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TRACKING DEVICES FOR TEENS

A device that lets the school track exactly where your teen is at every minute? Sounds a bit creepy to me.

Most parents have made at least one phone call to their teen saying: ‘Where are you?’

This may be as a result of deliberate deception, or simple communication confusion. But whatever the cause, that moment before the call is answered makes a parent’s heart sink, and the mind whirl with a thousand unthinkable what-ifs.

Nonetheless, a bit more freedom of movement is acceptable for older kids who are learning to take responsibility. Making the choice to be where you are supposed to be is part of the growing up that we all need to do.

At least, I think so, but clearly not every agrees.

A number of schools in Houston in the United States have introduced student cards with a built-in tracking chip. The idea is to improve school attendance and security.

Learners haven’t taken long to find ways to beat the system:

‘There’s real questions about the security risks involved with these gadgets,’ says Dotty Griffith, public education director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas, quoted on the website Care2.com. ‘Readers can skim information. To the best of my knowledge, these things are not foolproof. We constantly see cases where people are skimming, hacking and stealing identities from sophisticated systems.’

I have a problem with the motivation behind the system being to reduce absenteeism. If kids are not motivated to get an education, merely making sure their bodies (or at least their cards) are in the room isn’t going to ensure anything.

In favour of the cards is the argument that it saves time for teachers who have large classes not having to take a register. They also allow the school to track students for security purposes.

But considering the card skimming devices, that is a far from foolproof way to track miscreants.

Do we mistrust teens to the extent that we want to track them electronically? Why not just clamp house arrest anklets on all of them and be done with it?

Article by Parent 24



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