In a lot of ways, the life of a parent is one of constant balance. On the one hand, you want to support the independence of your children; you want to maintain a certain amount of distance, giving them room to make their own (hopefully positive) decisions and to learn the types of lessons that they need to on their own. On the other hand, you always want them to be safe – particularly when they’re new drivers or even when they’re just out with their friends.
This problem is compounded when you’re talking about young kids who seem to get into trouble at every turn, regardless of how watchful you think you’re being. It only takes a few quick seconds for disaster to strike, which means that any step necessary to protect your child is one that is more than worth taking.
Parents in Australia are actually taking a technological approach to this very idea and are regularly using GPS tracking devices to keep a better eye on their kids.
GPS Devices as Secondary Parenting Tools: What You Need to Know
One of the leading Australian providers of GPS tracking devices aimed at children is SkyNanny, a company founded by a man who realized firsthand just how proactive parenting needed to be when he lost his daughter at the beach one afternoon. SkyNanny is a wearable GPS tracker that doesn’t just allow parents to keep tabs on every step their child is taking, but it can even be used to monitor them when they’re inside and can provide valuable information on how fast they’re walking in the first place.
Another option for parents is TicTocTrack, a smart watch that combines standard GPS functionality and Google Maps to update a parent as to a child’s location once every five minutes.
The Spacetalk smart watch has also become incredibly popular over the last few years, which is an option designed for children that are too young to have mobile phones to talk to up to 20 parental approved phone numbers. Spacetalk also includes GPS tracking functionality, along with SMS text messaging, a step tracker, safety alerts and push notifications that instantly alert a parent when a child has left a pre-determined “safe zone.”
One of Australia’s leading pediatric psychologists, Amanda Abel, said that these types of devices are essential for both parents and their children because of the aforementioned balancing act that both must go through on a daily basis. Parents can rest easy knowing that they’re affording their kids the type of independence necessary for healthy development, but at the same time are ever only a few quick finger taps away from finding out exactly where their child is at a moment’s notice.
Again – independence is important, but at the same time, it takes just six seconds to lose track of a child even if they are in your presence. At that point, you’re entering into a situation where literally every moment counts, and these types of devices allow parents to make the most out of each and every second during these troubling times.
However, there is a flip side to this particular coin that is also worth examining. Critics of these types of devices say that technology is a crutch that we are increasingly relying on – particularly when you consider that crime statistics are way down compared to 40 or 50 years ago. At what point is a GPS tracking device as a parenting tool taking one step too far? Likewise, does the fact that we can now pinpoint the exact location of our children from a phone or tablet actually make them safer, or does it only generate the illusion of safety?
These are the types of questions that do not necessarily have easy answers, but it’s safe to say that they are only going to become more important as time goes on. One thing is for sure, however – GPS devices as a secondary parenting tool are a hugely popular trend that for the time being are definitely here to stay.