In the last two decades we are witnessing a smart connectivity devices ascension, most prominent among them being smart phones. While technological development and digitalization connected the world, it presents many challenges. One of them is also remote monitoring and locating of people.
To put it mildly, monitoring people with GPS trackers is a hot issue with no clear cut answers, no matter if speaking of elderly, children or even prisoners tracking. With estimates that self-monitoring technologies for health alone will reach gross revenues of 71,9 billion dollars in 2022, we want to point out three main problems! These are the most common issues that we should be aware of, especially in case of children GPS tracking:
A first thing to consider as technologies can be simply bad. It can allow unauthorized access to the data gathered by devices (location and health). One of the things to consider is what type of security protocols are used and if they are aligned to governmental standards. That would minimize risk of data leaks or actual abuse by manufacturers.
As many companies are trying to establish themselves in the field and business models are forming, we should be careful our information is not abused. Some companies might earn their revenues by selling private data, in the best case to advertisers. This is applicable to ALL mobile phone applications that gather location data and not only GPS trackers.
This is the most important non-technological issue to consider. Social scientists have shown that trust is essential to close relationships (Trust and satisfaction in adult child-mother (and other) relationships), including proper parent to child relationships.There are better and really bad ways to use GPS trackers and there is a thin line between safety and harassment of tracked persons. A 2019 study shows monitoring a child can undermine the sense of trust and bonding. In fact, it can become counterproductive (A literature review evaluating parental tendencies in prior adolescent substance users) to the point of pushing the child further towards rebellion. We suggest honestly talking to children and minimally using tracking, if at all, for teenagers. In most cases proper communication about the intention and setting up the rules will suffice!
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