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Children's Watch Allows Parents To Track Their Kid 607

Posted by kdawson
from the watchbird-is-watching-you dept.
pickens writes "The Telegraph reports that a new wristwatch called num8 has a GPS tracking device and satellite positioning system concealed inside so parents can locate the wearer to within 10 feet with Google maps. The watch sends an alert if it is forcibly removed. The makers of the watch claim it gives peace of mind to parents and makes children more independent. 'Losing your child, if only for a brief moment, leads to a state of panic and makes parents feel powerless. The overriding aim of num8 is to give children their freedom and parents peace of mind,' says a company spokesman. Critics of the watch say tagging children is a step too far in paranoia about child safety. 'Is the world really that unsafe that parents need to track their children electronically? I don't think so,' says Dr Michele Elliott, director of children's charity Kidscape."
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Children's Watch Allows Parents To Track Their Kid

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21, 2009 @08:12AM (#29489531)

    Sometimes I wish for some apocalypse just so the "Please won't someone take care of me!" dolts realize that the only person who can take care of you - IS YOU!.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      RMH101 puts it best...

      Is the world really that unsafe that parents need to track their children electronically? I don't think so,

      So what's to lose? Say you have a 6 year old kid: is it really going to harm them to wear one of these? Sure, chances are very very high that this'll never be needed, but so what? It's kind of like Pascal's wager, isn't it? The bit that irritates me most about this is the retailer's website "Loc8r", "Where R U" etc. I'd be more worried about the effects of this on their spelling than their general well being.

      • by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Monday September 21, 2009 @08:47AM (#29489861)

        It costs 150 pounds ($240-250 USD). I think I can think of things more valuable to a growing child than an overpriced watch/GPS combo.

        Of course, remembering how I treated watches as a child, I think the GPS functionality might come in handy more often than you suspect. No, your child isn't going to be kidnapped, but he *will* lose his watch. Except this time you have a chance to find it. If this happens 10-20 times, it will pay for itself (vs. the cost of a visually identical non-GPS watch). If my parents hadn't stopped buying me watches after I lost the fourth one, I definitely would have come out ahead on this.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by h4rm0ny (722443)

          True. But if these things become prevalent then the parents that don't track and log their children's movements will be seen as irresponsible. Woe to the parent in court having her children taken away by Social Services because she's a negligent parent that obviously doesn't care.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by WCLPeter (202497)

            Lets not also forget the dangers of teaching a whole generation of kids that its perfectly okay for those in authority over us to track our every movement.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Lumpy (12016)

          Exactly. like karate lessons. How about teaching your kid how to defend themselves, along with all the goodness that comes with learning a discipline and being able to utterly kick the crap out of the playground bullies.

          $250.00 USD will pay for a few months of kids Karate, and the monthly fee for the watch will make up 1/2 the cost of the rest of their education.

          Plus, they are highly active 2 times a week, learn focus, attention and a skill that will save them a lot of pain and grief throughout life. You

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Shakrai (717556)

            You carry yourself differently when you can easily rip off someone's ears and shove them in their nose

            I don't know that I'd have that much confidence in karate. It's a great activity for the kids (builds self-confidence and discipline) and even adults (for the cardio workout if nothing else) but as a self-defense discipline many have found it lacking. Personally I felt like I came away with more from a single class of unarmed self-defense taught by ex-cops than I did from a year and a half of karate. Whatever confidence I did have in karate evaporated when our 6th DAN instructor got mugged by two teenage

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              Yes, most of the deadliest fighters in the world come from Tom's Dojo in the strip mall next to Lucy's Famous Nails.
          • > Exactly. like karate lessons. How about teaching your kid how to defend themselves,
            > along with all the goodness that comes with learning a discipline and being able to
            > utterly kick the crap out of the playground bullies.

            Um... So how does this address the little people getting abducted or lost? Even if they were 2nd degree black belts, it's not like they have the mass to defend themselves against most adults. Sounds like somebody has watched Ninja Kids [imdb.com] one time too many.

            (BTW: I am enrolling both my toddlers in karate when they're old enough, but mostly for the discipline and a physical outlet.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jhon (241832)

        So what's to lose? Say you have a 6 year old kid: is it really going to harm them to wear one of these? Sure, chances are very very high that this'll never be needed, but so what? It's kind of like Pascal's wager, isn't it?

        As someone who has lost a family member to kidnapping, I see very little wrong with such technology. Spot on with Pascal's wager, too.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by bugi (8479)

        If you mean the reference to Pascal's wager as an endorsement, please see the wikipedia entry under section Criticisms.

        (In short, Pascal inadvertently rendered religion to its proper ridiculous essence.)

    • by malkavian (9512) on Monday September 21, 2009 @08:39AM (#29489791) Homepage

      When you're 5 or 6, you can't take care of you though.. That's what family and parents are for; the world's one big adventure, and you can cross oceans sailing in a top hat, with no food or water, and it'll be fine!
      For every hour of every day, it's overkill, but if you're going out to the local mall, and your kid's just at the age where they're free to wander a little, it may be a good idea.. I can remember (very vaguely) as a kid starting to explore away from the parents' house. I wandered up some side streets and got lost.. I was absolutely terrified, and so were they.. I wanted to go home and had no idea where home was, and they had no idea where I was.. Thankfully, back then, the community was more closely knit, and one of my mother's friends saw me and escorted me back home.
      So, yes, I can see some perfectly valid cases where this'll head off a lot of grief on both sides if used judiciously.
      Think it could sell as a student tool too (if I pass out in a ditch after a few too many, come pick me up please!!)..

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I can remember (very vaguely) as a kid starting to explore away from the parents' house. I wandered up some side streets and got lost.. I was absolutely terrified, and so were they..

        That experience taught you something. It was a small step towards being a more responsible person. Kids who are under 24/7 surveillance never learn that freedom comes with responsibility, that their parents' trust to let them wander around by themselves must be earned by not getting lost. Getting lost taught you to be cautious.

        The grand-parent AC is right: Preempting every bad decision and the following consequences creates irresponsible children who turn into irresponsible adults.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ByOhTek (1181381)

          Yes, but the child may not know the parent can find them.

          The child could be lost a lot longer before the parents are worried (the child is not lost to the parents, but the child doesn't know that), therefore actually *enhancing* the educational experience for the child.

          Seriously, aside from the price, it isn't invasive, and it does help the parents do their jobs.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday September 21, 2009 @08:41AM (#29489817) Journal
      I'm all for self-reliance, and for not being a paranoid nitwit; but the notion that all the problems of the world are solvable by rugged self-reliance and insolvable by other means would be merely absurd, were it not so common.

      Until the advent of mass spectrometers in every household, the difference between a nice cool drink and a delicious cup of cancer comes down to what someobody else may or may not have been dumping into your water supply. The difference between a safe commute and exciting fiery death comes down to whether or not some multinational car company decided to do a recall on the car the guy behind you is driving in response to a defect report from one of their subcontractors.

      There are, to be sure, loads of problems that are best solved yourself, ideally by means of not being a moron. However, pretending that all problems are such is nothing more than a good way to end up alone and helpless against people who are neither.

      In fact, that is the reason why you have to "wish for some apocalypse" for people to "realize that the only person who can take care of you is you". Under non-apocalyptic conditions, there are loads of people who can take care of you. Like your doctor, and the guy who makes your garbage go away, and the chap who (eventually) comes out when your internet connection isn't working, and the whole massive supply chain that keeps your widgets flowing. Contemporary society, really anything beyond the barest forms of subsistence scavenging, absolutely depends on division of labor and specialization. And, the necessary consequence of specialization is dependence on others. Not absolute, Smith's pin factory isn't a hive society; but pretending that you can have autarchic self reliance and division of labor at the same time is silly.
      • by R2.0 (532027) on Monday September 21, 2009 @09:11AM (#29490125)

        "Contemporary society, really anything beyond the barest forms of subsistence scavenging, absolutely depends on division of labor and specialization."

        That's a hell of a jump there. Besides which, you are setting up a strawman. The GP didn't say "all the problems of the world are solvable by rugged self-reliance and insolvable by other means". He was bemoaning the fact that people expect others to take care of them and keep them safe. One can be responsible for oneself without roaming across the post apocalyptic wilderness.

        Let's take an example. Who is responsible for keeping you safe from criminals? Most would say "the police". But are you aware that, legally, the police are NOT responsible for that? Their job is to deal with crime AFTER it happens. To take it further, "police" as we know them didn't exist until 1829 with the founding of the London police. Prior to that, who was responsible for keeping people safe? The answer is that the individual, or family, was responsible.

        There's a big difference between the interactions of specialists in trade and a state of perpetual childhood. It's the difference between knowing some people make and sell shoes and it's my responsibility to acquire them by fair and legal means, and believing that it's the cobbler's responsibility to ensure that you have shoes. Or someone elses responsibility to force the cobbler to give you shoes.

        • by Shakrai (717556) on Monday September 21, 2009 @09:41AM (#29490463) Journal

          Let's take an example. Who is responsible for keeping you safe from criminals? Most would say "the police". But are you aware that, legally, the police are NOT responsible for that?

          Warren v. District of Columbia [wikipedia.org] is one of the pertinent cases on this subject. From the link:

          Warren v. District of Columbia is a U.S. Court of Appeals case in which three rape victims sued the District of Columbia because of negligence on the part of the police. Two of three female roommates were upstairs when they heard men break in and attack the third. After repeated calls to the police over half an hour, the roommate's screams stopped, and they assumed the police had arrived. They went downstairs and were held captive, raped, robbed, beaten, and forced to commit sexual acts upon one another and to submit to the attackers' sexual demands for 14 hours. The police had lost track of the repeated calls for assistance. DC's highest court ruled that the police do not have a legal responsibility to provide personal protection to individuals, and absolved the police and the city of any liability.

          Cute, isn't it? The police "lose" the phone calls, don't respond for hours and then get absolved of all liability for the hell that those people had to go through. Remember that story the next time you are talking to someone who tells you that the police will protect you. They won't -- even if you live somewhere with a police force that's more competent than DC, it will still take them several minutes to arrive. Until they get there you are on your own. You'd best be prepared.

    • by Shakrai (717556) on Monday September 21, 2009 @09:28AM (#29490299) Journal

      "If you spend all your time childproofing the world you won't have any time to worldproof your child."

      I saw that in a sig awhile ago. Don't remember from who. It's a great one though.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by b4upoo (166390)

      There are towns in the US in which every aid need be applied to protect kids. Some places are simply way too dangerous.
      This might also be useful for law enforcement as well as personal protection in that people can prove that they were not in a certain place at a certain time. For example many men have a problem with former wives who imagine that the old ex is stalking them. Having solid proof that your former mate is a dingbat could offer serious lega

  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Monday September 21, 2009 @08:13AM (#29489539)

    Personally I wouldn't use this for teenagers because at that age, they have matured enough that they deserve a little privacy, and they will be going to difference places and such as part of their normal social life. However, for pre-teens, they generally will not be going anywhere but the places you expect them to. If they're not at those places, then they're generally in trouble (whether they've wandered off on accident, been abducted, or are just being mischievous). I don't see how this bracelet really compromises much convenience on their part, so personally I wouldn't hesitate to use it on younger children.

    • by muckracer (1204794) on Monday September 21, 2009 @08:19AM (#29489597)

      > I don't see how this bracelet really compromises much convenience on their
      > part, so personally I wouldn't hesitate to use it on younger children.

      20 years later:
      "Dad...about that nasty cancer growth... :-/"

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gninnor (792931)

      At 12 I was biking to work, a carnival type job and legal. Preteen. Really you have to know your child, but I also think you have to prepare them. For some I think those the do the former, would not do the latter. And those that would track their child, wouldn't care to teach them to take care of themselves. I don't know what the cut off should be, but either they should have direct supervision in a safe environment, limited freedom, or full freedom. A lot can happen when you are looking up the child's loca

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mysidia (191772)

      If you think 13 is a magic age where children suddenly deserve privacy of their whereabouts, heck no.

      That privilege is @ the parents' discretion. Usually people under age 17 must at all times tell their parents where exactly they are going, at what times. Typically parents just have to believe them, because it would be too inconvenient to have them watched at every moment, and well-behaved teens don't need it.

      And their parents may use any method at their disposal to verify the children are at the pl

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        And then your kids will sneak out of your house or get very, very lonely.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by PitaBred (632671)
          Or just learn to fucking behave and tell the truth. Is that so hard nowdays?
      • by Swizec (978239) on Monday September 21, 2009 @08:36AM (#29489761) Homepage

        If you think 13 is a magic age where children suddenly deserve privacy of their whereabouts, heck no.

        That privilege is @ the parents' discretion. Usually people under age 17 must at all times tell their parents where exactly they are going, at what times. Typically parents just have to believe them, because it would be too inconvenient to have them watched at every moment, and well-behaved teens don't need it.

        Why would people under the age of 17 have to have little locational privacy? Personally when I was 13-ish I simply stopped telling my parents where I am, usually through either flat out lying or through giving nonspecific information, simply felt I didn't want them quite knowing where I am. Besides, if there was any sort of trouble, I always had my cell phone with me so it wasn't like I magically vanished out of sight ... having to know where children are was, imho, important only before the age of mobile communication.

        However, nowadays, when I'm 21-ish my parents still keep pestering me about where I am and I _still_ don't tell them. Just goes to show parents never learn, ever.

    • by IBBoard (1128019) on Monday September 21, 2009 @08:32AM (#29489723) Homepage

      Personally I wouldn't use this for teenagers because at that age, they have matured enough that they deserve a little privacy

      That, plus if you look at the picture then there's no way in hell that any teenager would be seen dead with that thing on their wrist :D

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21, 2009 @08:34AM (#29489745)
      Personally I wouldn't use this for teenagers because at that age, they have matured enough that they deserve a little privacy

      Exactly - if you put the wristwatch on a teenage boy, all they'll find is that he's spending most of his time in the bathroom rapidly jumping back and forth about 4" at a time.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by R2.0 (532027)

      "Personally I wouldn't use this for teenagers because at that age, they have matured enough that they deserve a little privacy, and they will be going to difference places and such as part of their normal social life. However, for pre-teens, they generally will not be going anywhere but the places you expect them to. If they're not at those places, then they're generally in trouble (whether they've wandered off on accident, been abducted, or are just being mischievous). I don't see how this bracelet really

  • ZapEM! (Score:4, Funny)

    by muckracer (1204794) on Monday September 21, 2009 @08:14AM (#29489549)

    1. Extend functionality to provide automatic electroshock to BRAT moving beyond configured away-from-home radius
    2. ?
    3. PROFIT!!!

    • Now it there were any way to combine this with an expletive detector...
      • *Queue Beethoven's 9th Symphony in the background*

        Thou should learn how to conduct thyself public-wise, oh my brother...
    • Yes, because if your child is abducted you want to make sure that in addition to whatever fear of the kidnappers they have that they are in pain from electroshock too.

      Spoken like a moron that doesn't have children, and probably shouldn't be allowed to.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dargaud (518470)

      Extend functionality to provide automatic electroshock to BRAT moving beyond configured away-from-home radius

      This has existed for dogs for about a decade...

  • by chetbox (1335617) on Monday September 21, 2009 @08:15AM (#29489559)
    Parents have been perfectly capable of looking after their children without GPS tracking for millennia... IMHO with a little trust and good parenting, these devices are completely unnecessary.
    • by IBBoard (1128019) on Monday September 21, 2009 @08:25AM (#29489631) Homepage

      What is it with the large proportion of parents who feel it suddenly is necessary, though? I'm a parent, and he may still be less than 18 months old and so not going very far, but both me and my wife feel that a lot of this stuff (including net nanny monitors) is overkill and is just going to destroy the child's concepts of trust, personal space and self-reliance.

      Instill good values in your child and do your job as a parent and you can't go far wrong. Start to let technology do your job for you (because, shock-horror, the other alternative is putting in effort and teaching stuff to kids) and it'll all go wrong.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fiordhraoi (1097731)

      Parents have been perfectly capable of looking after their children without GPS tracking for millennia... IMHO with a little trust and good parenting, these devices are completely unnecessary.

      A statistically low percentage of child kidnappings, etc, does not in any way assuage the grief and pain of a parent who happens to be one of the unlucky few. As someone else above stated, this is probably not appropriate for teenagers, but rather is suited for young children. The fact that the human race will continue without your child isn't any kind of comfort to a parent. If they make a value judgment that the peace of mind and possible benefit of purchasing one of these is worth the cost, then so be

      • A statistically larger percentage of child molestation/abduction coming from within the family/trusted friends, surely means this will give the attackers more of an advantage than the defenders.

    • by dintech (998802)

      I thought tagging was for criminals? Free "I Love Big Brother" t-shirt with every watch. Versions 2 monitors for thought crime...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by zx75 (304335)

      We were perfectly capable of using motorized or animal transportation without seat belts for millennia... IMHO with a little care and good control these devices are completely unnecessary.

      It's not that I don't agree with your point, but I don't agree with the argument that you've made. Just because we've gone without something for a long time, and care will mostly mitigate circumstances that would result in an unfavourable result, this does not mean the device is unnecessary or useless.

      Now I don't think I s

    • It's not the kids I wouldn't trust - it's people I entrust them to. It's still years away from me, but I don't think homeschooling is an option.

      Just imagine... what if the babysitter is a complete dumbass? Or the teacher? Or the chaperone on the kid's first out-of-state field trip? If the kid's too young to fend for him/herself, most parents would probably (and should!) welcome any additional way to keep track of their kids.

    • by corbettw (214229)
      Were they, though? What were the statistics on children being abducted or just falling down a cliff once upon a time? And are those statistics better today, or could they be further improved with this device? I don't know the answers to any of these questions, but I'm unwilling to dismiss an advancement like this out of hand without knowing them.

      Having said all that, I agree with you that good parenting is the key to having safe and happy children. As a personal anecdote, let me say that my youngest son d
    • by aclarke (307017)
      You're right, of course. While we're on this line of reasoning, let's also stop using the following:
      • Modern medical intervention: Ultrasounds, delivery rooms, c-sections, blood transfusions, disinfectants, medicine, thermometers, disinfectants etc.
      • Automobiles
      • Diapers
      • Books
      • Any footwear or clothing technology invented in the last 200 years

      With a little trust and good parenting, ALL of these items are unncessary ... until you need them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by aclarke (307017)
        I just re-read my comment. I hope we never have to get rid of disinfectants, and certainly not disinfectants either! That would be disastrous, not to mention being a complete disaster.
  • Training (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AlterRNow (1215236) on Monday September 21, 2009 @08:16AM (#29489561)

    If I were subjected to this, the first thing I would do would be to figure out how to remove it without setting of the alarm and then tie it to, say, a car exhaust. If only for the challenge!

    On another note, the world may not be more safe or unsafe as it has in the past. The difference is that it has becomes easier to hear about what *does* happen with the internet and such.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mysidia (191772)

      That's simple... take it off several times a day claiming it feels uncomfortable.

      In other words, set off the alarm intentionally, repeatedly.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tony Hoyle (11698)

        Pull the battery. The thing must be transmitting to a local basestation somehow, since GPS is passive (despite the popular press not understanding that basic fact).

        Faraday cages aren't exactly high tech and would defeat this also (if you wanted to abduct a kid a van with wire mesh on the inside would do just nicely).

  • by Zebedeu (739988) on Monday September 21, 2009 @08:18AM (#29489579)

    That's funny, I was having a discussion with my mother about how I thought child leashes were stupid and too invasive on the child's freedom.

    My mother told me she used to think like that too, until the day she lost one of her children (either me or my brother, don't remember) in a busy place. When that happened she realized that maybe the leashes are stupid, but at least you'll never lose your child in one moment of distraction. Thankfully, she never went though with it :-)

    I think a GPS bracelet is a nice compromise between having peace of mind and being too imposing on your child's ability to move and sense of independence. At least when they really are children -- for teenagers it's a different story, IMHO.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I could not agree more. Children are unable to protect themselves and it is physically impossible to stuff enough knowledge into them to make them "safe" while they are still young enough to need protection. The law makes you responsible for both their well-being and their actions and to not keep track of where they are is irresponsible. As long as you are not required to put a state-reporting bracelet on your children, and this remains a matter of choice for parents, then I see it as a useful and valid opt

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aclarke (307017)
      Why is a leash too invasive on a child's freedom? I don't use one on my toddler but I wouldn't hesitate to do so in certain situations. If a kid is happier running along on the ground in a crowded or dangerous situation, isn't refusing to let them to this and carrying them or putting them in a stroller MORE "invasive on their freedom" than letting them run around within certain parameters?

      It's a kid. There's a reason children need their parents. They need protection, and boundaries. If I lived in a
  • when the watch battery is dead
    do you replace the watch ?
    or do you replace the kid ?

    you probably would rather replace parents

  • So? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RMH101 (636144)
    'Is the world really that unsafe that parents need to track their children electronically? I don't think so,'
    So what's to lose? Say you have a 6 year old kid: is it really going to harm them to wear one of these? Sure, chances are very very high that this'll never be needed, but so what? It's kind of like Pascal's wager, isn't it?

    The bit that irritates me most about this is the retailer's website "Loc8r", "Where R U" etc. I'd be more worried about the effects of this on their spelling than their gen
    • by IBBoard (1128019)

      It might not harm them directly (except for taunts from other children about how they're still being watched by their parents, any possible effects of having a GPS transmitter strapped to a wrist, and the degredation of their self-belief, self-reliance and understanding of personal space) but it'll harm the parent's bank balance.

      £150 for a watch for a kid (not known to be the most careful of individuals with items of worth), plus a monthly contract?!?

      • by Tony Hoyle (11698)

        We live in a world where there are 8 year olds with iphones.

        A £150 watch is nothing..

        • by IBBoard (1128019)

          We also live in a world where the parents are still on five year old Nokia 3510s with Pay As You Go sim-cards that get topped up every six months or so ;) Some might have iPhones, but others won't be getting mobile phones for a long time to come, and even then they'll be cheap ones.

  • Tag chip (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Chris_Mir (679740)
    One step closer to the inevitable, mandatory tag chip for everyone. And future people will not have problems with it. Things like this watch will make children get used to these sort of things.
  • by agnosticanarch (105861) on Monday September 21, 2009 @08:22AM (#29489619) Homepage

    Hey, we should use devices like this to get children used to the idea of being watched constantly. . .

    Then, when they are adults, they won't mind Big Brother watching every little thing they do. It's for their safety, after all!

    ~AA

  • please... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the_fat_kid (1094399) on Monday September 21, 2009 @08:22AM (#29489621)

    oh, for fsk sake. have you people lost your damn minds?
    "lets get our children used to electronic monitoring early"
    We have a device like that here allready, we use it for work release from jail.
    How about we raise children that we trust out of our sight?
    If you need to track your children like criminals, then I feel sorry for you.
    sort of.

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      oh, for fsk sake. have you people lost your damn minds? "lets get our children used to electronic monitoring early"

      Long term this is a real concern. If this took off in 40 years time people might not feel safe unless they are tracked electronically, or at least associate being tracked with being safe. It would be quite easy for a government to address their concerns...

  • Deeply troubling (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Monday September 21, 2009 @08:26AM (#29489647)
    Forget the children for one moment. Consider the parental paranoia. We know that, fueled by irresponsible journalists, parents are being given quite wrong ideas about the frequency of abduction, number of pedophiles, and the general danger of the environment. This will not fix parental paranoia. Ten feet is the difference between sidewalk and roadway. Things like this merely feed it, inviting the "they wouldn't make these things if they weren't necessary" argument.

    Meanwhile I see mothers using phones (illegally, here) while driving their kids to school and weaving across the road. That's not a "perceived" danger. They let their kids get fat. Also not a perceived danger. They don't teach them the dangers of alcohol, which will kill far more people prematurely than all the world's pedophiles and kidnappers.

    We really do need to get across the idea that something can be technically feasible and yet undesirable, because a significant number of people do not get it. And in thirty years time the world is going to be run by people still metaphorically tied to mommy's apron, infantilised by never being given any freedom or responsibility. It's not a nice thought.

  • There are many personal locator devices available. The factors that make them either useful or useless are 1) The accuracy and ability to get a position fix of their GPS receiver, and 2) The ability of the device to communicate the position information to the central monitoring system used to track the device. The cost of this device, several hundred US dollars, puts it in the range of low-end personal locator devices like the SPOT personal locator, which has a low-sensitivity GPS chipset and which uses S
  • by twoshortplanks (124523) on Monday September 21, 2009 @08:31AM (#29489709) Homepage
    It's not clear from the website how this info is transmitted. I'm curious if anyone actually knows... If it's talking up to the GPS then you could remove the watch anywhere there's no line of sight to a GPS satellite. Likewise, you could do the same anywhere there's no cell signal where the watch is...
  • Really, how did they fit it all in there?
  • by pvera (250260) <pedro.vera@gmail.com> on Monday September 21, 2009 @08:36AM (#29489767) Homepage Journal

    As a parent of an autistic child with escape artist tendencies, I would love to have this kind of watch. That is, assuming that my kid will wear it for more than 5 minutes in a row without trying to cut it off.

    My kid is 10 and incredibly fast. He doesn't understand the concepts of safety and fear, and is constantly figuring out ways to break our locks to go out wandering alone (he's even done it at school, which was actually a bit funny because he took off running in front of the principal, so for the first few minutes there was a gaggle of huffing and puffing teachers and secretaries chasing through an apartment complex until the cops arrived). A watch like this, combined with some kind of alarm could help us keep him alive and unharmed until he is 18.

    • ... will have run out of money. That "montly subscription" is sure as hell gonna wring every last buck out of yout wallet once they got you hooked.

      • by macaddict (91085) on Monday September 21, 2009 @10:17AM (#29490945)
        ... will have run out of money. That "montly subscription" is sure as hell gonna wring every last buck out of yout wallet once they got you hooked.

        Try reading the website next time: [lok8u.com]

        Emergency use (1 alert/month) - £5 ($8).
        Standard use (60 alerts/month) - £10 ($16)
        Advanced use (90 alerts/month) - £13 ($21)
        Unlimited use (unlimited alerts/month) - £20 ($32)

        $32 is less than what a family spends at a restaurant. Go out to eat one less time per month, have plenty of money for the top-level subscription. And yeah, it's very much worth it if you can give your autistic kid a little more freedom and yourself a back-up system to keeping an eye on them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by macaddict (91085)
      Same here. My son has pulled the disappearing act on us a couple times. Both times we got extremely lucky, and both times were "look away for five minutes because he seemed to be busy doing something and then he was gone". He's getting better now that he's getting older about asking if he can go somewhere, but we still can't completely trust him not to wander off. Since we like to travel, we spend a lot of time in new (and often remote) areas. And since he's almost a teenager, it would be nice to be able to
  • Hey mom, dad. Uncle Jack isn't so creepy after all. He's given me this lovely watch for my birthday....
  • Every logical bone in my body (head?) is telling me this is ridiculous, paranoid, a step too far, goes against everything I've ever thought, etc. However, as a newish parent (my only daughter is now 3 and a half) there is an emotion creeping in that sees the benefit of this.

    I expect logic and principles will win out - for now. I'm sure one reason for the growing number of paranoid parent is the declining birth rate - you really do view your one child as so precious that your principles are easily modifie
  • The chance of your kid being kidnapped is next to NIL. It has far more chance to be hit by a car, to fall to his death, and other rare incident. Children which disappear (in the US) have two reasons : they get away on their own will, or they are in custodial dispute. Kids getting kidnapped by a stranger are extremely rare (a few hundred per year ? As opposed to many 10's of thousand of children "disappearing" I wish I had saved the FBI statistic web page), and removing forcefully the watch and dropping it s
  • by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gs@@@ovi...com> on Monday September 21, 2009 @08:42AM (#29489819) Homepage

    Almost all child abuse is from family members. Wearing a GPS watch won't help to stop the step dad from hurting the kid. Abuse or abduction by strangers is so rare that it is hardly worth mentioning. All this does is extract money from parents and lets them pretend the danger is somewhere that it isn't.
     

  • wake up, you ARE powerless. your child is an entity independant of you, you can and will find trouble. learning through experience is far too lacking these days...
  • Problem: Kids don't wear watches. Don't wear them, don'y have them, don't want them, don't need them.

    Solution: All cellphones include GPS functionality built-in. Kids do want cellphones, and a good number already have them. And, many cell carriers even have services that allow parents to locate children on their plans.


    / must not rant about idiot helicopter parents, must not rant about idiot helicopter parents, must not rant about idiot helicopter parents...
  • I used to walk to school and walk home by myself when I was like 6 or 7. Now, a child of that age isn't allowed to leave the school building unless a parent or someone else "on the list" appears to pick them up.

    I don't know if the number of child abductions and other such things have gone up. I know that attention to those incidents is certainly increased. I just have to wonder if there are really significant differences between now and then or if we are just becoming increasingly paranoid without good r

  • Teenagers will make monitoring this Big Brother-like network a nightmare when they inevitably all decide to collectively ditch the tracker watches before going out to party on a friday night.
  • Considering most situations where a parent would use this (park / mall / large crowds), does it really need "satellite" tracking abilities? I would imagine just a standard beacon transmitter and receiver would be enough. Most of the scenarios I can imagine would be where the child was within 1 mile of the parent, if not less.

    Also, I'd have to imagine that if someone is depraved enough to "kidnap" a kid, they know to cut off the watch and backpack / etc.

  • I've always wondered why reporters/contractors in Iraq & Afghanistan don't get stuff like this (preferably sub-dermal). Is it easy to detect/block/ineffective or simply too much for oil companies/news organizations to spend ~$400 on a statistically significant number of their employees?

  • Jeez... I was going to mod this one, but as a parent, I've just got to weigh in. Those of you acting like it's some police state conspiracy to track my four-year old, really have no idea what you're talking about. It doesn't change my attitude about keeping an eye on him, it's not invasive or dehumanizing, and the kid doesn't care --the kid probably doesn't even understand. He'd think it was cool to have his own watch.

    I lost track of the little guy at a theme park about a year ago when he ran off while I was --ahem-- indisposed in the restroom. We found him 10 minutes later, but it took weeks to get back in my wife's good graces. He's typically obedient, but these things happen --and no, training him in karate, giving him a copy of the Fountainhead, or some other moronic suggestion wouldn't have helped. As he becomes more capable of self-governance and demonstrates responsibility, we will give him increasing autonomy.

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