by Joseph Weisenthal

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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  1. identicon
    discojohnson, 6 Apr 2006 @ 3:43pm

    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

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

  2. identicon
    Lee, 6 Apr 2006 @ 3:44pm

    Wouldn't it suck if...

    the alarm went off when the family went to the grandparents house for a visit??!!

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

  3. identicon
    Jason, 6 Apr 2006 @ 3:54pm

    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.

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2006 @ 4:28pm

    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.

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

  5. identicon
    anonymous coward, 6 Apr 2006 @ 5:08pm

    i'm much more concerned about my 16-year-old daughter's boyfriend's hands getting anywhere near her panties. Get me the phone that prevents THAT!

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

  6. identicon
    Rob, 6 Apr 2006 @ 5:18pm

    Re: Wouldn't it suck if...

    haha, this wins the post of the day award (if that exists, and it had damn well better)

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

  7. identicon
    wiplost123, 6 Apr 2006 @ 5:21pm

    Some parents are incredebly protective of their children. I saw a $100 foldable fire escape. Most people know not to go in a stranger's car or not to drink somthing if it tastes funny. This is a $50 per month replacement of common sence or waste of money. -sigh- What gullable safety freaks will buy.

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

  8. identicon
    a kid, 6 Apr 2006 @ 6:39pm

    I think it's more like stalking your kids, and to a point, Orwell's Big Brother.

    It's almost like you don't trust us, and I do understand why, but isn't it better not knowing where we go or what we really do?

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

  9. identicon
    Another Kid, 6 Apr 2006 @ 6:50pm

    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.

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

  10. identicon
    anonymous coward, 6 Apr 2006 @ 7:06pm

    are you kidding me?

    Do they have any idea how many registered sex offenders there are in the average city? This thing is going to be in a constant state of alert.

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

  11. identicon
    Trey Booth, 6 Apr 2006 @ 7:32pm

    Re: no offense...

    Actually this is completely possible and fairly inexpensive. Nextel's GPS features are incredible, I've been using them for this type of thing in the business world for years.

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

  12. icon
    Aaron deOliveira (profile), 6 Apr 2006 @ 8:08pm

    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?

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

  13. identicon
    john, 6 Apr 2006 @ 8:11pm

    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!!!

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

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2006 @ 8:12pm

    So the alarm goes off every time the kid goes into a Catholic Church?

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

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2006 @ 8:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: no offense...

    Hahaha, very funny you smartass bastard. Do that once you get away with it, but you get grounded and you can sit in your room with your cellphone for the next 4 months.

    How you like them apples?

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

  16. identicon
    ohn, 6 Apr 2006 @ 8:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: no offense...

    Oh, I'm grounded because I left my cellphone home...you idiot!!! ....BTW nice language is that how you converse with your kids because that's the only name they answer to??

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

  17. identicon
    Jared, 6 Apr 2006 @ 10:58pm

    What happens if a registered sex offender moves? I bet it would take months for the system to get updated. Now there's going to be a house with a regisetered sex offender in it that isn't going to set off the alarm while the house with the (insert normal family name here) in it will.

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

  18. identicon
    dirty tech, 6 Apr 2006 @ 11:37pm

    under a rock

    what's 'Nextel' ?

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

  19. identicon
    Gomorrah, 7 Apr 2006 @ 12:41am

    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)

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

  20. identicon
    Tim, 7 Apr 2006 @ 1:45am

    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....

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

  21. identicon
    Ponder, 7 Apr 2006 @ 3:50am

    People can move...

    What happens when the sex offender goes shopping, etc? People who are up to no good can be everywhere, I can easily buy drugs at my school (and cheap too-nice big market), as well as illegal software, porn, stolen goods, etc. People 'up to no good' in some peoples eyes are mst teenagers.

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

  22. identicon
    Mike, 7 Apr 2006 @ 4:26am

    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.

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

  23. identicon
    a kid, 7 Apr 2006 @ 6:28am

    Yes, my friends do own Nextel and I love the GPS feature (being a hiker) and I've lobbied for my mom to get me one, but if it's going to track my every move.

    But turning the phone off is a little extreme. Just be like "you wanted to know, now you do."

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

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2006 @ 9:27am

    Hold on here. Someone is on a Registered Sex Offender List for "Mooning" someone else?!?!?

    OMG!!! If that were the case in the Mid-80's, there'd be a registered sex offender on every block of every neighborhood in America right now!!!

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

  25. identicon
    DittoBox, 7 Apr 2006 @ 9:58am

    Here's a better idea

    Get these sex offender b******s hanged after they're convicted isntead of let loose again six months later.

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

  26. identicon
    Denfro Licious, 7 Apr 2006 @ 10:18am

    better technology

    The ultimate fix:

    underwear that detects drugs in the blood stream, GPS, heat sensors, removal sensor.

    Also for the teenage boys version, a remote "kick-in-the-nuts" option

    for the teenage girls version, a remote "period stain" option... that will stop any guy dead in his tracks.

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

  27. identicon
    Joe T, 7 Apr 2006 @ 11:51am

    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?

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

  28. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2006 @ 7:32pm

    i dont get it

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

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