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January 13, 2014

Technology for the paranoid

How would you like to keep track of your child's every move on a GPS tracking wristband?

By Cbr Rolling Blog

KMS Wristband

There are times when technology advancements seem to stop us from being free, but in fact instil paranoia in us, allowing us to worry about more than ever before.

Take the NSA for example. We never really thought anyone was reading our emails other than the recipient, our phonecalls were once upon a time a private affair, and our lives seemed relatively private when we wanted them to be. But then all that changed, we realised we were being watched and listened to, and all of that data was being stored somewhere.

Technology became more of a hindrance than a help, which is what comes to mind when I saw the new child tracking wristbands that were showcased at CES 2014 in Las Vegas last week.

KMS, a Manchester based company, insist that the device is the "first of its kind": a GPS tracker and mobile phone wristband. The gadget acts like a panic button that rings emergency contacts with the press of a button. It is charged wirelessly and the battery lasts for approximately two days. The wristband also answers incoming calls automatically, which allows relatives of the user to check up on them, whether or not the child likes it.

The wristband has a GPS chip so sneaky parents can track their child on a web or mobile based map, and if that wasn’t overprotective enough, it also features a geographic ring-fencing feature, so relatives can be notified when the child leaves a pre-defined safe zone.

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I understand the need for parents to be cautious and aware of their children’s whereabouts, but this latest paranoia fuelled gadget is like keeping a lead on your kids. You can almost hear the protective parents screech with delight at the new device, asking their not-to-be-trusted children: "But what’s more important – your freedom or your safety?!" It’s a recipe for disaster. But we all know how this will end. If your child is old enough to go out on their own, whether they’re walking to school alone or playing outside with their friends, they’re old enough to figure out that they can take the wristband off.

Kids need their freedom and technology should be enhancing that freedom, not giving overprotective parents more ways of keeping track of their kids. Checking their children’s Facebook page and reading their texts over their shoulders is bad enough. This wristband is likely to cause more worry and stress for the parent and a lot more trust issues between said parent and child. Let’s maybe loosen the reigns, teach street-smart safety and put some trust in our kids, because they deserve a little bit of freedom.

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