Mobile Tracking Of Kids: Good Or Bad?

from the could-be-both dept

While this article from the Edinburgh News makes it sound like being able to spy on your kids' whereabouts 24-hours a day is solving one of the biggest problems parents ever faced, you have to wonder if the technology has just as many downsides. There are a variety of similar technologies out there, but this particular one works by letting the parent send a text message pinging the service with a "secret name" for the kid. The service then responds with the kid's location. While the article suggests this should help prevent child abductions, that seems unlikely and, in fact, it could do the reverse. First, one of the first things any child abductor is likely to do is to get rid of a kid's mobile phone. Why would they let them keep it, especially now that most people realize phones have location-based abilities? Second, if the potential abductor (and, more often than not, child abductors are people who know the child) can find out or figure out the "secret" user name, then suddenly they can know exactly where the kid is at any particular time for the sake of abducting him or her. Certainly child abductions are bad news, but this concept that technology will solve anything is very questionable. Beyond making kids feel like they need to be spied on all the time (not great for self-confidence), this non-solution is likely to mean that the kids aren't taught more important awareness/street smarts skills that would help them to avoid, prevent or escape any potential abduction.
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  • identicon
    Bill Mailloux, 29 Sep 2004 @ 9:50am

    Mobile Tracking Of Kids: Good Or Bad?

    Anything that can get a child back or get a general location fix within the first couple of hours is critical. AMBER is good but still not great.
    If that seems like it might interfere with their 'rights' then I am sure once a few are rescued using tech like this those fears will be un-warrented.
    We should make sure the tech is opt-in so that you can choose not to participate if you feel compelled not to.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      blairkincaide, 29 Sep 2004 @ 12:35pm

      Re: Mobile Tracking Of Kids: Good Or Bad?

      I don't think that it's necessarily a "rights" issue, although it could easily turn into one. But there are a lot of ways this technology can be used for harm. Hypothetically, it could be possible to use this technology *against* kids, possibly pinpointing children that wander into certain areas. Or it could be used for people who are not children at all - give your spouse a new phone and keep tabs on them. Or give your drunk friend the phone at the club so you know where to pick him/her up in the morning after an all night shag fest.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    the could-be-both dept, 20 Jun 2007 @ 6:45am

    Mobile Tracking Of Kids: Good Or Bad?

    While this article from the Edinburgh News makes it sound like being able to spy on your kids' whereabouts 24-hours a day is solving one of the biggest problems parents ever faced, you have to wonder if the technology has just as many downsides. There are a variety of similar technologies out there, but this particular one works by letting the parent send a text message pinging the service with a "secret name" for the kid. The service then responds with the kid's location. While the article suggests this should help prevent child abductions, that seems unlikely and, in fact, it could do the reverse. First, one of the first things any child abductor is likely to do is to get rid of a kid's mobile phone. Why would they let them keep it, especially now that most people realize phones have location-based abilities? Second, if the potential abductor (and, more often than not, child abductors are people who know the child) can find out or figure out the "secret" user name, then suddenly they can know exactly where the kid is at any particular time for the sake of abducting him or her. Certainly child abductions are bad news, but this concept that technology will solve anything is very questionable. Beyond making kids feel like they need to be spied on all the time (not great for self-confidence), this non-solution is likely to mean that the kids aren't taught more important awareness/street smarts skills that would help them to avoid, prevent or escape any potential abduction.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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