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Monday, August 27, 2007

Wherifone - Leash or Peace of Mind?

My August issue of Las Vegas Life has a section about back to school and some must-haves for your kids. Here's something that jumped out at me:

This is called a Wherifone. Here's what the caption says: "A Wherifone GPS locator cell phone gives your kids one-touch dialing capabilities, but only to numbers input by you. Plus, you can monitor their wherabouts all day long on the Web. A parent's best friend!"

I'm not sure what I think about this. Perhaps it goes back to the technology post I had last week... is this a technology plus? Do we want or need this kind of control over our kids? Am I too old to understand this or am I too close to my youth to want this kind of leash? All I thought about when I read this was that I didn't have any devices where my parents could track my whereabouts. It was dependent on trust and rules. I know many of today's cell phones already have a GPS system installed, but isn't this overkill? Would you give this particular type of cell phone to your kids? Disclaimer: I know, I don't have a teenager yet.

I did some reader reviews at Amazon.com for this product and there was something I hadn't considered previously. One reviewer noted she was using it for an elderly family member. I could see this - someone with Alzheimer's who is still somewhat independent. I remember when my grandfather who was suffering from this disease wandered out of the house in the snow and was completely disoriented. This, I get. What do you think?


Otto said...

This smacks of ongoing arguments concerning civil liberties. Truth is, if I had a kid, I'd implant him/her with a GPS locator. Not because I want to know what my kids are doing on Saturday night after midnight (I shudder to think), but rather to consider using in case of emergency.

While the odds of a child getting abducted remain somewhat low, the reality is the trails goes cold in a hurry and usually ends with a homicide (or worse).

A phone with a GPS locator seems like a good idea. But I'm also not so naive to be dismissive of the civil liberty arguments that it's a slippery slope toward a police state. I don't think it's all that, but certain checks and balances must be put in place so police can't arbitrarily start tracking people without warrant.

What's that, you say? Patriot Act? Oh crap. I forgot about that. We threw away constitutional protections a couple years ago!

Never mind. :-)

Steve said...

YES! I definitely support this idea, especially for teenagers. Remember, they ain't got no rights 'cept what you give 'em before they're 18. 'Nuff said. ;)

Ken said...

I like the idea for folks with Alzheimer's and the like. I like the idea of giving kids a phone with numbers only you program. My boss' 6 year old got a phone call from a boy with his own cell phone! Now mind you, his parents own Station Casinos, but still...

An80sNut said...

I like the idea of this for practical and impractical reasons. I think the bigger concern is what age should they be when they get one.

Molie said...

I doubt I would use it but I see where it could be useful.

Nik said...

This has so many good uses(i.e the Alzheimer's idea), but I guess I'm just old fashioned. My parents never had an issue with wondering where I was. I'm with you on the trust and rules policy. If I had kids and they broke either of those, then they have lost the privilege to go out.