Relationship Thursdays: Would you use a wristband device to track your child?

Thursday, 10 July 2014 - 2:53pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Rama Sreekant speaks to parents about the feasibility of LG's new wearable device for children, KizOn, in the Indian set-up
  • Image courtesy: Rama Sreekant

According a recent report from ANI, LG’s new wearable device ‘KizOn' helps parents keep a track of their kids. While it is worn by children, it is actually meant for parents, letting them know where their kids are at all times with GPS, Wi-Fi, and a direct call button. It gives a new way for parents and their children to communicate via a ‘One Step Direct Call’button. If a parent calls  their child and there's no answer, KizOn will automatically connect the call and let the parents listen to what's going on, with a built-in microphone on the device. The device sports a water-resistant wristband which comes in bright colors and accessories for kids. It was designed primarily for the small wrists of pre-school and primary school children. The band straps to the child’s wrist like a large, bulky watch and has one button on the top that instantly calls a pre-set number allowing the child to contact its parents in an emergency.

Now what if this wristband was launched in India? Would parents buy it? Does it mean we are becoming a generation of paranoid parents?

Tracking devices for children have split opinion. While some parents are seeing it as a great way of keeping tabs on their kids while giving them more freedom to roam, knowing they will be able to pinpoint their location at any time. Others see it as a privacy issue, where a child's every move is tracked, judged and tagged like a convicted criminal released back into society.
“I am always concerned about my son's safety,” says Anne Rodrigues, mother of a six-year-old. “I would definitely buy it to know if Josh is safe.”

But Parija Bhat, mother of a three-year-old girl disapproves of such devices. “I don't know how it would work for pre-school or primary school children because most parents know exactly where their kids are at. I know my daughter, Nupur is mostly at her grandparents' house or at school. This device may work for parents who send their kids to school by school bus or with their domestic help,” she elaborates.

Clinical psychologist, Sonali Gupta believes everything should be done in moderation. Even if the device may work for these parents, the child can always tamper with it, remove it from his/her wrist. “In the Indian context, pre-schoolers rarely go out on their own. It could be a case of intrusion where parents are setting stage for total control, which is not healthy. Children may be distracted by wearing such devices, while in school. Also, Indian schools do not allow the use of cell phone so devices like Kizon would not be permitted either,” she explains.

According to Shripal Gandhi, father of a five-year-old daughter, survelliance and security are two different reasons altogether. “If it were to keep a track of what my daughter, Dia, is up to, then I would never buy it. But if it is to solely ensure her safety and whereabouts then I wouldn't mind Dia wearing a device like KizOn,” he adds.

LG’s KizOn will be available in South Korea in July with the US and Europe, including the UK, seeing a later third-quarter release for a to-be-announced cost.

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