Nextel Ups The Stakes In Marketing To Paranoid Parents

from the just-selling-of-peace-of-mind dept

Yesterday, we wrote about Disney’s MVNO, which offers parents the ability to better track their kids mobile usage, and even monitor their location. It seems like Nextel is looking to one up Disney in the profiting from fear department, offering a service that uses GPS to alert parents anytime their child is near the home of a registered sex offender (via Engadget Mobile). While the Disney offering may give parents a false sense of security, Nextel’s service may do the opposite, giving parents random but frequent bouts of terror and helplessness. It wouldn’t be a surprise if this appeals to a lot of parents, but it’s not clear how this service actually makes kids any safer.


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Comments on “Nextel Ups The Stakes In Marketing To Paranoid Parents”

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28 Comments
discojohnson says:

no offense...

…but who gives a crap about them going near a preselected list of locations? i have children, so don’t pull that card; and i love em dearly. HOWEVER, where’s the feature that let’s me put in GPS coords and i get alerted when they, say, leave town, go to their boyfriend’s at 3am, etc etc

john says:

Re: Re: no offense...

Let’s see. Turn off the cellphone. Leave the house. Pop out battery just in case it tracks me with the power off. Put battery back in Only if it’s an emergency. Hmmm I can live without the phone on long enough to have some fun without Mom or Dad knowing.Or maybe, leave the phone home ON while sitting on the top of the dresser. Can’t track me now!!!! You adults don’t give us enough credit!!!

Jason (user link) says:

Not Solving the Problem

I hope there is some sort of timeout as to when these alerts are sent. I can’t imagine how often an alarm would go off during long car rides, commutes, and trips around town. Johnny’s friend’s mom wants to take little Johnny to play at a big park, but the parents freak out because along the way their phone buzzed. It sounds like a BS service to me.

As an alternative, I like discojohnson’s reply. If it were a little more customizable, and I can pick the locations and time frame, I’m sure it’d be a very viable solution. I just think the shotgun approach would cause more hurt than help.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think the idea has merit, but is going to be poorly implemented. If it will be 100% customizable I would consider subscribing to something like this, but if there are hard-coded features that cannot be disabled it would probably mean more false positives than it is worth.

My 13 year old son is savvy enough to know that carrying the device around makes mom and dad feel secure in the knowledge that he is where he is ‘supposed’ to be, he’ll simply leave it there and go about his business without us being the wizer. So what would be the point of having it?

Another way parents can feel good aout not really knowing what their kids are up too. Teach your kids trust, respect, and safe practices and you shouldn’t need this device.

Another Kid says:

I would agree, if you were that paranoid it would be better to NOT know what we actually do seeing as that would worry you more. To me it sounds like a senseless waste of money. Besides the fact that if I ever had a phone with that, I wouldn’t bring it with me, actually I would boycott it. Basically, I’m 16 and if my parents got me that phone I would tell them to shove it, although more respectfully. (“Sorry, I don’t really want a cell phone guys, just take it back and save yourselves the money…because I’m not really gonna use it, or I’ll use it too much. I don’t trust myself with it”) Parents..don’t waste your time.

Aaron deOliveira (profile) says:

Where will the paranoid go next

If you’re going to have it go off in proximity to sex offenders, what’s next? you could theoretically mash this service with Goolge Earth or MapQuest. Anything with local information.

This is going to feed every persons paranoia. Are people on diets going to have alerts sent to their spouses anytime they get near a candy bar or a fast food joint?

Gomorrah (profile) says:

Okay, the registered sex offender thing is taking it WAY too far. And the kids here are right, they will find a way around it. You know you found ways around the restraints your parents put on you (I know I did, and my dad was good, it took a group of us to figure it out).

I would rather trust my kids and teach them to do the right thing. True, I may get a phone from guardianangel.net just so I can make sure they are where they say they are ( or at least that they were there at one point long enough to drop off the phone), but that is more for my state of mind rather then anything else.

Now, give me a hone thatteleports me to the numbnuts kid that is trying to get into my daughter’s pants with my shotgun in hand and I will sell my soul for it. (worthless anyway after I get through with the kid)

Tim (profile) says:

Why are kids trying to get round it?

As far as I can tell, the kids have absolutely no reason to want to avoid this alarm. I’m 23, so I certainly wouldn’t call myself a kid anymore, but I can’t see how this is a big deal. Obviously the tracking system has elements of it that could be abused, and that is something the kids would fight against – fair enough. But if all it does is let your parents (and, hopefully, you) know if you’re in an area where there might be someone up to no good, I can’t see the problem. It’s not like it’s telling them you’ve gone to the mall instead of school, etc.

Having said that, I think the idea has a lot of flaws, most of which have been mentioned already. I can see this being the cause of a lot of witch-hunts unfortunately….

Mike says:

Not all sex offenders are after kids

I know of one within 3 miles of my house – he’s on the list because he exposed himself… to an older woman. He was in his 20’s, she ticked him off, he mooned her, she complained, he got arrested, and was in the system.

When the came up with the list, they manually added older records – including his from the mid-80’s.

My son’s school bus goes by his house every morning. Assuming I bought this piece of (insert derogatory comment here), does this mean I’ll get the “warning” twice a day every day my son goes to school?

Oh yeah…. great system you have there Nextel.

Joe T says:

There's more than one problem....

1. I’ve yet to hear of a case in which a registered sex offender grabbed someone off the street in front of their home. Every case I’ve read about, the child was abducted on the way home from somewhere.

2. Databases can be wildly out-of-date and given the number of registrants (who, as noted, might have simply mooned an adult), false alarms will be frequent. Looking at the registry map in my local area, it seems it would be constant if my child leaves the house – even on main roads.

3. What radius to a sex-offender’s address triggers the alarm?

4. What happens when your child’s best friend lives 3 doors down from a sex offender? Must they cease to be friends, because every time the friend is dropped off, the alarm goes off?

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