Electronically Tagging Our Toddlers – Is This A Good Thing?

Electronically Tagging Our Toddlers - Is This A Good Thing?

All parents of toddlers finds themselves wishing they had eyes in the back of their heads at least once a day.

Small children are adventurous, curious and, most of all, surprisingly speedy.

One minute she’s sitting at the top of the slide, and the next your heart is filled with panic as you glance anxiously round the park desperately trying to locate… oh it’s ok, there she is on the swing.

Toddlers aren’t always easy to keep track of. They’re unpredictable, strong-minded and love to explore. Many parents wonder how they can keep their children safe without quashing that natural curiosity we so admire in children. One company thinks they have found the answer.

The hereO gps watch allows you to track your toddler from your phone. It’s specially designed for small wrists and is recommended for children aged three and above. The watch uses gps to track your child’s movements and you can locate them quickly and easily using the hereO app on your smartphone.

You can even check historical movements, meaning you can take a look at everywhere your child has visited that day. You can set up safe zones and receive automatic alerts when your child leaves a safe zone. You can locate your child at any time and the app will even give you directions of how to get your child quickly.

Is Electronically Tagging Our Toddlers A Good Thing?

As someone who wasn’t really sold on the idea of toddler reins, I’m not all that comfortable with the idea of electronically tagging my child. The watches are designed to fit the slender wrists of three year olds, but shouldn’t three year olds be within our line of sight at all times when out and about?

Of course, there have been times where my own daughter has run ahead in the street, rushing round corners without pausing to see if I’m following, but would an app on my phone really have provided any relief during that moment of panic? Isn’t it better for me to hurry up rather than pull out my phone and check her location electronically?

Modern parenting products seem to focus on parental convenience, and in many ways that’s a good thing, but there are risks involved. With so many products making it easier to put our babies down (bouncy chairs, playpens, sleep pods, high chairs and more), some babies are now spending too much time in these contraptions. This restricts the baby’s freedom of movement and can even delay developmental milestones. Convenience can come at a price.

If you can sit on the sofa, phone in hand, and know that your child is safely playing in the garden, is there really any need for you to sit out with her? Of course you will sometimes, but would you perhaps do it less because of the peace of mind offered by the gps tracker?

Would parents still walk to their child’s room at the end of the day and plant a kiss on their child’s cheek before heading to bed, or would it be easier just to check your app after a long day? Our smartphones are already guilty of robbing our children of quality time and interaction, so I would worry about tracking apps making this worse. Why bother looking with your eyes when you can look with your phone?

I haven’t seen the watch in person, but if there’s any way a child could remove it, my daughter would whip it off within about five minutes. I can’t get my daughter to keep in a hair bobble for the duration of nursery, so I am pretty sure there’s no way I could convince her to wear a chunky watch for the whole day. I once spent £5 on a glittery headband, then felt disappointed when she took it off before we left the house. I can’t imagine how I’d feel if that headband was an expensive safety watch.

Parents spend a lot of time worrying about things that could go wrong. Parents already spend a fortune on items claiming to reduce the risk of things going wrong. Nothing is more precious to a parent than their child, so it’s understandable why most parents lose sleep worrying about how they can keep their children safe.

The problem is, many of us are worrying about the wrong things. We worry about the big things, the things that are really, really unlikely to ever happen to us. When the risk of something happening is so small, is the use of a gps tracker justified or does it just add to the already overwhelming fear and axiety that most parents experience?

If we start using gps trackers to keep an eye on our kids, when does it stop? Of course, we need to know where our three year olds are at all times, but at some point in the future, your child will want some independence. When do you make that leap, and will it be harder if you’ve been tracking your child’s movements on your phone for years?

Am I Overthinking It?

That’s not to say I think it’s all bad though. I can see that this sort of device would be a god send for anxious parents. It may offer much-needed peace of mind for those traveling in unknown lands, offering that extra bit of protection in case your child wanders off. When you don’t know where you are, having an app that immediately alerts you to the location of your child could make all the difference.

For anyone who’s ever felt that momentary panic upon turning round in the supermarket and realising your child is no longer behind you, this watch offers you a plan B for locating them. This watch could offer you the extra reassurance you crave that you are doing everything within your power to keep your child safe.

For me, though, it feels a bit like overkill. I think technology has already invaded on family life enough, and I’m weary of becoming reliant on technology to do the parenting for me.

What do you think?

Recommended Reading: Check out how one couple used technology to make an extra special birth announcement.

 

CONTRIBUTOR

Fiona Peacock is a writer, researcher and lover of all things to do with pregnancy, birth and motherhood (apart from the lack of sleep). She is a home birth advocate, passionate about gentle parenting and is also really tired.


2 comments

  1. I don’t think this device is meant to make parents lazy, I think it might be handy for the first few minutes if and when you actually lose your toddler. I’m a very careful mom but my toddler is super fast. it’s happened before and it was the craziest 3mins of my life. I would get this device.

  2. I think this could actually be really great… if a stranger takes your child or some how escapes from your view… you could track your child within seconds or minutes. But nevertheless you should always watch your child and extra

Leave a Reply

Please note: in order to prevent spam and inappropriate language, all comments are moderated before they appear. We appreciate your patience awaiting approval. BellyBelly receives many comments every day, and we are unable to approve them all as soon as they are posted.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

loaded font roboto