Should we use GPS to keep track of our children?

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Mama is watching you!

Was it not that long ago as parents, that all we had to do was open the front door, shove our brood out to play and merely inform them to be back home by five for their evening meal?

Sadly, it seems, those days are long gone, and has been replaced by an atmosphere of paranoia, anxiety, and mistrust. Not to mention an awfully busy life that has to be choreographed to the last second and the children plotted in on the list like little robots.

OK, some of us are not that organized, but to be honest, is the GPS thing a good idea? As a mother of three boys and one girl I am always worrying about what they are doing and where they are. I can also be a real pain with them and will be forever texting them or ringing to see where they are. Having them on GPS is tempting, because I will be able to have my mind put at rest without bothering them too much. But is that really a good thing?

We must ask ourselves whether using these devices on our children will have a detrimental effect on society in the long run. We can justify the GPS security jackets and cell phone tags by saying that it is helping to keep our children safe. However, what will it cost in terms of social and emotional development?

My children become annoyed when I ring them if they are busy and not in the mood to talk to their mum, but at least I have bothered to ring. At least they have heard my voice and know that I am worried about them. It reinforces my role as a parent and also reassures them that they are being thought of and loved.

Hopefully, I have instilled enough integrity into my children for them to simply tell me where they are, instead of checking to see whether they are telling me fibs, or not. And why would I want to know of their exact movements? Are my children not entitled to a little privacy? Perhaps they need to be kept on a tag like a criminal...

Again, it may be tempting to make sure that our little ones are carrying a device on them just in case they get lost if we are out with them in public... but why on earth would they get lost? If we were doing our job properly as a caring parent in the first place then there wouldn't be any need for the GPS tracker. It seems that the GPS solution merely gives the parents the opportunity to relinquish a little more of their precious attention that should be directed towards their child.

Just as the television was blamed for eroding family values and social etiquette and ultimately used as a babysitter for children af all ages, and the mobile phone, far from "connecting people" has effectively cut us off in respect of social and emotional communication, the GPS tracking devices will further erode the fragile human connection that we hold with our younger generation.

It can be argued that we live in a fast moving world and that danger lurks around every corner and that as parents we have a moral responsibility to protect our children as much as we can. But what of our grandchildren and the future generations? We ourselves know that we are moved to behave like this because of our strong family values, a nurturing instinct, and a need to protect our children because from experience we KNOW what goes on out there.

But if we never let our children experience danger, or test their boundaries, or learn the value of trust, integrity, bravery and respect, what on earth will they have to pass on to their own children.?

At the moment we are debating whether the GPS tracker systems are a good thing or not. We question ourselves as parents whether we have the right to do this to our children, but put in the hands of a generation brought up to believe that it is normal practice to track their children, what will become of them on a social, psychological and emotional basis?

They certainly won't be asking the same questions that we ask of ourselves now.

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