Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Children's Watch Allows Parents To Track Their Kid

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the watchbird-is-watching-you dept.

Privacy 607

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."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Kid won't know what to do when an adult (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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:Kid won't know what to do when an adult (4, Insightful)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489679)

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.

Re:Kid won't know what to do when an adult (4, Funny)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:Kid won't know what to do when an adult (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29489753)

Yeah? How do you expect a 6 year old to take care of themselves if they wander off somewhere? The only person that can take care of them is themselves? The parents can't take care of them?

What crap. There is nothing wrong with having your younger kids wear these devices. You can still give them privacy, but you can at least know where they are at any given moment.

You are the parent. You are responsible for their safety. If this device helps you in fulfilling that responsibility, it's a good device.

Now for teenage kids the use is a bit more debatable. Once I felt that I could trust my kid to make at least reasonable decisions I wouldn't do it anymore.

Your 6 year old kids rights to privacy - which aren't rights where the parent is concerned because they basically own the kid - are easily trumped by the child's safety.

Re:Kid won't know what to do when an adult (3, Insightful)

malkavian (9512) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489791)

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:Kid won't know what to do when an adult (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489817)

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.

Good for pre-teens, but not older (4, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Good for pre-teens, but not older (4, Funny)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:Good for pre-teens, but not older (2, Insightful)

gninnor (792931) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489635)

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 location on the computer.

It reminds me of dog owners. A leash is less necessary for a well trained dog, than one that hasn't received it.

Re:Good for pre-teens, but not older (3, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489653)

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 places they say they are. Privacy of location is not a right children have at any age.

But usually if Children have demonstrated they can't be trusted the response isn't "Ok, wear this tracking bracelet", the response is "You can't go out, you're grounded." IOW, removal of privacy of location by disallowing them to leave.

Re:Good for pre-teens, but not older (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29489755)

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

Re:Good for pre-teens, but not older (3, Insightful)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489761)

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.

Re:Good for pre-teens, but not older (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489911)

"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."

Yeah, because cell phone never get lost, or stolen, or forgotten. And the batteries never die.

Re:Good for pre-teens, but not older (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29489671)

It will also get them used to the fact that they're always under surveillance, which is a requirement for the well-adjusted citizen of our future society. Evil feeds on ill-conceived good intentions.

Re:Good for pre-teens, but not older (4, Informative)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489723)

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

Re:Good for pre-teens, but not older (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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:Good for pre-teens, but not older (2, Interesting)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489829)

"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."

The problem is that it leads to a false sense of security and/or a state of hyper-vigilance. When you say "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)", it implies (by a logical fallacy, I know) that is they are at those places, then they are safe.

So Jane Parent sends her kid off to Tommie Walker's house. She drills the specific route to there, so as to avoid the sex offender she found on the web (public urination) and tracks him on her computer, confident in his safety. Of course, the fact that Billie's uncle Ernie and cousin Kevin are visiting doesn't show up on the bracelet's software. So as she's checking every 5 minutes, confident that the sex offender hasn't snatched him up and taken him to his secret lair, while instead she is "witnessing" he precious be molested in front of her virtual eyes.

As for the other 2 examples, if a child goes wandering off, they shouldn't be allowed to go places alone - they are either too young or have attentional problems and need more supervision. As for being mischievous, that's a discipline problem - if a kid goes where he isn't supposed to KNOWING he's being tracked, the parents have bigger problems.

Re:Good for pre-teens, but not older (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29489855)

Your statement assumes that teenagers and pre-teens won't find a way of circumventing this device. That is never a wise assumption.

ZapEM! (3, Funny)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489549)

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

Re:ZapEM! (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489641)

Now it there were any way to combine this with an expletive detector...

Re:ZapEM! (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489773)

*Queue Beethoven's 9th Symphony in the background*

Thou should learn how to conduct thyself public-wise, oh my brother...

Re:ZapEM! (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489665)

That brat will very quickly find some method around it, such as dousing the device, or wrapping it in tin foil, so it cannot report on their location

Re:ZapEM! (1)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489743)

> That brat will very quickly find some method around it, such as dousing the
> device, or wrapping it in tin foil, so it cannot report on their location

Well, that'll be taken care off by the new periodic call-home feature. If no
connection to home-server can be made, an explosive charge will deploy. "NO
CARRIER" will get a whole new meaning..mwahahaha!!! >:-)

Re:ZapEM! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489769)

Just shoot them in the back of the head before they get a chance to leave the house. Solves all sorts of problems.

Re:ZapEM! (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489875)

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.

So, Dr Elliott, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29489557)

explain to me, what exactly would have happened to Madeleine McCann if she was wearing one of these when abducted ? Either: (a) it would have been forcibly removed - causing an alert, or (b) police would have been able to track her.

Explain to me again why our society is so safe for children that this device isn't needed ?

Re:So, Dr Elliott, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29489601)

It would have been slipped off her wrist and put in a park somewhere or in a bush or something. Or in the back of a passing pickup truck.

No alarm tripped. Tracking? Sure... but you're chasing ghosts. Your logic is flawed, anon, and screaming THINK OF THE CHILDREN is not going to fool anyone here.

Re:So, Dr Elliott, (2, Insightful)

carolfromoz (1552209) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489623)

Also there is a good chance she would not have been wearing it in bed anyway.

Re:So, Dr Elliott, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29489625)

At best, Madeleine McCann's parents were STUPID enough to leave a three-year-old alone while they went out drinking and dining.

AT BEST.

No, that's not the kid's fault, but kids with utter dumbass parents like that aren't going to be saved by a GPS-enabled watch.

Re:So, Dr Elliott, (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489695)

The abducter would have used simple methods everyone knows about to block the alert signal from going out while forcibly removing the device.

Probably involving several layers of aluminum foil wrapped around it, and some bolt cutters.

Re:So, Dr Elliott, (4, Insightful)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489707)

> what exactly would have happened to Madeleine McCann if she was wearing one
> of these when abducted ? Either: (a) it would have been forcibly removed -
> causing an alert, or (b) police would have been able to track her.

Or (c) Tracking Police would have found her chopped-off arm, incl. intact bracelet.

Re:So, Dr Elliott, (3, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489719)

Before or after her parents killed her and dumped her body?

Oh and unless she slept with her watch on it would have made fuck all difference if she was abducted. Most child abuse comes from within the family, after that the majority comes from trusted family friends and people who are expected to be with the kids, only a small amount comes from strangers, so this will only be marginally more effective at preventing abuse than snake oil and kids would be better off allowed to go out freely (they would be out of reach their family & family friends). It's not that i think this is bad technology, but its very ineffective (and users should be aware of that) and may encourage bad parenting (not letting the kids go out enough).

Re:So, Dr Elliott, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29489811)

this post touched me

Re:So, Dr Elliott, (2, Funny)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489835)

I'll pay you $20 million if we can settle this out of court!

Re:So, Dr Elliott, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29489865)

It touched my junk liberally.

We never needed them before (5, Insightful)

chetbox (1335617) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:We never needed them before (1)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489629)

This is the same era where "kid stealing car" results in people complaining about a video game, though. Parents are ineffective at their job and expect society to help them raise their little brat. When I used to work retail, you'd see no less than three kids wandering alone in the store. One time, there was a little girl wandering around alone ten minutes before the store closed. Parents are irresponsible nowadays, and when something goes wrong they are very quick to blame something or someone else.

Re:We never needed them before (1)

chetbox (1335617) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489881)

This may be true, but I don't think it should be up to society to correct the mistakes of incompetent parents.

Re:We never needed them before (4, Insightful)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489631)

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:We never needed them before (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29489893)

I believe it's called stranger fear.

Thanks to Oprah, Nancy Grace, CSI, Law & Order, etc., people think that the next stranger they meet is going to molest, maim, or kill them. It's often put up that a certain percentage of people are criminals, another figure are hardened criminals, you live within X feet from criminal Y in your neighborhood, there are some percentage (Z!) of criminals in the nearby city, etc.

This extends then to the precious ones, children.

It probably has some to do with the higher percentage of people living in cities these days and the mob mentality of the above, that someone somewhere is going to harm you (despite cities having a lower percentage by population crime rate than rural and suburban areas typically, just substantially more geographically dense because of the number of people packed on top of each other).

It also doesn't help that overt verbal racism (as opposed to cross burning and the such which is another level entirely) has gone to slightly less --instead of people yelling directly at individuals or families, you have your motorcycle gang or tuner buddies conspire to harass, throw trash on someone's yard, gun your engine all hours of the day in front their house, etc.

Surprisingly, this targets a general area versus a particular individual or family, and people feel less safe. This is similar to "crime watch" areas pretty much being a sign of "police don't care to come here so the neighbors have to watch and then call and hope the police show up at all, to hell with timely that would be godsend".

Remember, next time you're at a park, there's a good chance a criminal is watching you.

Re:We never needed them before (3, Insightful)

fiordhraoi (1097731) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489639)

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 it.

Re:We never needed them before (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489777)

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.

Re:We never needed them before (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489655)

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

Re:We never needed them before (1, Insightful)

zx75 (304335) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489693)

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 should need such a device with my daughter, but I can easily imagine plausible circumstances in which an urgent matter arises and such a device would be handy to have available if only to give me peace of mind. Because you are not going to be able to watch your children 24hours a day forever... it's part of growing up. And maybe instead of following them to school the first time that they walk "alone", I will make sure my daughter arrives safely by checking my iPhone from my living room.

Re:We never needed them before (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489727)

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.

Re:We never needed them before (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489779)

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 drowned in my ex-wife's pool when he was only five. If she had been even a little more attentive to him, that little boy would now be eight. But a GPS bracelet would not have helped in that situation, since she was in the house at the time but hadn't even bothered to secure the sliding glass door to the backyard. You can have all the technology in the world, but if someone isn't willing to do the simplest things then needless tragedies will still happen.

Re:We never needed them before (1)

aclarke (307017) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489931)

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.

Training (2, Insightful)

AlterRNow (1215236) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:Training (3, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489605)

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

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

Re:Training (2, Interesting)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489757)

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).

Interesting names (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29489563)

"The Telegraph reports that a new wristwatch called num8

Hopefully it teaches all of those eight year olds to be numb when it comes to privacy rights. (by the way, I'm not a big fan of the "minors do not have rights or freedoms" ideology. And also this is definitely a slippery slope.)

'Losing your child, if only for a brief moment, leads to a state of panic and makes parents feel powerless.

Thank goodness that constant surveillance would have no detrimental effect on a child.

The overriding aim of num8 is to give children their freedom and parents peace of mind,'

Isn't there some saying about trading one thing for another, and not deserving either?

Mixed emotions ... (1)

KindMind (897865) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489569)

I'm of mixed emotions on this one. As a parent (and grandparent), I like it, especially for small children. But as a privacy advocate, I feel appalled at yet another privacy invasion. Not to mention, if you can track your child, so can a pedophile (Think Of The Children!). I think the best use for this might be in a limited way, like in crowded places like parks, in case you get separated from your small child. That has happened to me, and that's scary enough.

Re:Mixed emotions ... (1)

sgbett (739519) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489717)

That's exactly how I feel. I have had lengthy debates with the childless about the pros of a such a device, whilst at being fully aware of the cons.

It seems to be though that unless you have a child you can't understand the strength of the emotional response that losing a child elicits - even if just for a second.

It's that response that will ensure, rightly or wrongly, that the device will sell.

Whilst it's great to advocate privacy, I think that the privacy you grant your child should be proportianate to the increased freedom and responsibilty that you are afforded as you grow older. Ther is no hard and fast answer, and it is a decision each parent makes.

Me, I'd go for it for the pre-teen years (rough guide). Until they are old enough to really start to understand and want privacy I don't see why privacy should be thrust upon them.

What's the privacy brigade think about Baby Monitors?

Re:Mixed emotions ... (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489787)

An easier solution for that scenario is a tag that beeps if the child exits a predetermined distance from another device. I believe those have been around for several years now.

Re:Mixed emotions ... (1)

KindMind (897865) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489869)

I don't think that's the answer, for two reasons: Being in a noisy place where the beep isn't heard, and it still doesn't answer the question "where".

Electronic child leashes (3, Insightful)

Zebedeu (739988) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Electronic child leashes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29489853)

Err...kids don't HAVE freedom. Not intrinsically, at least. You may GIVE them freedom, but YOU'RE the parent, and losing a child on your watch while "respecting their freedom" is an empty win. As the parent of 3 kids under 10, I understand the usefulness of a leash and the heartache it can help forestall.

Re:Electronic child leashes (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489873)

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 option.

Of course, the problems come when parents use the device as an electronic leash ala prison. It's no substitute for actual parenting. I don't think it's a win for society when kids who won't obey their parents are preserved beyond their common sense. But being a parent unfortunately does not imply much parenting.

For younger kids, what's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29489581)

Oh here we go! It's not tagging like you do serial offenders under house arrest FFS, it's simply asking them to be "tagged" while they out and about on their own. Obviously you wouldn't try to get your 14 year old to fall for it, but I can't see a problem with this for say 6-9 year olds, when they first start going out on their own with their friends. Yes, I grew up in the middle of nowhere, I was out playing in the streets until it got dark. I would always have to come home in time, I was always forced to tell my parents where I was going and who I was going with, I was always forced to take a few coins for the phone box ( which I usually spent in the local sweet shop 5 mins after being given the coins! ), I swear if my parents had access to something like this they would have made me wear it. I only got home late once and my old man went straight to my computer and cut the plug off, told me that I could have it back in 14 days time, if I behaved myself. I learned the value of timekeeping that first week!

A case of balance, you need to be a little paranoid about their welfare but not so overly paranoid they can't do anything for themselves. So long as you tell them what the watch does and why they need to wear it, what's the harm for those first few years.

battery lifetime (1)

Atreide (16473) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489585)

when the watch battery is dead
do you replace the watch ?
or do you replace the kid ?

you probably would rather replace parents

Re:battery lifetime (1)

twoshortplanks (124523) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489659)

You charge the watch after 100 hours according to the FAQ [lok8u.com]

So? (1, Interesting)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489593)

'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.

Re:So? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489683)

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?!?

Re:So? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489783)

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

A £150 watch is nothing..

Re:So? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489815)

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.

Re:So? (1)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489691)

So what's to lose?

Kids always feel their privacy is being invaded. For small children, yes the watch is a great idea. However, the families that would purchase such a watch to begin with will want to monitor their child all the way to 18. Meanwhile, the irresponsible parents that do frequently lose their kids in crowded areas won't bother buying such a watch. A lot of pre-teens and teenagers will not be so grateful when their parents start monitoring if they go to a party or not, or if they skip school. Yes, it's for their own good, but being social outcasted by your parents overbearing on you just leads to life being hell.

Whenever someone touts a child tracker, I immediately think of its' real purpose: tracking teenagers.

calc.exe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29489615)

design it to look like a calculator and kids won't want it off their wrist! And they'll know the exact cost of each gummy life savor in the 89c pack. hipsters

Tag chip (2, Insightful)

Chris_Mir (679740) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489617)

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.

Big Brother starts with you! (4, Insightful)

agnosticanarch (105861) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489619)

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... (4, Insightful)

the_fat_kid (1094399) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:please... (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489879)

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...

What TFA? (1)

koterica (981373) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489637)

The summary was so interesting that I clicked the link and actually read TFA. Unfortunately, the summary included basically the whole article, save for some useless details about the interface, and a tidbit about 'Safe Zones'.

Deeply troubling (3, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Deeply troubling (1)

MozzleyOne (1431919) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489825)

Maybe instead of having to use one of those ridiculous child leashes, they could now be replaced by a watch? When you take your kid to a crowded festival, you could enjoy the whole day rather than spending it panicking for 2 hours when your kid follows some other parent by mistake? I'm sure I can imagine other non-ridiculous benefits of this

Cell phone built-in? (1)

thetroll123 (744259) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489649)

What a crap article. GPS is a one-way technology. What does this thing actually DO? Is there a GSM transceiver in there too? A SIM card?

Re:Cell phone built-in? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489803)

Newspapers have had this wierd idea that GPS transmits back to the satellite for years. The unuquity of Satnav devices has not dented this belief.

I guess it's just a GSM phone + SIM card without any of the talk/data bits.

hm (1)

mestar (121800) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489657)

"overriding aim of num8 is to give children their freedom"

this does not pass the chuckle test.

or in other words, bwahahahahaa.

False Sense of Security? (1)

gurutc (613652) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489673)

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 Satellites to relay the position information. Low-end personal locators have very short battery life and generally provide hit-and-miss location tracking. I don't know how this kids-device communicates, but it seems to me that it can't have very good GPS-sensitivity, battery-life, or communications-power. I'd love to have one of these on my toddler when we go to the State Fair, or other crowded outdoor events, but I'd like to see an extensive test and review of any device like this before I add it to the tools I use to protect my child.

Uh oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29489677)

Cue pedophiles acquiring signal hacking skills so they can track underage targets in 3...2...

How is the alert and position sent? (2, Interesting)

twoshortplanks (124523) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489709)

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...

Another Case... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29489729)

Don't forget what happens when the techonology becomes exploited by the bad guys. Than you have predators and kidnappers knowing where your child is within 10ft. Bad Idea

satellite positioning system concealed inside? (1)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489735)

Really, how did they fit it all in there?

Not always paranoia (4, Insightful)

pvera (250260) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489767)

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.

He'll be alive and well but you... (1)

milosoftware (654147) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489859)

... 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.

hey mom, dad ... (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489781)

Hey mom, dad. Uncle Jack isn't so creepy after all. He's given me this lovely watch for my birthday....

tinfoil gloves (1)

dgcom (1149491) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489789)

Time to start selling tinfoil gloves in kid's sizes!

In two minds (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489797)

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 modified (or discarded altogether, to be truthful), and the technology is becoming available and more affordable, so there are going to be fewer reasons like cost to stand in the way. When trackers are $10 in K-Mart, who is NOT going to have one? I'd like to think I wouldn't on principle but what if nonces start targeting those without? You see how it starts?

Fear mongering (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489805)

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 somewhere in a hole would not stop them. Actually this would not stop them killing and abusing the child, which as far as I can tell happens relatively quickly from the few incident I remember of. It might help catch the bad guy quicker behind bar that is it. As for abuse, children abuse, as far as I can tell it is not a random stranger you should fear. It is the father, the mother, the uncle / tante, the brother/sister, the cousins and the direct neighbors.

Useless as a kick stand on a bass boat. (5, Insightful)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489819)

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.
 

hey look child abusers can now google their prey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29489841)

did i miss read the watch idea?

"feeling powerless"? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489843)

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...

Parental paranoia justified for disabled (1)

sawx (1641565) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489847)

My severely disabled child is now 8 years old, finally mobile, and very social. I see this type of product as an absolute necessity. I'm glad it is being developed for "typical" children so the price is not astronomical.

So many things wrong with this... (1)

shrtcircuit (936357) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489849)

Where to begin...

1. Constant track of your child's whereabouts, being sent to a corporate entity. Talk about the ultimate database of marketing data, and you know that'll be up for grabs.
2. ANY security flaws in their system open it up for a myriad of privacy violations. Not to mention, as someone else pointed out, it's an instant "find me a victim" site for a kidnapper/pedophile if they can access the information.
3. If you're like most parents, this is for that rare time the kid ISN'T with you for some reason. The rest of the time, it's really a way to track the parents to within 10 feet on Google Maps. You think that won't be profiled, purchased, and tied to something else?
4. Yeah hey, let's get our future criminals-to-be used to the idea of ankle bracelets. This is no different, you just don't get hunted by cops if you take it off (though the whole idea of it is so you can be hunted by cops easily).
5. Hey Parents - Try being a parent! It's an amazing concept that doesn't require electronic leashes, and actually teaches your kids things that will be useful in life beyond "nobody else trusts you, so you shouldn't trust anyone either".

If my kid one day gives me a reason to drop the e-Leash hammer, then so be it, but I'd like to think I will be a better parent in the meantime that it may not be necessary, rather than one of those dopes that watches their kid getting hauled off to jail wondering where it all went wrong.

One problem, and a (preexisting) solution (1)

pla (258480) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489851)

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...

So, how does...? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489871)

How exactly does tracking someone everywhere they go "increase their freedom"?

Moron's with PHD film at 11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29489877)

Dr Michele Elliott is a classic case of this. I believe in knowning where my child is but making her responsible for her decisions. You can only control kids so long before they have to stretch and try. At the same time we have to guide and show them so they are ready to make those correct decisions. Today's world has a large number of child predators and our crimmanl system is almost usless at this point for stopping them. I will protect whats mine to the fullest extent of my life. If more parents took responsiblity for there, and there childrens, actions this world wouldn't have half the problems it does. Instead we have the tv babysitter, the Video Game babysitter and the, its not my problem you should have done X aka the BLAME someone else babysitter.

Then and now (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489897)

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 reason.

And if there are truly increases in crimes against children, I would have to ask why. What is it about our society that is breeding this sort of thing with higher frequency? Is it Disney's fault for dressing little girls up in slutty outfits to make billions of dollars? Is it parents who put makeup on the faces of 5 year old girls to win beauty contests? Is it the lack of discipline that was in fashion some 20 to 30 years ago a contributing factor? I really don't know and would certainly be interested to know.

But why would GPS tracking devices on children be good? Is parental participation in the lives of the children really so difficult? Does it have to be made "too easy" because the parents can't pull themselves away from their video games? (I know some people like that and it's a sticking point with me) Being a parent is a full-time lifestyle choice. It means changing EVERYTHING about everything in your life. It means giving up a lot of time and other things and finding new joys with them. If people cannot do that, that's fine... just don't have kids. (I know, saying so is worthless... the smarter people already consider these things and then don't have kids... the less smart people keep having kids breeding a population of really stupid people.)

Or perhaps this is driven by something else? We do seem to have a "gotta know it now" sort of mentality these days. We turn to the internet for nearly everything these days including grocery shopping. Marketing this technology "for the children" could just be someone's idea of exploiting the worries of a few parents. Frankly, if I had some of these devices, I'd sooner put one in my luggage when I travel or on my car to track my mileage. But I don't think I would put them on children. If they are young enough to worry about, then they are young enough for me to BE THERE. And if they are teenagers, then I only have to say "nothing good can come of this." Can you imagine how much worse life would be if your teenage years were tracked by GPS?! Many of us complain all day long about "big brother" and here we are becoming big brother.

Good luck wit that (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489903)

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.

Way over engineered (1)

merky1 (83978) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489915)

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.

Off Topic Iraq (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#29489933)

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?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?