Friday, November 23, 2007

RM column November 9th - Big Mother is Watching

RM column November 9th - Big Mother is Watching

Imagine being able to log onto your computer at any time and being able to pin point the exact location of your child? While this type of technology is something we have heard of before using mobile phones; apparently in the States (I won’t say where else?) parents are doing just that.

Only they are not using mobile phones, these global positioning systems (GPS) are being sold by a company and are sewn inconspicuously into the lining of a jacket. Costing about $500 initially and an additional $20 a month, the jackets enable parents to track the child all day long.

Sounds fair enough if you are into that kind of thing. Luckily most times I don’t really worry about where the Young Wan is, she is not out and about with pals in the evening and most weekends are spent with me.

However there is a little part of me thinking that it could be useful when she runs to the supermarket for dinner and takes an age. I have my suspicious that she dawdles and this little device could prove me right.

Course I could just follow her down if I was really suspicious or indeed I could just run to the shops myself. So I can’t see a use for it for me, if indeed I even wanted to track my daughter down like a criminal.

But in fairness I can understand why some parents would resort to these tactics and I certainly would not judge them for doing so.

What if your child is having a rebellious phase where they are running amuck and you are reaching the end of your tether. With the jacket at least you can know where they are and take things from there.

The system also has a geofencing service where parents are notified if the child crosses beyond a circumscribed area.

All this certainly won’t solve the problems between the teenagers and their parents but you will know where they are.

Course that is providing they actually like the jacket, will wear it and won’t leave it behind them in school or a pal’s house! Getting a teenager to wear a coat you have picked out is not as easy as it might appear. The amount of clothes I think the Young Wan will like are quite often met with complete and utter distain and a look that tells me she thinks I haven’t a clue.

Never mind the fact that unless something is nailed to herself she is quite likely to lose it. By October the Young Wan was already on her second school coat. All the kids in the school have to wear the same coat. Robbed coats and mistakenly taken coats are part and parcel of school life, or at least so it seems for the Young Wan.

Can you imagine the readings the GPS would give you there? The robbed/mistakenly taken coat could be on a bus to town and you are watching this wondering why on earth your teenager is going into town, when they told you they are heading straight home. Only it is not your teenager it is another child.

I can appreciate the fear that parents feel and the need to protect our children I just don’t know if this is the way to do it. What do you think?


Grannymar said...

As children develop we are supposedly preparing them for the big wide world ahead. We have to give them some space to grow.
Today the world has many dangers out there that were not around when my Elly was young. Rearing her in a small town was also a help. I did my share of worrying but hopefully I loosened the cord sufficiently to let her become independent.

The hardest thing parents have to do is allow their children to make mistakes.

The Distant Rambler said...

Having read your blog for quite a while now I think the Young Wan is a very sensible one. And of course you want to protect her but this seems to take it a little far.And given the Young Wan's record on the coats front it may prove expensive. Great blog.

Caoimhin said...

That device woould make it a lot easier to track down a missing coat! Now if they installed a speaker in the gadget whereby you could tell them to hurry home with the shopping they'd be on to a winner! ;)

Red Mum said...

GrannyMar: I agree letting them make mistakes is soo hard. What can you do except let them make them...

Distant Rambler: I wouldn't do this or go this far, though I would be tempted at times ;)

Caoimhin: mmmhh tracking devices on things could seriously work here, could also work out very expensive too. But if it means I can find my things misplaced by herself....