It’s the new and improved leash. For parents who once found it necessary to literally attach their kid to their hip (or wrist) with the velcroed harness…some new devices have been developed to enable these overly protective parents to keep their eyes on their slightly older kids.
Disney mobile (is it that surprising that Disney has expanded to the mobile game?) has come up with a device that tracks your kid using their cellphone. They call it the *family locator* (oh good, so you can keep tabs on your spouse too!) and it uses GPS technology to keep everyone connected.
At first glance it seems win/win. The kid gets a cellphone far earlier than they actually need a cellphone, and the parents get to know exactly where their kid is at all times they are away from them. But is that really what we want? To literally know where our kids/partner/family is at all times? What happened to independence? Trust?
The obvious reason that this phone makes sense is the one no one wants to think about…missing kids. In this instance, it would be amazing to have the technology to track your kid down if they are lost, say at Disneyland, or so much worse, snatched. The push of a button tells you, or the authorities, exactly where your little one is and the GPS phone might actually save a life. That is, if Junior still has the phone on them during the incident….and if the battery is charged. 😐
Hopefully no parent has to go through losing their child, and most won’t, so beyond the little used emergency/safety features of the phone, the other issue is teaching trust and independence to your kids (oh yeah, and coming to the realization that 7 year-olds don’t need cellphones!!) My mother was fairly over-protective. And when I say fairly, I mean REALLY, REALLY. But even so, she allowed me to push boundaries and make mistakes along the way…sometimes. Looking back, it seems that the times that she was most lenient and trusting were the times I that I didn’t break her trust. Go figure.
If we try to stay on top of their every move, will it just make the kids more creative at coming up with stories for why they are late or where they were and with who? Kids will be kids, and they need to discover the world on their terms, not when their parents are ready to let go.
GPSing a restaurant is great. GPSing people…I’m not sure I’m cool with that. Not yet, anyway.