Would you put a tracker on your kids?

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Though the recent kidnapping scares have turned out to be hoaxes, parents are still snapping up the latest in child-protection: child-locator alarms and GPS trackers. Would you err on the side of caution and track your kids?

Invading your child's privacy with technology

Invading your child’s privacy with technology

Abduction scares, false as they turned out to be, seemed to have triggered something in Singaporean parents, who have scoured high and low for ways to keep their children safe in public. The latest trend has seen parents snapping up child-locator alarms and GPS trackers.

Electronic retail store JustBuy reported an almost 10% increase in GPS trackers, while online children’s store Lamkins reported a 40% jump in the sales of wireless child-locator alarms.

Keep tabs on your child

Child-locator alarms these days are creatively designed. The ones sold in Lamkins are modeled to be plastic bears, measuring 6.4cm by 3.8cm and are priced between $69.90 and $79.90. These locators can be clipped onto a child’s shoe, belt or a wrist band. The blue bears are the costliest but they come with an automatic alarm feature that emits a 86-decibel alarm when a child wanders 20m from his parents.

GPS trackers too are being picked up by concerned parents. They are priced between $329 and $429 and measure 7.8cm by 4.5cm. A mother who purchased two of these trackers, had them secretly sewn into her children’s school bags. Should she wish to locate her children, he simply sends a password from her iPhone to the GPS tracker via a text messages. The tracker subsequently replies her with a link to a Google Maps page pinpointing their exact location.

A step-up from leashes?

Child leashes remain controversial items because while their effectiveness is unquestioned, the nature of their usage could liken children to pets. Parents using them may seem lazy or even cruel in the eyes of the public. Using wireless devices such as alarms and trackers could allow parents to move up the moral ladder, while ensuring strong security for the child.

In any case, $429 for a GPS tracker is a steep price to pay, as compared to a $30 leash. Many parents would face the dilemma of weighing a heavy price against a potential safety net for their children.

Of course, parents who use these devices will still find it hard to escape moral judgement. Seeing it from the child’s point of view, to have someone constantly watching over where you move and restricting where you should not go is almost ‘Big-brother’-esque.

You decide

Ultimately it falls to parents to decide on what is necessary to keep their child safe. The market for items to protect your child is huge and many of these devices are largely unneeded. Parents must be aware not to fall prey to the latest rumour of the day, such as what happened in the recent kidnapping hoaxes. But if you feel a tracker is an important item to keep tabs on your child and ensure his safety, then by all means go for it.

Parents, what are your opinions on this?

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