Helicopter parenting just got a new boost with the launching of a kid’s wristwatch with a GPS chip at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. No more waiting for the phone call from a friend’s house, or calling your child’s cellphone to find it switched off — the Num8 watch from British company Lok8u constantly keeps tabs on Jack or Olivia’s location. It is accurate to within three metres and beams information back to Num8’s website for monitoring. Relatives can receive text messages about the watch’s location direct from the device, pinpointing the street address of their youngster at the touch of a button. A snip at only £149 (US$220).

But what if the kid has taken it off or had it stolen? In such cases the system trips an alarm, sending an alert to the mobile phone of a parent — or an email, in case a parent happens to be sitting in front of a computer. Even going indoors cannot completely bypass the tracking system — one of many gadgets exhibited at the CES show and targeted at families.
Lok8u’s CEO Steve Salmon says he hopes the device would be used as a way to give children more freedom, rather than restricting them or promoting lazy parenting. He points out that “only 20 per cent of children are now allowed to go out and play. It’s my profound hope that Num8 will help parents feel more comfortable about letting their children go out and play.”

Hmmm. Wouldn’t it be better to develop trust between you and your child, and a sense of responsibility in them about where they go and who with, rather than turning them into the equivalent of convicts on home detention? ~ Guardian (UK), Jan 12

 

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet