Tag Archives: child safety

Keeping Track of Your Kids

Finding Loved Ones 

“It’s 10 PM. Do you know where your children are?” The question posed by this old TV announcement can now be answered more easily than before, thanks to personal GPS tracking devices created for kids.

GPS tracking childrenThe idea behind the trend comes from parents concerned about the whereabouts of their children. They want to see all their kids’ location and movements, even in real time. The fear of kidnapping by child predators has some parents scared and very vigilant. Parents may also want to track their teen to make sure they are being safe and staying in designated areas.

Homing Signals

To meet these needs, manufacturers have developed a variety of GPS units designed specifically for kids. Small children can use an bracelet attached to their wrist, or phone-like device that can fit in a bag. Older students can carry small golf ball-sized units in a pocket or backpack.

Parents appreciate the ability to trace their kids’ routes. Some GPS devices issue automatic text alerts every few minutes to a smartphone or computer. Other apps let adults see kids’ steps and actions in real time. Many adults have indicated that the updated system makes them feel more secure and knowledgeable as a parent.

Although to some it may seem intrusive to track children, the system does help parents make sure their children walk and arrive safely at the bus step and even step onto the correct bus. After all, there are a few dozen buses to choose from! Parents can also see when and where older students entered and left their friends’ vehicles on the way home. Devices can be programmed with set boundaries. For example, when a teen leaves the boundaries, the parent will know and can choose an appropriate action.

Tracking Down a Problem

Of course, no system is foolproof. The devices could be tampered with or simply taken out of the pocket and left in one location to give a false report. So, the GPS signal could give correct location, but not necessarily the location of its owner.

Critics claim that personal GPS devices invade the privacy of teens who need to form an identity. The devices could falsely make parents feel safe. They could also reinforce upon children their parents’ fears of the outside world. These fears can easily extend to the actions of the teen and show lack of trust for the child to make any responsible decisions or actions.

Parents Use GPS Tracking On Their Children

In an age of technology and independence, some parents have turned to GPS tracking to monitor their children’s whereabouts and activities. Although the practice can be controversial, some say that it is the best option they have found.

The Problem

Technology and a changing culture have given young people more independence than they have ever had before. Nearly every teenager owns a smartphone and thus has access to a whole world of activities and possibilities. Concerned parents want to be sure that their children are safe and that they are not engaged in behaviors that could harm them. Some parents try to accomplish this through frequent calls to their teen or questioning him about his activities. Unfortunately, these methods may produce resentment as the youth’s friends may tease him about his overprotective parents. Some teens even lie outright about where they have been or what they’ve been doing.

The Solution 

To combat these difficulties, many parents have turned to technology for help in monitoring the activities of their children. Enabling the GPS tracking feature of a teen’s smartphone allows the parent to know where it is at all times. When a child claims that he has been kept late at school or has an extra sports practice, a check of his GPS location can support or contradict his story. In addition, some parents have gone so far as to install spyware on their child’s phone. A parent who is using this kind of software receives a constant stream of information about his son’s activities. He knows the numbers his son calls or texts and the Internet sites that he visits.

The Objections

Some individuals feel that GPS tracking and spyware monitoring of young people is taking parental responsibility too far. They argue that simply trusting the child will be more likely to keep him from unwise activities. Others admit to the positive side of GPS technology but draw the line at the installation of spyware. 

While spying on your child may have an odd ring to it, it seems to be a wise precaution against the many dangers prevalent in our day. GPS tracking of a child could allow a parent to provide rapid assistance in an emergency, or even locate a teen who has become incapacitated. Good communication between a parent and child is ideal, but the use of technology can be another useful tool.

India Leads the Way in Fighting Crime with GPS

The nation of India has embraced GPS technology like perhaps no other nation. Beginning with a brazen, public rape that garnered international attention and led to massive protests throughout the country, local and national authorities have begun a well publicized, widespread program to install GPS tracking devices and closed caption television (CCTV) in just about every place imaginable. 

The latest beneficiary of India’s all-out utilization of GPS is in school buses. With a rash of school bus molestations occurring by attendants responsible for keeping the children safe, public outrage again demanded action on the part of Indian authorities.  The result is an impressive display of what recent advancements in technology have made possible. 

With an original disagreement between bus operators and schools now resolved, the School Bus Owners Association (SBOA) will be installing GPS tracking devices and CCTV monitoring on all school buses in the areas that sign up for the program. The new features will allow parents to know exactly where their child’s school bus is at all times, and where it is going. Additionally, parents will be notified via text message when the school bus nears the child’s boarding location. The CCTV footage will be viewed live by both bus operators and school administrators. Currently, both groups are weighing the option of giving parents access to the live video feed as well.

But all this extra security comes with a cost. Bus fees will increase by at least 20% according authorities, an average of Rs100 a month for each child. Still, many parents feel the extra cost is worth it to ensure their children’s safety. However, the cost has proven prohibitive outside of India’s larger cities, with most small schools located in suburb areas opting to not be included in the program yet.

Once considered a third world country hopelessly behind the times, India’s use of technology to combat crime has made it a role model for nations suffering from high crime rates. While GPS certainly cannot stop all crime, India has learned to use as an effective criminal deterrent. One can only hope that other nations will learn from India’s success, and that India will continue to develop itself as a leader in realm of technological crime fighting.

Child Services GPS

Parents Consider GPS Tracking for Children

Terrifying stories of child kidnappings have prompted some parents to explore GPS tracking options for their own kids. Parents feel that knowing their children’s whereabouts is essential to safety, and that tracking devices could locate kids speedily if they wandered off or went missing.

 

Because the child abduction rate is rather high, there is a growing awareness of the need to keep track of children; if a child is not in the house, a parent cannot simply assume that he went down the street to play with a friend. Some parents would go to any necessary lengths to maintain their offspring’s security. Those at a higher risk of going astray, such as special needs children, already use tracking devices. But in light of current trends regarding missing children, many more parents turn to technology to seek ways to insure that a child could be found quickly if he or she suddenly disappeared.

 

Tracking Apps for Phones

One handy tracking device is a child’s own phone. Parents can simply download a tracking app to a phone and have an instant resource for determining the child’s location. One parent mentioned that she thought that using a phone tracking device would cause her child to feel that he was being monitored constantly; however, if a child already has a phone, it is very cost effective and easy to use that GPS device if there is a pressing need to determine its location.

 

A Bracelet That’s not Jewelry

Another GPS locating device that is already in current use is a tracking bracelet. It was put to the test recently when it quickly reunited a parent with her special needs child who had wandered away. This bracelet is not available to the general public yet, though. It is exclusively used for children with Down’s Syndrome or autism and adults with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. But you can find similar tracking devices online.

 

A Whole New Meaning for “Track” Shoes

A futuristic tracking idea is GPS shoes for children. Adult sized GPS shoes already exist; a person can set up a boundary for the shoes which, when crossed, will cause the shoes to emit an alert to the person who is keeping track of the shoes. One parent indicated that if tracking shoes were available for in children’s sizes, she would certainly buy them—of course, they would be outgrown frequently.

Children and GPS

No More Hide and Seek with GPS Tracking

Anyone who’s read enough on the basics of GPS tracking can get a pretty good idea of its uses—among the many, the ability to track lost individuals (pets or human). Wouldn’t parents love to have that technology at their fingertips for their children. However, the cost for that kind of equipment, i.e. a smartphone with the appropriate app for GPS tracking, goes into the hundreds of dollars, and an electronically monitored pet collar like Tagg is not an option on kids (besides, it’s unfashionable). As of summer 2013, that won’t be a problem.

 

What is the Evado Filip Vivoplay?

The Vivoplay press release says the device is the smallest mass-produced one of its kind in the world and is both GPS tracked and communications-ready (GSM)—it even comes with WiFi. The equipment comes in the form of either wristwatch or clip-on gadget, heavy-duty (including water resistant) enough for even rough-playing kids between ages 5 and 12, and allows children to not only be GPS tracked everywhere they go but also to remain in constant audio and text contact with parents (or previously okayed people) wherever, whenever they wish. All the functions of the Vivoplay are controlled and monitored by a customized app on the parent’s smartphone.

 

So if I purchase this device for my child?

The Vivoplay doesn’t have all the full-fledge functions or concerns that come with a child’s owning a smartphone: high cost of replacement if lost or broken, possibility of being stalked or bullied by individuals online, etc. The device can be programmed with up to 5 parent-approved emergency contact numbers and allows the child to receive calls or texts from them but doesn’t permit outgoing, minimizing the aforementioned concerns. However, in case of emergency, the Vivoplay has a panic button that, when pressed, automatically sends immediate calls to every phone number on the contact list, updating those people with the child’s current location, and begins to record and save all of the child’s sound and position information. Parents will be able to see and hear what is going on with their child. If the device itself is lost, parents can press a button to find that too. As with the Tagg Pet Tracker, parents can pre-set a boundary for their kids and will be alerted through the GPS tracking app if the Vivoplay device (and their child) has wandered out of it.

Baby and big shoes

Preventing Family Abduction with GPS Monitoring

It’s every parent’s nightmare—the kidnapping of a son or daughter. But when the kidnapper is the child’s other parent, the case becomes even more complicated. Even if the child is returned, what is to keep it from happening again? Many such cases are looking to GPS monitoring to keep track of the offending partner while awaiting criminal charges and custody decisions.

 

Case in Point

In 2008 Emiko Inoue fled her home in Wisconsin with her daughter to return to her home country of Japan the same day her husband filed divorce papers. It took four years to get her back to the United States to face felony charges of “interference with custody beyond visitation and interference with child custody—other parent.” When she was returned to Wisconsin in December 2011, she was fitted with a GPS monitoring device. In February 2012, she appealed for removal of the device; however, judgment was postponed until September. On September 25, a Milwaukee County judge ruled that the courts could not legally continue to track Inoue using GPS technology because GPS is not authorized in cases of deferred prosecution. Although Inoue will continue under supervision, the father fears that she may once again try to flee the country with his daughter. The International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act of 1993 may allow for the arrest of a parent who takes an under-aged child out of the country without the other parent’s permission, but this is little consolation.

 

Startling Statistics

The 1982 Missing Children’s Act defines a missing child as anyone under the age of 18 whose whereabouts are unknown by the legal custodian. Within that definition, there are many categories, including family abductions, non-family abductions, runaways, and lost/missing children.  According to NISMART (National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children), there are 350,000 family abductions every year in the United States with 163,000 of these cases involving the concealment of a child, the transportation of a child out of state, or an intent to keep the child permanently. Other cases involve taking a child in violation of a custody agreement.

 

With so many cases involving custody battles, children often become pawns used by one partner to hurt the other. GPS tracking may be the only way to ensure the safety of these children and grant peace of mind to the legal guardian.

Children and GPS

Amber Alert GPS and The Little Gym Form Partnership

Parents know that today’s world is much different that the one they grew up in. The days of roaming the neighborhood until the street lights come on are over, replaced with staying where mom and dad can make visual contact, or maybe carrying a cell phone when heading to the local park and traveling in groups. Luckily, there is another technological weapon in our arsenal aimed at keeping children safe while giving them a sense of indepence: a GPS device.

 

Amber Alert GPS makes a GPS tracking device specifically for children to carry, showing parents where their child is at any time. The Little Gym, a experiential learning and child development center for children age four months to 12 years boasting 300 worldwide locations, has announced a partnership with Amber Alert GPS to offer a discount for parents on the GPS device and subscription.

 

Through this partnership, The Little Gym is named exclusive category provider of the Amber Alert GPS tracking device and associated subscription. The device not only shows where your child is at all times on a map using your smartphone or home computer, it also offers an SOS button your child can press to alert you to any emergency. Does your child drive or travel with other parents to the soccer game while you are stuck in a meeting? The device will alert you if the vehicle your child is in exceeds the speed limit, or even if he or she is in a car when they should be walking. It also offers two-way communication, allowing you to drop your child from your cell phone plan altogether. Let’s face it: you bought the phone so they could call you when they needed, but they now call all of their friends all of the time, or text your bill into oblivion. Lastly, it alerts you when your child comes within 500 feet of the home of a registered sex offender.

 

“At The Little Gym, safety is very important to us. Our gym owners and instructors pride themselves on providing a safe environment for children to learn and grow. By aligning with Amber Alert GPS, one of the most well-known and respected child safety brands, The Little Gym is helping to give parents the confidence to let kids be kids,” Bob Bingham said, the President and CEO of The Little Gym.

 

Carol Colombo, CEO of Amber Alert GPS, said, “We at Amber Alert GPS are excited about partnering with an industry leader like The Little Gym to provide access to easy-to-use technology that helps make the world a safer place for our children while allowing them freedom and providing parents peace of mind.”

 

Friends of The Little Gym can take advantage of a $199 savings on the Amber Alert GPS device for free, with a three-year contract, and $20 activation fee waived. There is a link to this offer on the “Partners” page of  http://www.thelittlegym.com/.

Be Prepared for the Worst with the FBI Child ID App

With so many GPS tracking apps offered for keeping your children safe, how does a parent go about choosing one of them?  One simple way is to determine exactly what you want to do.

Does your child have a cell phone?  You probably want an app installed on their phone such as Family Tracker, alerting you to your child’s location.  If the child is older, you may wish to install iHound on their phone.  This app leaves your child responsible for sending an alert when they have arrived at the library after getting out of school, or any other place they may be going on their own.

These are great ideas, but many parents fear that these apps leave their child’s whereabouts and personal information wide open for hackers to steal.  The FBI has come up with an app of their own that they say is hacker-proof.  How is this possible?  No information is collected and stored at the FBI directly.

Using the FBI Child ID app, parents create a “database” for each child, containing pertinent lifesaving information such as eye color, a photo, and the weight of the child.  If the child is taken or goes missing, the parent can instantly get information to the FBI or the police using Child ID.

As a spokesperson for the FBI states, “It’s very critical in the first few minutes and hours in these cases where there is missing children to seek the help of authorities to help locate your child – and obviously you want to arm them with the most information that you can to get the best chances to locate your child quickly.”

This app is available for free download, and (as long as you don’t lose your phone) is hacker-proof.

Article Written by Khristen Foss

GPS and Electronic IDs Spark Schoolbus Concerns

Many school districts across the nation are playing a grown up game of “I Spy” using GPS tracking technology and electronic Identification tags. In addition to the numerous GPS tracking devices that have been installed in many school buses throughout the nation, some districts now require students to carry electronic identification cards.

Student ID cards work the same way that employee identification cards do, which means that a school district can keep a close eye on all children throughout the day. As soon as a student (including Kindergarten students) enters a school bus, these students are required to swipe an identification card in front of an ID machine. A quick flash and a beep means that a student has entered a school bus effectively giving some parents peace of mind. Yet, not all parents believe that this kind of identification process is necessary.

At the moment, only school officials have access to child identification information, though many districts report that this information will soon be available to parents too. While many school districts throughout the U.S. currently use GPS tracking technology in order to keep track of school buses, electronic identification cards are a relatively new type of safety measure.

Due to the popularity of these cads, it is safe to assume that electronic ID cards will soon become a part of many young lives throughout the next couple of years. Implementing an identification system of this manner will cost school districts around $16,000. Is all of this child tracking technology too much?

Home Alone Tips

By Harriette Halepis

Will your child arrive home from school before you do? Lots of kids today find their own way home from school – a scenario that’s unavoidable if both parents work late. While many kids are perfectly capable of arriving at home safely, it’s important to lay down some ground rules if your child will be at home alone.

1. Make sure to establish some kind of notification system with your child. When your child arrives at home after school, ask them to call you on your cell phone (or at your office) right away.

2. Walk though safety steps with your child while you are on the phone. Speak to your child as he or she moves around the house locking doors, checking windows, and looking around the house.

3. Tell your child to take the same route home from school every day. This way, you’ll know where to look if your child does not arrive home on time.

4. Do not let your child have friends over without your presence. Even if your child can be trusted, children can get into a lot of trouble when left unattended.

5. Know your child’s schedule. Parents often panic when a child does not arrive home on time (and rightly so), but sometimes this is the result of an organized after-school activity. Make sure that you know your child’s schedule to prevent panic!

6. Let your child know your schedule. If you aren’t going to be home when you said you would, call your child and let them know about your changed plans. This way, your child won’t have to worry when you don’t show up on time.

7. Provide your child with a GPS tracking device. A simple tracking device can ensure that your child arrive as home – and stays there – while you are away.

These simple rules should be established well before school begins. Sit down with your family, talk about the suggestions listed above, and come to terms that everyone understands. Some simple planning can ensure that your child is safe when home alone.