Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Would you GPS your kid?

A while back I thought I had a great idea. I would create a line of kids shoes that came with GPS tracking devices built into the soles. I would add in a couple of fun features for the parents like a pedometer so they could see how many miles those little feet can log in a day. But the core reason for buying the shoes would be to find their kid fast if they ever got lost. It would be insurance for one of parents' greatest fears. Like most of my brilliant ideas, this one was already taken to some extent.

None of the current players execute to my creative level (at least in my mind), but there are several companies that are making tracking devices for kids. Some just go in a pocket, while others strap onto shoelaces. Many use RF technology to communicate back to a hub device held by a parent. If the kid gets too far away from the hub, an alarm sounds. A quick search on Google or Amazon will bring up plenty of options that range from $50 bucks to hundreds of dollars.

Another option is to give your kid a smartphone. For example my wife and I were connected to each other through Google Latitude. She could see where I was on a map at all times, which came in handy when I was traveling and she just wanted to see how close I was to getting home. The same premise could work with tracking your kid. Give them a phone and setup Google Latitude.

So what do you think of tracking your kids? When discussing tracking with people I have received a wide range of reactions. Some think it is cool while others think it is creepy—but many simply have questions. Do privacy policies apply? Is it OK to put a GPS unit in your 5 year old's shoes? How about your 16 year old's? What about 14? Where would you draw the line? Would a tracking device instill a false sense of security and result in being less attentive?

To answer these I would ask our readers to chime in. What are your thoughts on using a tracking device to monitor your children? Have you tried one? What was your experience like? Would you recommend it to a friend?

Please let us know in the comments.
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