Tracking Your Children

I read an article recently about various software programmes that can track where your children are. But, has it all gone too far?




The author of the article I read had a teenage daughter, and he would get regular updates about where she was.

His phone would receive a message telling him when she had arrived at school, where she was in town and presumably if she had used the public loo. As a parent, I'm not sure I'd want this level of detail.

Out of range

Until recently I was not a fan of this technology. Years ago, my husband worked on developing a monitor that could be strapped on to a child and would alert you when they went out of range.

I was confused because as a mother the idea of my child 'going out of range' was inconceivable. What were we talking here - feet, metres, miles? Apparently it was to give a child a sense of freedom whilst giving you, as a parent, peace of mind.

All my mind did was boggle at the various doomsday scenarios. For example, by the time the child went out of range, how long would it take to run and get him before he was snatched, hit by a car, or stealing from the local sweet shop? 

A life-saver?

A recent event makes me think that this GPS tracking wouldn't be such a bad thing. A 16 year old that we know went skiing with his Dad and some friends over New Year; after a drunken night out, he got lost going back to his hotel and was found six hours later in the snow with barely a pulse.

Unbelievably, he has lived to tell the tale, but I read in the papers about another teenager in a different resort who wasn't so lucky.

If they had the tracking technology, presumably such scenarios would be a thing of the past. Although most teenage boys are so savvy when it comes to technology that they would probably know exactly how to disable the device.

Times are changing

I think back to when I was a teenager: our parents didn't have any such technology and we didn't have mobile phones. You would simply be told what time to be home, and if you weren't, then there was hell to pay.

I now dread to think what torment I put my mum through when I didn't return at the allotted time on not one but many, many occasions. Maybe that's why her hair suddenly turned grey just as I found my freedom.

Neither of my sons have phones, but my eldest has an iPad. We don't even let him send texts on it. I've disabled messages, or so I thought. Somehow he has managed to get round this, as I discovered the other day.

A rude interruption

I was working at my home office, when a text came through from my husband. It read "Pick me up." Not even going into the rudeness of this request, I texted back to remind my 'dear' husband that he had his car at the station and didn't need me to pick him up. The reply came back "Now."

By this stage, I'm pretty incandescent and imagining that he has had (another) boozy lunch and can't speak - let alone drive. Just as I was about to pick up the phone to my 'dear' husband and give him what for, another text came through saying "Mum, I'm waiting and it's cold."

Somehow my son had managed to hack into my husband's phone and use it to send texts from his iPad. Genius.

But the point was that I actually had no idea that he had arrived back at school early from a rugby match, and that he was standing in the cold waiting to be collected. A tracking system would have told me that.

Maybe it is time to give him his own phone. And teach him to say "please" and "thank you."

Amanda Coxen, Working Mum and Tinies Director

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