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Tracking Devices for Kids: Safety vs Overkill

New technologies with tracking devices
26 Feb 2016 – 01:12 PM EST

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In an age where being constantly connected to one another through technology is as simple as reaching for our smart phones, it can be rather unnerving to consider any extended period of time where we cannot reach those most important to us. Apps such as find my iPhone have morphed from tools to find lost mobile phones into a method of tracking the every movement of our children.

Have we gone too far?

It begs the question. Are we simply protecting our families or is this need for constant connection causing some serious stunting of our children's independence? Certainly children who are medically fragile, living with a serious disability may, in someway, benefit from this type of tracking, but does the typical child need to be monitored continually?

Writer Rory Carrol, states in The Guardian: “What sort of childhood is it with every move tracked, scrutinised, logged, judged? Where you cannot wander, try something new, be spontaneous – be yourself – without issuing a beeping alert from wearable, connected technology? This is helicopter parenting at its most stultifying, a constant, hovering presence.”

There are a number of tracking devices on the market today, and their popularity might surprise you.

Amber Alert GPS offers a gadget to track your child within a five foot radius and offers two way calling. The name alone suggests the worst and appeals to your need to keep your loved ones safe.

The 5 Star Urgent Response Great Call offers us instant access to healthcare providers and emergency responders.

Life 360 is an app that promises to simplify your communication so keeping in touch during our hectic day is even easier.

There really is no end to the list of gadgets and apps that encourage us to stay connected to each other. Sherry Turkle, writer for the New York Times, even called this new reality, our way of being " alone together". Is our incessant need to know our child's every waking moment an extension of our need to be constantly updated regarding our own social environment, or are we simply using advanced technologies to keep our children safe.

However you feel, the writing is on the wall, and it seems that we have decided that we want a perpetual and unbreakable connection to each other. This need for connection has extended to our need to know what are children are doing at all times. It stands to reason that these trackers aren't going anywhere, soon.