Is there really a need to tag a child with a GPS watch? Well it seems that every day in the press there’s more news about murderers, rapists and generally bad people and although you’d have a case in saying that a lot of this is just scaremongering, the fact that the streets are more dangerous than they ‘used to be’ is one that you’d struggle to deny.
So parents today are faced with the dilemma of either letting their children out to the mercy of the outside world, or restrict their freedom and keep them under tabs neither of which are in any way beneficial to the children in question… and that’s where a Children’s GPS Tracking Watch can come in useful.
This particular one is called the “Lok8u num8 Kids GPS Watch”, named in that irritating text-speak fashion that apparently all children use and makes everything hard to read (for those less proficient Lok8u means “Locate you” and num8 means “new mate”) this new ‘gadget’ is essentially a tracking tag under the guise of a children’s watch — and really it’s not all that different to those GPS tracking system ankle bracelets/tags worn by criminals which raises quite a few moral questions…
But firstly what does it do? Obviously it is a watch which… er… tells the time, but that’s really just a way of disguising the GPS tracker/locator that’s hidden beneath the garishly coloured exterior (which helps make it look like a normal cheap digital watch). With a pretty impressive and totally appropriate accuracy of up to 3 metres this enables you to track the child that is wearing it wherever you are so long as you have access to a mobile phone or a computer (i.e. one connected to the internet!). It’s a similar idea to that of Google Latitude for people to locate their friends which adults can choose to use on their mobile phones for social purposes, but this is obviously for parents who are concerned about their children’s whereabouts.
Besides from the obvious tracking there are a few interesting features that you can make use of with the num8 that helps to keep your child safe. The first of these is the ability to set up ‘safe zones’ which serve as a boundary — and if you’re child crosses this you are immediately notified via email and text and you can then see where specifically this was via Google Maps; you are also able to edit the ‘safe zone’ by time and date allowing you to cater for regular outings without having to change anything.
It’s also possible to find out where your child is when you’re out and about by simply texting ‘wru’ or ‘where r u’ (although, to the horror of the English usage police, apparently not ‘Where are you?’) to the Lok8u portal and you will then receive a Google Map and/or an address which will help you track down your child.
As far as the design of this GPS tracking device goes, this watch is understandably fairly sturdy. With a brightly coloured design it is meant to not be too off putting for younger children (though don’t expect to get this on the wrist of any child over 10), it’s capable of lasting 2-3 days on a single charge and it’s also fully waterproof.
However here comes the bit that might make a few parents a little uncomfortable — the strap is made of a web of reinforced steel which means it is securely fastened and cannot be removed, although if it is removed you are obviously notified; I can’t help thinking though that some parents will think that enforced ‘tagging’ is perhaps a step too far.
But obviously that is up to the parents discretion, that is assuming they are happy to pay the £149.99 price tag as well as the monthly fee (which ranges from £4.99 ‘emergency’ tariff to the £19.99 paranoid one depending on how many text alerts you are allowed [Oh, and if you want it to work overseas]).
So, definitely something I can see being popular, but it does raise certain moral questions like: “Is it right to tag our children like criminals or animals?” Obviously that’s a personal decision, but as far as this children’s GPS tracking watch system itself is concerned, it looks like a pretty effective device!