What are GPS Kid’s watches?
A child’s GPS watch is extremely important for parents to purchase in today’s age. There has been an increase of crimes against children recently, and there has been a rise in kidnappings and abductions - every parent’s nightmare. It is impossible to keep your child safe at home in this day and age and expect them to grow up in a proper fashion. Children need to be able to attend schools and other places where they can interact with other children and learn to be valuable team members. This becomes difficult for parents to keep a constant eye on their children and ensure their safety.
Technology in the form of GPS tracker watches, therefore, becomes an important part of everyday life. Using Global Positioning System and satellite communication, a GPS child’s watch is able to alert a parent to their child’s location in case they wander away from you, or in the worst case, are abducted. These watches look like everyday watches, but are able to connect with remote devices to keep parents aware of their child’s movement. Most watches are made from a durable material that fit children’s wrists comfortably all day and can even withstand all types of play.
While the GPS technology is nothing new, there appears to be a decrease in the size and price of GPS trackers, which has made it more easily available for everyday use. It is unclear how many parents are keeping an eye on their children through technological means, but it appears that there is no shortage of demand based on the vast number of tracking products targeted at parents.
There are all sorts of different watches available on the market, and some have additional features to ensure that your child is as safe as possible.
GPS trackers don’t always come as watches, however: they can also be a small device that is attached to children’s clothing, shoes or even bags. These devices are convenient for children under the age of 3, whereas the watches can be used by children aged 3 and older. They are invaluable in keeping parents connected to their children without having to purchase them a smartphone.
The GPS watches usually have an app that the parent can download and receive information on their child’s whereabouts. Using GPS, a child’s location can be retrieved in the form of latitudes and longitudes and can be placed on a map to show the exact location. The app will show the parent where their child is in real-time. The watches are compatible with either iOS or Android smartphones and the apps can be used to access data at any given time, thus ensuring that you are always connected to your child and allowing parents to have peace of mind.
The typical features found in a GPS watch that alerts parents that their child could be in danger are anti-drop sensing, real-time position tracking using WiFi, GPS and LBS base positioning technology. GPRS and GSM features can also be provided with the tracker watch in order for two-way communications to take place. Some watches also have an SOS button with a pre-programmed phone number for the child to press in order to notify the parent of any danger.
Some other features that are included in the watches are the following:
GPS watches, such as the PingMe watch, allows your child to make and receive calls. Using the app, parents are able to programme 10 pre-selected numbers that your child is able to use when in trouble. This is convenient, because it doesn’t limit them to one or two phone numbers. Should a child need to call their parent, they are able to by simply pressing a button on the watch.
It is important to remember too, that the GPS watches are also watches, and many of them have an easy to read digital display. Children are able to easily toggle between the date and the time. The watches also notify the child when the battery is running and low and needs to be recharged.
Some watches also have a “talk back” function, where parents are able to send a pre-recorded voice mail to the watch that the child is able to access. The child is also then able to record a message to send to their parent’s phone.
Some watches will only start tracking the child once he or she leaves a previously specified area and others can even monitor other information such as heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. Some wristwatches can even be locked onto a child’s wrist.
The PingMe GPS kids watch is one kind of watch that tracks your child. Parents can download the app on their smartphones and are able to access a number of features to ensure the safety of their child.
One feature, is called the White List. This is a feature that parents can use to control who can actually call the device, and can limit the list to 5 numbers only. The Geo-Fence is another feature and parents can use it to set up a virtual safe zone. This means that parents will receive notifications on their phones when their child enters and leaves the safe zone. Most apps will also have a smart locator function, which allows parents to locate their child using a combination of GPS, GSM and WiFi, thus giving them the most accurate location information. Using the app, parents are able to see their child’s location on a map at any time. If a parent has more than one child, the app allows them to make multiple profiles - one for each child.
Some apps will have a track history function, where parents will be able to track the movement history of up to three months in order to see travel patterns. Another feature included in the app, and not one that is important, but a nice to have, is love rewards, in which parents can send their child a digital heart, which lets them know that they are thinking them. Another important feature to consider when looking for GPS kids watches, is that the app should have a listen in function - this allows the parent to listen to the child’s surroundings. Equally important, is a removal alarm. After 3 minutes of being worn, the alarm alerts parents as soon as the watch has been removed. This is possibly one of the most important features for the app to have. Another feature that all GPS kids watches and apps should have, is a remote shutdown feature. This allows parents to remotely shut the device down via the app - it is a safety feature that doesn’t allow unauthorised people to turn the GPS kids watch or device off.
Why should you consider one?
There are many reasons why people might want to purchase a tracking device for their children. Some parents purchase them for behavioural reinforcement, while others use them for safety reasons.
These are the top 5 reasons parents should consider purchasing a GPS tracking device:
- Special needs:
Children with autism and other mental or behavioural disabilities have a tendency to wander away from home or run away from their caregivers, leaving them especially vulnerable to injury, emotional trauma, exposure to the elements or even drowning. Ensuring that they have a GPS tracking device, can ensure that these children are safe from harm and can easily be found should they wander away from their homes.
When taking the family on an outing, it can be tricky to try and keep track of children, especially in a crowd. Slipping a GPS tracker into children’s pockets, or equipping them with a GPS watch, allows some peace of mind. It is important, in these instances, to ensure that you have chosen a device that can give your child’s location in real-time, in case something happens. It might also be a good idea to use a GPS tracker when camping or hiking. When thinking of using a GPS kids watch while hiking, it would be prudent to look for a watch that allows children to send an SOS message even when there is no cell phone signal.
- Stranger danger:
Many parents work and rely on lift clubs to take their children to and from school, and even to different sporting fixtures. In order for these parents to have ease of mind, they may want to consider a GPS kids watch to check whether their children have arrived at their intended destination safely. It is comforting knowing that a simple GPS device or kids watch could save your child from potential predators, but whether the GPS device is effective or not depends on whether the abductor discovers the device. Most of the GPS devices are visible, and while some trackers alert the parent to when they have been removed, they won’t be able to track your child’s movements once it has been taken off. A sobering statistic, according to the Nemours Foundation, is that 75% of children abducted are taken by somebody they know. This also means that the abductor knows about the tracking device. Many GPS kids watches and trackers enable the parent to set a geofence perimeter and any time the tracker leaves the boundary, parents are alerted. This will give parents a head start should the unthinkable occur and your child is abducted. Parents must be reminded, however, that GPS kids watches and trackers are no substitute for parental supervision, and shouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of security nor give their children an exaggerated fear of being abducted.
- Second-guessing your sitter
Nanny-cams have been around for a while now, and with the advent of these, came a series of questions over the ethics and legalities for using one. Unlike cameras, GPS kids watches and devices can’t show parents what the nanny or babysitter is up to; parents can only track their movements. Some trackers can be connected to the pram or stroller without the nanny’s knowledge, allowing you to see where they are at all times. If you feel that the nanny is taking your child on unauthorised outings, however, it might be time for a new nanny and not for different trackers.
These are just a few ways in which GPS kids watches and trackers can be used. What is important to note, however, that parents need to inform their children that their watches or devices are there to keep them safe from harm and not, as many children might point out, because their parents don’t trust them. Parents need to ensure that their children understand the reasons behind the use of the GPS kids watches or trackers.
Pros and Cons
When looking at purchasing GPS kids watches, it is important to always weigh the pros and cons. Parents should ensure that their motives for purchasing a GPS kids watch or tracking device are honourable. Parents should also consider how wearing a GPS tracking device will make their child feel - they should sit down with their children and discuss what wearing a GPS kids watch or tracker will mean and get them to write their own list of pros and cons.
Parents need to emphasize to their children that wearing a GPS kids watch or tracking device is more for their own safety. They also need to tell their children that they want to know where they are, so should something happen, there’s a greater chance of finding them.
The most prominent concern for most people who choose to use a GPS kids watch or tracking device, is the growing threat of abduction. One of the major pros for purchasing a GPS kids watch is that it allows parents to safeguard against events such as this. It’s an awful thing to think about, but every responsible parent needs to consider the very real danger and threat of abductions, particularly in this day and age. A GPS locator could be crucial in helping the authorities locate your child quickly enough to prevent serious harm in the event of the unthinkable.
As a parent, one can never completely protect your child from the risk of abduction at all times, and some precaution that you might be considering, could really limit your child’s sense of freedom and autonomy. By using a GPS kids watch or tracking device, your child will be able to have the freedom of navigating the world and developing both self-sufficiency and independence without parents worrying too much about their safety. If parents wanted to let their child walk home from school, for example, they will be able to monitor this process with ease - taking note of when they left school and when they arrived safely back home.
The above are all pros of using a GPS kids watch or tracking device, but what about the cons?
The first, is the issue of trust. Using a GPS kids watch or tracking device could destroy any trust between parent and child. It could also give the child the idea that he or she is never too safe - adding to the list of unnecessary things that children are afraid of.
There are concerns of a practical nature too when considering purchasing a GPS kids watch or tracking device. One, is that children are unpredictable and can take the watch off while playing. Another aspect to consider, is that kidnappers could find the GPS kids watch or tracking device and throw it away. A very scary, yet true statistic, is that most abuse comes from perpetrators who are either part of the family or are known and trusted. Even though parents know where the GPS is, it doesn’t definitely mean that you know that it is still with the child or even that you can get there quickly. Another concern is that technology can be unreliable, and systems can stop working and/or give wrong information.
Finally, the greatest concern is that if this technology is abused, it could replace active parenting, which involves teaching good problem-solving skills and decision-making strategies. Technology is certainly no substitute for good parenting.
Parents need therefore, to weigh the pros and cons very carefully before bringing a GPS kids watch or tracking device into the home. If parents do agree to use the devices, then kids need to be informed that its first and foremost for their safety. Parents and children need to communicate clearly about safety and establish a trusting relationship so that a GPS kids watch or tracking device becomes an emergency plan, not an overt method of control.
Technology means more choice for parents, but it also means more decisions. As a parent, making the right ones for your family can be a daunting task, but by conducting research and talking to your children, you will be able to make the correct, informed decisions.
Would you use a GPS kids watch or tracker?
GPS kids watches or tracking devices can give parents peace of mind that their child or children are safe. Although it may be safer to wear a GPS kids watch or tracking device than not wearing one, technology does not guarantee children’s safety.
Will tracking systems eventually become small and advanced enough to be the safeguard parents are looking for? Would you use a GPS tracking system to monitor your child if there was a monthly service fee? How would you feel if your child was equipped with a personal GPS? Would you feel safe? These are just some of the many questions that parents ask themselves when it comes to deciding whether a GPS kids watch or tracking device would work for them or not.
Technology has changed the parenting in many different ways, but keeping track of a child must certainly be at the top of the list. Parents are able to keep an eye on their children with nanny cams, track their location using the GPS kids watches and tracking devices, to mention a couple.
As parents you need to ask yourselves whether using technology, particularly GPS kids watches and tracking devices, to keep an eye on your children is really necessary and whether it will actually protect your children. According to experts, parents must rather teach their children to be independent and how to cope with risks and dangers. Trackers, according to experts, could limit children’s privacy and personal freedom, while also encouraging them to accept surveillance. A concern is that children will learn to accept being tracked and that their behaviour and development will be impacted upon. A child’s right to privacy needs to be considered and parents must keep in mind that their children need their own private spaces to be able to play without being watched or monitored.
It is important that GPS kids watches and trackers are not used as spying devices. Parents must be reminded that the purpose of the trackers is to give children independence while reassuring their parents that they are safe.
The use of technology, particularly for tracking purposes, requires parents to be honest with their children and to explain the purpose of the GPS kids watches or tracking devices. No form of technology can completely protect children from threat and children must understand that GPS kids watches and trackers are no guarantee of their safety. They will have to be taught how to make the correct choices too.
If you are considering using a GPS kids watch or tracking device, it is important to remember that using this technology will never be a replacement for your attention and care. In order to keep your children safe, by all means use a GPS kids watch or tracking device to keep track of your child’s safety, but also talk to them about dangers and teach them responsibility. You should do this regardless of whether you are considering using GPS kids watches and tracking devices or not.
Parents must trust their children to make the right decisions and give them the freedom to do so. Ask yourselves: Are you considering using technology to keep your child safe, or are you tracking your child because you find it difficult to let go?