GPS Tracking for Parents

Before I had a kid of my own, I used to shake my head at parents who used "tethers," that looked like old fashioned telephone cords, to keep their toddlers from toddling off in public. Three years into parenthood, I haven’t succumbed to the "urge to tether" yet, but I’m a little less judgmental about the whole thing.

I have enough trouble keeping up with my three-year-old now. I’m already wondering how I’m going to keep up with him when he’s a teenager with enough subway fare to go where he wants. The answer is simple than I thought: GPS. If it can help find lost pets, it ought to work with kids too. So, though my little one isn’t big enough for a cell phone yet, I was relieved to read on Mobile Wireless News that Sprint just rolled a GPS-driven kid locator service for parents.

Using the Global Positioning System, the service allows parents to track up to four cell phones over the Internet or on their own wireless device. Parents can periodically ask the service to find the child’s phone, displaying the location on a road map.

Parents can also set alerts, automatically warning the parent if the child isn’t at a certain place, such as school or soccer practice, at a specific time.

The child’s phone also displays a text message, letting the child know they’ve been searched for and found.

Of course, there are other uses, like keeping track of elderly parents (as the article notes) or keeping tabs on a wandering spouse, which leads to charges that Big Brother is in the house.  I guess there’s two sides to every technology, and whether it’s used benevolently or not depends on whose pushing the buttons. But, as a parent, if kids can’t remember to be in the house when the streetlights come on, this seems like a pretty good way to remind them, when yelling down the street isn’t an option.