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Swedish Daycare Tracks Kids With GPS Devices

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the girl-who-kicked-the-reflective-vest dept.

Idle 125

An anonymous reader writes "A daycare center in Sweden is testing a new system for that will prevent missing children by placing GPS tracking devices on kids while they are outside of the confines of the nursery walls. The transmitters will report to a synced mobile phone, alarming teachers if a child moves out of a certain distance. The tracking devices clip easily to reflective vests that the children of the Malmoe daycare wear when outside of the school."

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Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37501776)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

A real problem? (1)

spooje (582773) | about 3 years ago | (#37501780)

Is a real problem for Swedish daycares? How many Swedish children go missing from daycare every year? Wouldn't it be more cost effective to, you know, hire attentive teachers to watch the kids in the first place so they don't escape?

Re:A real problem? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 years ago | (#37501808)

Attentive teachers cause recurring costs, GPS trackers only have a setup fee.

Re:A real problem? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37502254)

"The tracking devices clip easily to reflective vests..." therefore they unclip easily and can be left on the ground as someone grabs the kid and puts them into a van. Unless the collar is "locked" around the neck that kids are still going to be stolen.

Re:A real problem? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37502308)

"The tracking devices clip easily to reflective vests..." therefore they unclip easily and can be left on the ground as someone grabs the kid and puts them into a van. Unless the collar is "locked" around the neck that kids are still going to be stolen.

Uhm.. I don't know how things are where you live but as a Swede I find it waaaay more likely that the children might get lost in the woods on a field trip or similiar than someone trying to steal them for whatever purpose.

Re:A real problem? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37502424)

sounds like an easy target no one is looking for

Re:A real problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37503066)

"The tracking devices clip easily to reflective vests..." therefore they unclip easily and can be left on the ground as someone grabs the kid and puts them into a van. Unless the collar is "locked" around the neck that kids are still going to be stolen.

But it would be most economical to have the cheapest possible teachers and just leash all the kids to them.

Re:A real problem? (1)

ryocoon (2466182) | about 3 years ago | (#37503410)

I can suddenly see pictures of cheap-labor part-time teachers strangled or crushed to death by the twisting of all the leashes of dozens of children attached to them. Now then, what was this about cheap? I think those therapy bills and lawsuits will be huge.

Re:A real problem? (1)

Anonymus (2267354) | about 3 years ago | (#37504916)

The funny thing is that right now, children ARE leashed to the teachers, at least the last time I was in Stockholm. The lines of 5 year olds bundled in winter coats bigger than themselves standing are ridiculously cute.

Re:A real problem? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37503338)

Being Swedish, I can ensure you that kidnapping is not the major concern here. There is a big cultural difference between Sweden and USA regarding leaving your kids unattended, as seen here: http://news.yahoo.com/swedish-woman-left-baby-outside-restaurant-investigated-152033738.html [yahoo.com] . In this case, I think they just want to make sure the sure the children don't run away, as they are not staffed enough to keep track of all of them all the time.

Re:A real problem? (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 3 years ago | (#37503402)

Yeah, I'm thinking some kind of thick metal collar, with say, a lock that holds it on.

Something straight out movies depicting 16th and 17th prisons...

Re:A real problem? (1)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | about 3 years ago | (#37501810)

Wouldn't it be more cost effective to, you know, hire attentive teachers to watch the kids in the first place so they don't escape?

Are you seriously suggesting that there is some 'error-prone' people out there ? If you had 10 teachers per child you would still have a chance of one of them going missing. This one is a pretty good idea, when outside be sure to get a warning if a child is close to escaping...

Re:A real problem? (2)

myspys (204685) | about 3 years ago | (#37501826)

Malmö is the most crimeridden place is Sweden, which might explain this move

Re:A real problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37501866)

No, it has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Re:A real problem? (2)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | about 3 years ago | (#37501916)

How did my generation manage to grow up in the 70s and 80s without getting abducted every second day and constantly being ass-raped? I mean, we had no cell phones, no GPS - we should be dead by now, shouldn't we?

Re:A real problem? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 3 years ago | (#37502022)

Some of you are.

And that's only valid if the number of abductors and rapists hasn't increased. Hasn't it?

Re:A real problem? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 3 years ago | (#37502270)

And that's only valid if the number of abductors and rapists hasn't increased. Hasn't it?

Has it?

Re:A real problem? (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 3 years ago | (#37502350)

I agree with the other answer:
"Has it?"

Afaik things like murder supposedly haven't increased. I don't know about all crimes.

I don't really see how those kids being immigrants or Malmoe having a high crime rate matters much either. Kidnapped in the later case but how often do kids get kidnapped? Sure there's more immigrants there but do they walk away more than ancestral Swedish kids?

Re:A real problem? (1)

Carewolf (581105) | about 3 years ago | (#37502594)

Of course it hasn't increased. Crime-rate continues to go down, and are like always at the lowest point in the life-span of humanity. On top of that Sweden is a much more safe place than most countries.

Re:A real problem? (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 3 years ago | (#37503126)

Of course it hasn't increased. Crime-rate continues to go down, and are like always at the lowest point in the life-span of humanity. On top of that Sweden is a much more safe place than most countries.

Citation needed (on the first claim). And even with a citation, why expect reported crime rates to even correlate with the rate of committed crimes?

Re:A real problem? (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about 3 years ago | (#37503144)

Actually, not anymore. The FDA has recently announced that Swedes are toxic if ingested or inhaled, with an LD50 of 1.3 and 8.9 respectively.

Re:A real problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37504140)

Is there an ICD-10 code for that? Thats the problem with standards... out of date as soon as they're published.

Re:A real problem? (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | about 3 years ago | (#37502036)

Some of your generation were abducted and constantly ass-raped, you just don't know it because (I'm guessing) you were fortunate enough not to live in a place where it was common. Such things are more common in less privileged areas and among people who basically are isolated--repeat runaway teens are at high risk, for example. Look into reports on domestic human trafficking.

Re:A real problem? (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | about 3 years ago | (#37502408)

Sure - you are right on all accounts. Some of this generation will be abducted, too - but will putting them on a GPS leash change any of that? And even if, is it worth it to destroy every last bit of trust between parents and kids by constant monitoring?

Re:A real problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37502556)

You say that like the kids are going to give a shit that there's a little thingy attached to their vests. Small children are already used to being watched and monitored....they're small kids. It's what you're supposed to do with them.

Re:A real problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37502644)

Right. So let's teach them, from a very young age, that being constantly monitored by technology which is far more precise than a human is perfectly normal and "acceptable."

Re:A real problem? (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | about 3 years ago | (#37503630)

Since the article only referred to kids in daycare I'm guessing that these kids either don't know or care much. Think little kids.

Re:A real problem? (1)

migla (1099771) | about 3 years ago | (#37504664)

Exactly. They don't know, yet. So, we must make sure they learn to love Big Brother.

Re:A real problem? (1)

Anonymus (2267354) | about 3 years ago | (#37504938)

So 5 year olds should have the freedom to wander off and not be tracked? What the hell is wrong with you people?

Re:A real problem? (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 3 years ago | (#37505710)

Because way too many people are way too paranoid. Probably stems from watching too much Nancy Grace.

Re:A real problem? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 3 years ago | (#37502264)

Except that for an abductor it would be trivial to remove that GPS device. I'm sure if criminals had been the issue, they would not have made it public.

Re:A real problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37504108)

Exactly, this is not primarily to protect children from abductions.
Kids do tend to wander off and not find their own way back more often then they tend to be abducted.
They also get forgotten at museums or at playgrounds.

Re:A real problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37504620)

I can tell you, Malmö is a very safe place. Mind you, Scandinavia in general is, but you should go there. It's a very nice place. Clean and friendly and everything.

It's probably more because of the fear that the kids will run away, than it is the fear of criminals.

Re:A real problem? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 3 years ago | (#37501852)

You would have to hire one teacher per child, and handcuff each pair together, to solve the issue - so, are you willing to pay the full rate of that teacher for your child?

Shit happens, kids get out of your sight when you take your attention from then for a second or two, belt and braces sometimes simply costs too much for there to still be a viable service, so make your decisions... GPS or quite a few grand more per year for your solution?

Re:A real problem? (1)

GNious (953874) | about 3 years ago | (#37502622)

You would have to hire one teacher per child, and handcuff each pair together, to solve the issue

Simples: Daisy Chain! [wikipedia.org]

Re:A real problem? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 3 years ago | (#37502692)

The daycares I see usually use something like this rope with rings [lakeshorelearning.com] . Similar concept, but, not quite as bad.

Re:A real problem? (1)

bre_dnd (686663) | about 3 years ago | (#37501872)

Monthly salary for a teaching assistant in Sweden: 19 500 Swedish kronor = 2 835.456 U.S. dollars

(source: http://www.thelocal.se/discuss/index.php?showtopic=14142 [thelocal.se] )

Cost of GPS widget: 25 U.S. dollars

(source: http://www.focalprice.com/ERW21B/Mini_GPS_Personal_Locator_Tracking_Device_Black.html?utm_source=CS&utm_medium=GM_UK&utm_campaign=CS_GM_UK_ERW21B [focalprice.com] )

If it saves 2 hours a year per child (2835 / month ~= 100 a day ~= US$ 25 for 2 hrs) , it's worth it.

Re:A real problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37501964)

Teachers absolutely cannot keep track of all their students 100% of the time unless they have very few students (3-4) or their classroom is very rigid (like a grade school classroom) and the children have no opportunity to play or develop curiosity. I once watched a kid gather dozens of acorns from different locations around his classroom, taking them whenever other children lost interest, and stashing them in a hidden location under a slide, IIRC. Nobody but me had any idea what this kid was doing, or that he was doing anything at all--nobody paid him attention for those fifteen or twenty minutes because he was quiet while everyone else was loud. None of his teachers had a clue what he was doing or noticed that the number of acorns in the room gradually diminished at a rate of one or two per minute. Children can be surprisingly subtle.

It's good to have the responsibility of not depending on other people--but daycare is a little young for that to be a good reason to not use GPS. There is also the inherent distrust of authority--particularly teachers--that bright people often have, but when you're already trusting a teacher with your kid, a GPS is not what's going to determine whether your child is scarred or well-taught.

Human trafficking is also a problem in most countries, which is more pro-GPS, but again, day care is a little young for most of it (with some exceptions--look up the recent adoption scandal coming out of China, for example).

The "reflective vests" sounds cruel, though.

Re:A real problem? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 3 years ago | (#37502074)

Teachers absolutely cannot keep track of all their students 100% of the time

And sometimes GPS devices fail, I'm sure. It's almost as if there are probably no perfect solutions...

How did humanity ever survive without GPS?

Re:A real problem? (1)

aix tom (902140) | about 3 years ago | (#37503204)

Humanity didn't. It died out a few decades back. The only surviving remnant is human-shaped bickering scaredy-cats.

So the basic evolution was Homo Erectus -> Homo Sapiens -> Homo Ignavus

Re:A real problem? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 3 years ago | (#37502026)

I see you'e never looked after more than a couple of children at a time.

Don't let the shock of the real world overwhelm you though if you ever actually go outside.

While this seems like an overly precautionary stance to take, the idea that a teacher who loses a child from a class group is "inattentive" is simply disingenuous.

Re:A real problem? (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 3 years ago | (#37502088)

Or use old tech, you know, called 'a fence' which doesn't need batteries and it also keeps the pervs out.

Re:A real problem? (1)

Thiez (1281866) | about 3 years ago | (#37502638)

So you would prefer to be imprisoned rather than wear a tracking device?

Re:A real problem? (1)

Anonymus (2267354) | about 3 years ago | (#37504958)

That's a great idea, we'll build the fence on wheels so that when the class goes into public (like the entire point of this article) it can follow them around.

Re:A real problem? (1)

bakuun (976228) | about 3 years ago | (#37502300)

It's really meant to be an additional safety net when groups with young children are out on excursions, e.g. in the forest. Such groups would have a number of adult daycare staff along and the risk that a child would wander off without anybody noticing is very small, but the consequences if it happens could be large. It has happened before, with tragic consequences, both in Sweden and elsewhere. A transmitter, attached to the reflective vest that the child wears (while these transmitters are only tested in very few schools, the use of vests is very common), with an associated mobile application for the staff, could potentially help. It could combine an alarm (if the distance to any of the children was too large), with a method of finding the child again. I'm all for some kind of system, if it is financially and technically viable. Particularly when it comes to the technical aspects, I'm a bit doubtful at the moment, though - GPS devices tend not to perform so great in heavy forests, which is the type of environment that this would be mostly needed for.

Re:A real problem? (2)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 3 years ago | (#37502354)

In theory that's a good idea. How do you judge an attentive teacher? By the number of kids they've lost.? 1-5 means attentive, 6-10 means poor 10+ don't hire?

My mother ran a large daycare in the 80s. She gave it up when one toddler was brought in from the parking lot by some parents coming to pick up their kid. Nothing bad happened but it very well could have. She was not willing to risk it from then on. No matter how good you think those teachers are you just don't know.

Re:A real problem? (1)

Carewolf (581105) | about 3 years ago | (#37502580)

No, it is not a real problem.

They are just ehm.. "thinking of the children"..

Re:A real problem? (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 3 years ago | (#37505420)

Kids move quickly, are quiet, and devious. While an "attentive" teacher is distracted by one or some, others may act.

Track 'em and don't pretend there's a reason not to.

Lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37501782)

There are no swedes in malmoe

Are the kids on parole? (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 3 years ago | (#37501806)

GPS is going a little far

Re:Are the kids on parole? (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37501844)

I don't personally see any issue with it, provided that they're still being looked after and the devices are removed when they go home. It's not just children walking off, it's the one offs that nobody sees coming.

The main concern I would have would be complacency that can come from having a back up.

Personally, I'd be fine with this if I had kids in daycare.

Re:Are the kids on parole? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37501918)

At daycare ages, any measure that keeps them safe (we are talking about small fragile animals with absolutely no survival sense but a very high replacement cost) is going to trump non-existent privacy concerns. I wouldn't be surprised if parents buy the devices for home use after the next high profile child abduction case happens.

Re:Are the kids on parole? (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 3 years ago | (#37501936)

If I am in charge of, and responsible for, another persons child - you can bet your fucking arse I am going to use every means possible to ensure that my own arse is not on the line for losing that child.

Children wander off - take your eye off them for a second and they are gone, they are worse than cats in that regard. And if they wander off, they can become vulnerable. Every child care place I know of have bars or very high walls around the play grounds, tightly securable windows, and double security doors on the entrances - not to mention all of the CCTV in place. Why do they have this? Because losing a child in your care is a serious issue, with potentially criminal consequences.

GPSing the kids? What are the actual downsides? Really, what are they? Tracking where the kid goes is an invasion of their privacy? Well you should be doing that anyway, GPS just helps you do that.

Re:Are the kids on parole? (1)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | about 3 years ago | (#37502120)

If I am in charge of, and responsible for, another persons child - you can bet your fucking arse I am going to use every means possible to ensure that my own arse is not on the line for losing that child.

Children wander off - take your eye off them for a second and they are gone, they are worse than cats in that regard. And if they wander off, they can become vulnerable. Every child care place I know of have bars or very high walls around the play grounds, tightly securable windows, and double security doors on the entrances - not to mention all of the CCTV in place. Why do they have this? Because losing a child in your care is a serious issue, with potentially criminal consequences.

GPSing the kids? What are the actual downsides? Really, what are they? Tracking where the kid goes is an invasion of their privacy? Well you should be doing that anyway, GPS just helps you do that.

I do not want to live where you live... Admittedly it's been more than two decades since I was in daycare, but all we had were low gates that were difficult for small children to open, and I haven't seen any daycare centers that look like prisons yet in Sweden thankfully...

Re:Are the kids on parole? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37502320)

This is just a luddite attitude, these kids are obviously not in prison and GPS =/=> prison in any way.

Re:Are the kids on parole? (1)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | about 3 years ago | (#37505786)

No I'm not referring to the GPS, I'm referring to the high-fence walls around playgrounds, constant CCTV, double security gates that Richard_at_work referred to, we just don't have that in Sweden and I hope our society will never be so paranoid as to want something like that.
From what I understand this is a daycare where the kids are pretty much always out in nature, then I can understand the need for a GPS, but in general it does seem like overkill. The buddy system combined with a sufficient number of attentive teachers worked fine when I was a kid, we didn't even have those ridiculous bright green reflective vests they always seem to use now and we were fine.

Re:Are the kids on parole? (1)

clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) | about 3 years ago | (#37502550)

What are the actual downsides? Really, what are they?

Nothing conjures up cost-is-no-object solutions like a high-impact threat to a three year old. The unspoken "cost," of course, is that our children are growing up in a climate of fear: They spend more time sitting indoors or being hovered over by helicopter parents ... but they are "safe" ... and putting on weight ... and failing to develop healthy social, physical, and problem-solving skills.

Safety isn't as safe as we think it is.

Re:Are the kids on parole? (1)

Eivind (15695) | about 3 years ago | (#37502714)

And while on the order of 0.2 kids/year end up dead as a result of wandering off from childcare, 20% of all deaths are caused by insufficient physical activity.

Re:Are the kids on parole? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 3 years ago | (#37504112)

So the GPS kills two birds with one stone. The kids are easy to find if you do lose one and it's a lot easier to take them outside to play.

A little GPS tag isn't a climate of fear either. It's not an antikidnapping measure or anything silly like that.

Re:Are the kids on parole? (1)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | about 3 years ago | (#37503014)

The unspoken "cost," of course, is that our children are growing up in a climate of fear: They spend more time sitting indoors or being hovered over by helicopter parents ... but they are "safe" ... and putting on weight ... and failing to develop healthy social, physical, and problem-solving skills.

Ironically, at least taking your persthe GPS devices might help in this regard. It wouldn't interfere with their behavior but it would alert the adults if they wandered off too far. It actually makes it easier and safer to let kids play outside and do their own thing.

Re:Are the kids on parole? (1)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | about 3 years ago | (#37503044)

The stupid slashdot editor previewed one thing and posted another. Sorry for the jumbled first sentence.

Re:Are the kids on parole? (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about 3 years ago | (#37505572)

The unspoken "cost," of course, is that our children are growing up in a climate of fear: They spend more time sitting indoors or being hovered over by helicopter parents ... but they are "safe" ... and putting on weight ... and failing to develop healthy social, physical, and problem-solving skills.

Perhaps the benefit of GPS trackers would be that we could then relax the other, more stifling measures a bit. For example, if you know you can instantly locate your kids at any time, you might be less reluctant to let them play outside.

Re:Are the kids on parole? (1)

tftp (111690) | about 3 years ago | (#37506036)

The unspoken "cost," of course, is that our children are growing up in a climate of fear: They spend more time sitting indoors or being hovered over by helicopter parents

Well, the "good old" method, so popular 200-300 years ago, was that a peasant family makes 5 to 10 children, and if one or two die (as they were likely to, for various reasons) then it was just God's will and nothing could be done about it, and nobody would be overly concerned.

Can you sell an idea today that a child could wander off, fall into an underground tunnel and die - and that would be just about normal? If such a thing happens lawsuits will fly and the police will arrest a bunch of people.

I don't like the @children=("cattle","pets"); approach any more than you do, but that's how it is today. The old way had other socially beneficial side effects - the Darwin's Award was issued early and often. The price for that was higher attrition.

Re:Are the kids on parole? (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 3 years ago | (#37505834)

When you gonna let the kids grow up my paranoid friend?

Life isn't safe, never was. Too many people think that abductions and abuse is something invented in the 80's or 90's, but its been around forever.

I see the results of this over protection every day. Young people who don't know how to act after they get away from home in college. Acting out in a way that they should have done when they were 14 or 15. Why? because their parents, as part of keeping them safe, didn't give them a free moment, let them have as little unsupervised time as possible. So what we get are adult children, who are trying to grow up long after they should have.

The problem with "safety" is that there is never enough. It's why gym classes are banning dodgeball. You could probably eliminate more injuries and deaths by not allowing recess and keeping the kids off of playground swings. If they get too antsy because of lack of exercise, we can trank them up. Hell, probably half the children in my son's class were on Ritalin. But safety first, I guess.

But the biggest canard in people's arguments fir gps, and I think yours, is that it won't help a thing from the safety standpoint. All it does is transfer responsibility. Now instead of blaming the teacher, we'll be filing lawsuits over dead batteries, false alarm rates will make for panics, because gps isn't always exact.

Now - if you want something that will both help keep the kids safer, if they get lost or something like that. Get them a little gps transponder that they can control. If the little one becomes lost, they flip the switch, and the teacher's unit gives a little beep, and they can locate them. This will put the decision upon the child, a little responsibility that is sorely lacking in the maturing process at present. The training for the children can be a fun game for them. And after the games, which can be ongoing, then they know how it will work, and will be less tempted to "cry wolf".

They won't work at all for abductions though. That's a non starter.

Re:Are the kids on parole? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 3 years ago | (#37504084)

No. They're in jail. They're not allowed to leave.

Backfire (0)

Windwraith (932426) | about 3 years ago | (#37501828)

Because monitoring every move of a kid can not backfire in any conceivable way. Right...
Isn't this whole tracking people thing going a bit too far already?

Re:Backfire (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 3 years ago | (#37502044)

Kids in daycare were already supposed to be monitored constantly. Adding the GPS just prevents human error.

Re:Backfire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37502616)

No, it doesn't, and that thought is one reason this is a bad idea.

When I was a kid... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37501834)

... I had a dog tag. So if found, returning to parents would be easy. It did get returned, found in a bush.

Personally I'm not against using technology for this. It does bring risks, and those must be dealt with properly. For example, like you can already "wardrive" around for wireless CCTV cams broadcasting their picture around, one could perhaps hijack these devices. The usual assumption is that this security thing has been taken care of properly, it's on the market, innit? But that usually isn't true at all, and very few people bother to look into it. After that you get into the usual hyped "IT security" culture of fear that isn't helping much.

We're also descending into a culture of overzealous security, like how every kid now wears eyesearing yellow or awful orange jackets "when outside". Wouldn't be surprised if we'll find that 20 years down the road they've developed deficiencies like not being able to timely spot moving objects on the road unless clad in hi-glow colours like that. Yes, I'm speculating, but that's not the point. The point is that you can definitely overdo this "security" thing, and heck it might cause the adults on overwatch to grow lazy and not spot it should kids ditch the jacket and bugger off.

And, of course, they'll have to grow up sometime. This "security fears" thinking might impair and impede grownups letting go and allowing the kids to become responsible adults themselves. That's the real, long-term danger of the "think of the childrun" mantra, and it's a risk here, too. Have they thought about that? Thought not.

Re:When I was a kid... (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37501850)

The problem with dog tags and bracelets is that they only work if the child is found by somebody. These sorts of GPS devices allow you to find the child. They aren't perfect, but they do greatly reduce the search area if a child goes missing. They can be fooled or removed, but they're still quite a bit more likely to result in a child being found in good condition.

Re:When I was a kid... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 3 years ago | (#37502370)

... I had a dog tag.

That's why I recommend dog leashes for kids instead. Put a big stake in the middle of the schoolyard and tie 'em all up. Use bungee jumping cable, so they can slingshot and slam each other around a bit.

It's a bit of a pain untangling them after playtime, though.

Track Times! (1)

TheMiddleRoad (1153113) | about 3 years ago | (#37501876)

Now you can finally know who is the fastest around the playground tricycle track!

Unfortunately not a new thing (1)

BetterThanCaesar (625636) | about 3 years ago | (#37501912)

It's not just one preschool, but over a hundred, and it's been going on for at least a couple of years. This is just one school that's testing it. The Data Inspection Board (Datainspektionen) is investigating whether it complies with Swedish privacy laws.

The general reaction to this among the Swedish public (as I gather from papers and other forums) is that the real problem is that there are too few teachers per child in daycare, and many don't like it, although some do see it somewhat safer than just relying on teachers counting the kids.

Re:Unfortunately not a new thing (1)

danomac (1032160) | about 3 years ago | (#37502788)

Wouldn't that also mean others (i.e. other than the daycare staff) would/could know the location of the kids if they left the daycare? I can't see how that could be considered a good idea.

If staffing is that short they have to add new staff. Technology can't solve all problems.

Re:Unfortunately not a new thing (1)

hb79 (917595) | about 3 years ago | (#37503146)

> Wouldn't that also mean others would/could know the location of the kids if they left the daycare?

Yes, without the GPS trackers, these kids are as undetectable as a Desert Storm unit. In fact, they are so quiet and stealthy that you can hardly notice them before you step on one.

But seriously, it sounds like you have a bit too much "think of the children" and "be afraid of the pedofiles" on your brain to be healthy. There are no monsters lurking in the bushes, or white vans driving around to snatch your kids.

We all grew up just fine, and so will these kids.

Re:Unfortunately not a new thing (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 3 years ago | (#37504118)

Presumably they're not allowed to take their stylish reflective orange vests home with them.

Re:Unfortunately not a new thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37504494)

Technology can't solve all problems.

So far, it's doing better than religion and wishful thinking.

Easily (1)

SEWilco (27983) | about 3 years ago | (#37501930)

Do the devices unclip easily?

Re:Easily (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | about 3 years ago | (#37502100)

Do the devices unclip easily?

Predobear wants more info on lola-locators...

What's the threat model? (1)

nickovs (115935) | about 3 years ago | (#37501950)

When you're building any sort of security system the very first thing you need to do is decide what your threat model is. Then when you think about a solution you need to assess it against that model to see how it performs. If the threat here is kidnapping, the solution is useless since the bad guys will remove the tag. This solution is only ever going to help against "wandering" kids, but if the teachers think that the kids can't wander off then they are likely to pay less attention, which is means the kids will be at greater risk of injury from all sort of other things that the teachers would have spotted. The system almost certainly puts kids at greater risk than before.

no, it's the business model (1)

fantomas (94850) | about 3 years ago | (#37502042)

It's not the threat model, it's the business model that drives it. Parents are nervous people: the most precious thing in the world is their child. People generally overrate the threat of serious crime/ abduction. So if you can announce that your kindergarten not only has lots of lovely high trained staff *but also* shiny technology to protect the precious children, then you might get more parents sending their children to your kindergarten rather than the one down the road.

For the kindergarten it is a cost-benefit analysis and they've decided spending some money on tech will bring in more kids which will make more money.

Re:no, it's the business model (1)

GNious (953874) | about 3 years ago | (#37502676)

I got a mental image while reading your post: Automated foam-missile turrets of the office-toys type, with the missiles replaced with tazers - brand new child-protection effort to show we take security serious. For some reason, those super-imposed on the memory of the daycare my first-born went to, did not scare/concern me....

Re:What's the threat model? (1)

bakuun (976228) | about 3 years ago | (#37502330)

They are certainly not meant to protect against kidnapping, but rather against children wandering off during excursions. I don't think any staff would somehow get the idea that the children now "can't wander off" any longer. It's just another layer to the safety net.

FAIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37501986)

How hard is it to take the gps off the kid

Re:FAIL (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 3 years ago | (#37502440)

Children who just walk away without explicitly planning to (which I'm sure will be the absolutely most common case) most likely will not remove the GPS. Of course, given that the GPS is mounted on a reflective jacket, it would mean that if a child removes the reflective jacket for whatever reason (e.g. because of feeling hot after running around), the GPS will be removed as well.

Re:FAIL (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about 3 years ago | (#37505582)

Of course, given that the GPS is mounted on a reflective jacket, it would mean that if a child removes the reflective jacket for whatever reason (e.g. because of feeling hot after running around), the GPS will be removed as well./quote.

True that. A more robust implementation would permanently embed the GPS tracker device into sole of the child's shoe, and recharge its battery by capturing energy from acceleration/deceleration.

Pedobear 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37501990)

Take off the clip.

A special kind of daycare (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37502018)

Saw this on the news a day or two ago.
It's worth noting that this daycare is a kind of all-weather-daycare, ie. outside activities the entire day, every day. Keeping track of kids in the forrest is not the same as regular daycare. The GPS beeps and warns when a kid goes outside the geo fence, and apparently the teachers felt that it was a second layer of security besides constantly counting kids, wich is what they are doing atm.

I'm visualizing Space Marines (1)

xclr8r (658786) | about 3 years ago | (#37502160)

From Aliens... "Man their all around us but I don't see them! We're surrounded!!" Marines then think to look up. Children with acid for drool start dropping from the ceiling and chasing the daycare marines.

Re:I'm visualizing Space Marines (1)

xclr8r (658786) | about 3 years ago | (#37502172)

they're not their.. and yes I know that the Aliens Space Marines were not using gps.

Whistler Ski School (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37502290)

I work for Whistler Blackcomb ski resort in Whistler, British Columbia. We've been using a GPS system to track kids in Ski School since 2009. I don't work in Ski School myself, but this is a massive resort and its incredibly easy for experienced riders to get seperated from there group. So as an instructor I imagine that despite your best efforts to keep your group together, if a student (kids as young as 5) got seperated from the group being able to call into dispatch and get a location would be a pretty huge advantage.

http://www.flaik.com/

Not a big deal!!! (3, Informative)

lavagolemking (1352431) | about 3 years ago | (#37502792)

FTA:

The system is not in anyway meant to replace teachers or aids, but to simply enhance their watchful eyes and increase safety. Although it cannot prevent a child from running off, it can provide an alert to chaperones, who are outnumbered by their students.

I am the last person to defend GPS technology, or any of this other Orwellian bullshit that seems to be the norm, but this is a non-story loaded with buzzwords that the submitter knew would immediately rile us up (it was enough to get me to RTFA, at least...). The technology is being used to supplement the daycare staff's supervision, and alert them early on when a child takes off. This clip-on is not going to prevent the child from intentionally running off, and an abductor will just remove it (if he's not an idiot as some are). However, if the child wanders off -- which believe me it happens all the time -- they can find him/her more quickly and not risk another child getting lost in the time spend looking for the first one.

Looking after maybe 1 or 2 children and this is going to happen sometimes. Looking after several dozen and this kind of solution seems practical. It's not like they're implanting something in the children to monitor their every move at home or initiate them into our totalitarian surveillance state of fear or what have you. Yes it has controversies (what is the GPS company going to do with the data? how hard would it be for some predator to intercept the data stream?), but not on the scale that the submitter has everyone worried about. Congratulations, you all have been trolled.

Re:Not a big deal!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37503494)

All you've said in the above is true. But it still conditions the children to believe that constant electronic surveillance by authority figures is normal.

Re:Not a big deal!!! (1)

voss (52565) | about 3 years ago | (#37504070)

These are kids who are one to 6 years old. They dont know anything about electronic surveillance. Even at the kindergarten level (age 5-6) they dont know the difference between games that are online and games that are offline. At this age they expect an adults to always be around and often will be very upset if they are not. In any event this system merely tells you were the child is not what the child is doing,etc,etc. Furthermore this is being done with the parents consent.

Re:Not a big deal!!! (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 3 years ago | (#37504142)

Come on. Don't tell them the little clip is a GPS. And it's not constant anyway.

I suppose ordinary supervison conditions them to believe that constant surveillance by authority figures is normal.

Re:Not a big deal!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37503816)

Congratulations, you all have been trolled.

Isn't that Slashdot's core business?

Link is to a ad-heavy scraper site (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about 3 years ago | (#37502984)

The article link is to a scraper site that runs most of the major ad networks, from Amazon to DoubleClick to Fox. Slashdot's "editors" have been had. Again.

The article was scraped from Physorg, which scraped it from Google News, which obtained it from Agence France-Presse. [google.com]

This is a commercial product called "ChildChecker", from Purple Scout. [purplescout.com]

I'd use it on my kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37503618)

I've thought about tracking kids before and I've always wondered if such a system exists on the market. I don't have kids but I've been responsible for my niece at times. When she's out playing with her friends I sometimes worry that something might've happened to her or maybe she has wandered off too far. I'd be interested to know where they got such a system (preferably at a reasonable price).

On a side note, some guy came by the house the other day looking for his little sister. I reckon he could've used this system.

Re:I'd use it on my kids (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 3 years ago | (#37504146)

Just build yourself a cat tracker. They're a famous DIY electronics project. As a bonus, when your niece isn't around you can track your cat. It really is interesting to see where they go (just not in real time).

REFLECTIVE VESTS!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37505212)

WTF? WHY reflective vests?? That makes no sense. Is it really that dark in Sweden due to its longitude that kids need reflective vests?? I assume they only have school/daycare during the day....

hmmm

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