Tracking kids just got easier for parents – for a price. More and more companies have installed Global Positioning System technology into cellular phones marketed towards parents who want to keep track of their kids. Among the companies that offer these calling plan, options are Wherify Wireless, Guardian Angel Technology, Disney Mobile, Verizon Wireless and Sprint.
The Wherifone option provides the simplest version of a cell phone for kids. The phone is small and does not have a traditional keypad. Instead, there are 4 buttons. Three buttons can be programmed to speed dial any phone number of the parent or kid’s choosing. The fourth button is used to access an address book that holds up to 20 phone numbers. The phone will then only receive incoming calls from the programmed phone numbers.
An Advantage of Modern Technology
Parents also have the ability to restrict what calls can go through by visiting the company’s website and logging on. Of course, there is also the G.P.S. tracking system that allows parents to check the location (by going online). For each location tracking, it is equivalent to one minute of talking time from the phone plan. The Wherifone phone costs around $100 and there are two phone plans available. The company’s first plan option costs $20 per month for 60 minutes of talking time. The second plan offers 200 minutes for $47 per month.
The Disney Mobile phone and phone plan offer the most features out of all the G.P.S. cell phones geared towards parents and their kids. The basic phone costs $50 after rebates and after signing of a two-year plan agreement. Features on the phone include a speakerphone, camera, video, and text messaging. The plan allows for parents to make five free location checks each month and then charges 50 cents for each location check thereafter. With the Disney Mobile phones, parents have the ability to control what calls can go through, texting and downloads.
With all of these additional features, the Disney phone is also the most expensive of these phones that track kids. One plan costs $60 each month for 350 minutes. The other monthly plan costs $250 and includes 4,500 minutes. In contrast, Sprint’s G.P.S. tracking phone plan for $60 gives users 900 minutes of talking time.
Modern GPS with an New Outlook
These latest phones are a testament to what technology is capable of doing in terms of privacy and the extent to which parents will go to have the latest information on their kids. While the worries are somewhat legitimate, the efficacy of these phones in parents controlling where their kids are at all times is only as good as the trust between parents and their kids. If a child sneaks around, they will inevitably find a way to go around the G.P.S. tracking systems installed on the phones.
The desire to establish an identity away from parents is normal, so is paying upwards of $60 each month really going to do anything other than makes kids think their parents don’t trust them? Yes, there are certain instances where the G.P.S. tool might be useful such as if a child was kidnapped or maybe lost on the road. However, the phone’s potential does not outweigh the actual need for these phones. On the flip-side though, if parents have a large pocket of disposable income, it can’t hurt to pay for this technology.