There are a handful of products on the market that have the sole purpose of letting you know where your kids are any time they are not with you. Exactly where. Child safety should obviously be the number one concern of every parent, but is GPS Tracking your kid a good idea or helicopter parenting to the next level?
Best Buy’s Little Buddy Child Tracker “keeps tabs on your child at all times” with a device that allows you to monitor your child’s whereabouts from any smartphone or computer. It’s a small transmitter that your child keeps in his or her backpack and it utilizes GPS technology to provide real-time updates. You can even designate a perimeter that you consider safe for your child to be in, and if your child leaves the area, you get an immediate text message alert.
In addition to Little Buddy, there are other products by BrickHouse Security, Buddi, Pocket Finder and smartphone apps like LOCiMobile that all promote the same kind of service. These are just a few examples of the many products like these on the market.
I have mixed feelings about this kind of technology. While I certainly understand the intent of these products and the desire for parents to “monitor” their kids, I think older kids need to have the freedom to make their own choices without constantly being watched (and know they’re being watched).
These types of devices maybe make more sense for very young kids who are in kindergarten or elementary school. But then again, the times in which kids this age are unsupervised in public places are nil (I hope), and then, do you really need to know minute-by-minute updates of the bus ride to school, classroom time, and then the bus ride home? The older the child gets, the more slippery this slope gets and I’m sure many discussions could emerge in support of GPS tracking and ensuring kids’ safety vs. against GPS tracking and building trust with your children. We need to strike a balance between the two and the question remains as to whether technology is making that easier or harder.
What do you think? Are you a supporter of GPS tracking for kids? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
If you have a question for Screen Play or would like to submit a product for consideration, please contact LetsPlugIn@gmail.com.