselves. then the stupid people who survive their teen years grow up to become lawmakers – who in turn dumb down the rest of society with more laws.

burn it all. let the smart survive and the strong protect the weak. more natural disasters. purge the earth. let people get back to living.

giafly says:

Bullies push button

… after threatening the owner, then watch and laugh at the panic caused.
For reference: one of the funniest things I saw this year was when someone had reported a gang of kids to the police. I was passing as a patrol car arrived, and watched as the children ducked-down in the bushes to hide for two minutes, until the cops left, then danced around in celebration.

Newob says:

tazer phones!

Yeah, I agree this is pretty useless. Who would need to call for help from their phone, when they could install a tazer instead and zap the bullies in their eyes before they touch another kid again? Besides, the video phone function would be much more useful, for suing the asses off of everybody who teases little Johnny. Just as long as the video gets uploaded to Mom before the bullies break the phone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: tazer phones! You HAVE to be kidding me!

“Yeah, I agree this is pretty useless. Who would need to call for help from their phone, when they could install a tazer instead and zap the bullies in their eyes before they touch another kid again? Besides, the video phone function would be much more useful, for suing the asses off of everybody who teases little Johnny. Just as long as the video gets uploaded to Mom before the bullies break the phone.”

?An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth?

You know what that means? It means that the punishment should fit the crime. It means that you can?t permanently blind or disfigure someone for bullying your kid. Not unless you want to ?get your ass sued off? by the parents of the blinded kid.

And we are seriously talking about suing people for bullying now? How fucked up is that?

Newob says:

Re: Re: tazer phones! You HAVE to be kidding me!

Hey last time I checked, it was legal to defend yourself, and tazers aren’t lethal weapons. ‘Whoops! Did I accidentally get you in the eyes? Well you shouldn’t have been fucking with me, motherfucker, and you started it and I have it all on video, so fuck off!’

And to the guy who said psychology is bullshit, but psychiatry is good science? What a load of crap! Psychiatrists prescribe man-made drugs to treat ‘symptoms’ of brain-chemical ‘imbalances’ they define to be ‘mental diseases’ but they can’t tell you what a ‘normal’ or a ‘balanced’ or an ‘ordered’ person is. You can’t get a sound sample of brain chemical analyses, because every brain is different. Are ‘balanced’ brain chemicals in solution, or mixture, or what? Genes don’t code for imbalances, or disorders; you’ve either got a gene for something or you don’t, you don’t have genes for lacking something. Pharaceuticals are one step up from lobotomies, yeah, there was some good science!

Saint Jerome says:

Re: No Subject Given

“This seems to be a psychological analysis without the benefit of being a psychologist.”
Well, since psychology isn’t very legitimate in itself and is based on premises that have been proven false again and again, and there is a legitimate medical science of the mind known as psychiatry, why would his psychological analysis any less legit?
A psychologist is no different than a chiropractor, except that a psychologist generally doesn’t know that what he’s doing is bullshit.

Tom says:

Part of Life

What could possibly be the negative? Its not “false” security, it is more security. Case closed. Now more security doesn’t mean “total security” or “mom and dad are always with you” security, but it is more. Most kids will learn to live with it and learn to accept it as part of their lives. Just like I now accept my cell phone, always on and always available. Sometimes I don’t like it, but for the most part I enjoy the convience of it.

ehrichweiss says:

what about..

Martial arts!?!?!?! I’d rather my kid be able to disable some creep(and I mean DISABLE) than to worry if someone took their cell phone as they carried them away to molest them…or even just to pick on them. It goes like this..
“Give me my cell phone back!”
“What are you going to do about it!?!?”
“THAT is what I’m going to do, chump. Now I’ll call an ambulance and the police for you once I’ve taken your wallet for identification, and my cab fare home, you bitch!”
Sure, it costs more to teach them martial arts than buy a cell phone but at the same time it is a solution that you never leave home without and rarely runs out of “batteries” or has a need for a cell tower to be within a few hundred yards. And for those of you who are looking for a quick and dirty method of kicking ass, might I suggest Krav Maga. It’s not about “katas”, “styles”, “forms” or any of’s about ripping hair, grabbing the gonads, doing what is necessary to survive.

Bob says:


I believe that while in the short term it could be beneficial to track a child’s whereabouts for reasons of security, in the long term it could do irreversible damage to the relationship of trust between a child and parent.

The bond of trust that exists between a child and parent runs deep. Tracking a child sends a continuous message to that child that you do not trust them. That message becomes very difficult to erase, especially when the child matures into an adult, and can have a serious impact on the relationship.

Just because tracking technologies exist doesn’t mean we should automatically embrace them to use on our kids, the emotional consequences are too great to ignore. Companies want to sell you technological junk for any reason they can think of, just leave it at that.

The Serenity says:

Wow, Is it actually possible to screw this up any

I doubt I am the first to point this out. How would you like to go hang out with your girlfriend and your foolin around (as is the nature of pre-pubs) and you accidentally hit this button and NYPD shows up with Mom, Dad and SWAT… That might cause trust issues. Or better yet, you and a few friends are out at some “country-ass” football field being dumb smoking grass and drinking at the ripe old age of 15…. here come the police cause someone hit the wrong button…. Jail… Really.. you mean its illegal to be here, and to drink, and to smoke, and I am getting a stat-rape charge… for a sheep….

I see many bad things happening here.
And as for the guy who says…. well even if it saves one life…. well what about if it screws yours up. What if its your kid who gets caught hanging out with the local pothead when someone hits the wrong button…

Better yet, give me an example of a situation where someone who is screwing with you… (esp a situation where the child is taken…) where the Kidnapper is going to wait for you to hit a button… I kidnap someone and they pull out a cell phone…. I would think my desire to not be in jail would take over and someone would end up hurt..(because of this phone)

Quit trying to make other peoples lives easier, its theirs to live and their freedom/choice to enter or exit a situation however necessary… What I mean by this is: If the kid is gonna get a foot in his ass, he will do it with or without the phone…

Create some stupid pendant looking item that looks like natural clothing and put a GPS transponder in it, stick it on their bookbag or shoes and then if there is trouble have them hit that… it is more innocent looking and less likely to result in immediate death from a threatening party.


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