(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Carlo Longino

Doubts About Kid-Tracking Systems Reinforced

from the car-54-where-are-you dept

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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    nostranonymous, Aug 29th, 2005 @ 2:08pm

    If the parents were smart...

    Then they wouldn't tell their kids there is tracking in their phones. Why even mention it?

    Just "reward" them with a cell phone to use as they please, tell them they ALWAYS have to answer when the parent calls (if they don't it gets taken away), and always know the kids' whereabouts without them having any clue why.

    Brings new meaning to the idea of "mom always knows EVERYTHING."

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

  2. identicon
    WeeBit, Aug 29th, 2005 @ 4:37pm

    See if it holds up in court...

    Sooner or later a parent will use this device as a means to tell the judge "Yes they keep a eye on their child." Question is will a judge accept it as a means of keeping a eye on their child? This will make parents even more lazier.

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

  3. identicon
    Saucy Del Mar, Aug 30th, 2005 @ 12:55am

    Tracking kids

    I like it! It may not be a solution for keeping all kids safe, but it would be helpful in a lot of situations. If it allows mom to feel safer and gives kids more freedom, then this is a positive thing.. However it should be two way.. kids should be able to find out where mom is too..

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

  4. icon
    Mike (profile), Aug 30th, 2005 @ 1:42am

    Re: Tracking kids

    Not clear on how it's helpful. It makes parents *feel* safer at the cost of *actual safety*. It makes parents less concerned about actually teaching their kids to stay safe by giving a false sense of security.

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

  5. identicon
    corner, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 9:21pm

    Re: Tracking kids

    I think it not a ingenious way to keep an eye on their child.We'd better pay more attention on their feeling.

    Cool site of wholesale watches:

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

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