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More Swedish parents track kids with GPS

TT/The Local/rm · 7 Nov 2011, 16:17

Published: 07 Nov 2011 16:17 GMT+01:00

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”It is a safety thing mainly, as my oldest daughter is out more at night on her own and it was useful recently when my youngest took a bus on her own to her grandparents,” Helena Hassler, mother of three, said to news agency TT.

The Stockholm-based family has been using a GPS system to keep tabs on their kids for about a year and so far the children, aged 13, 17 and 19, have had no objections.

”Mainly we've been using it to see where the kids are. You don't always have all the schedules memorized. This way you avoid making lots of calls,” Hassler said.

Interest in global positioning systems (GPS) has surged in the last few years and several companies are currently offering services tracing children's mobile phones.

Large mobile phone service providers in Sweden like Telenor and Tre have positioning services as part of their family deals and the company Lociloci is marketing the ability to track loved ones at all times in real-time, using geo-positioning.

”The interest is definitely most prominent among families with children,” Lociloci CEO Fredric Gunnarson told news agency TT.

Lociloci was created to help families to manage their daily life, the company writes on their web page.

”We don't expect to be seen as an alternative to good parenting. We are just offering parents an extra tool to make use of,” Gunnarsson said.

Mobile phone operator Tre is also offering a new service where parents can set an ”surveillance zone” for their kids. If the child ventures outside the area, a text message is immediately sent to the parent.

However, child psychologist Jenny Klefbom questions the use of these services.

”If you need to do this you don't have a good relationship with your child, What keeps kids safe is a good relationship with their parents, built on trust,” she told TT.

Making use of electronic surveillance systems could also lull the parents into a sense of false security, according to Klefbom.

Story continues below…

”It is too simplistic a system. The only thing you can keep track of is where the child is. What's the thought behind that? That sex can only happen in a bedroom or that taking drugs only occur on Sergels Torg,” she said, referring to a square in Stockholm commonly connected with the drugs trade.

The only time it could be OK to keep tabs on one's child a bit more is if things have already deteriorated, for example if the kid has been involved with drugs, she explained.

”But even then it is crucial that the teenager understands why. That he or she knows that they have been given back some freedom in exchange for submitting to this control. To secretly track someone is never OK,” Klefbom told TT.

TT/The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:46 November 7, 2011 by Opinionfool
Problem is that the GPS components of smartphones is not that accurate. My brand spanking new iPhone 4S often displays my location anywhere between 10m and 400m away from my physical location. Now that might be enough for controlling parents to check on where their daughters are but not close enough in the event real trouble happening.
17:42 November 7, 2011 by Jamtjim
"The Stockholm-based family has been using a GPS system to keep tabs on their kids for about a year and so far the children, aged 13, 17 and 19, have had no objections. "

19!! That's not a child any more!! When I was 19 I would have hated anyone keeping tabs on me like that, especially my parents. I suspect the Stockholm-based parents are more like Stockholm-based control freaks!
17:50 November 7, 2011 by StockholmSam
My god, this Jenny Klefbom is a complete idiot and certainly is missing the point entirely. It is not about trying to prevent kids from having sex. It is about knowing where your children are when that becomes a critical need. One of the biggest problems Sweden has is a lack of youth supervision from parents. Over and over again we lament the lack of involvement of parents, the failure of parents to fulfill their responsibility as rearers of children. Now this idiot Klefbom comes along and laments parents' attempts to keep an eye on kids as they make their initial forays into the world? Lord save us from 'experts' like her. Anyone could make the counter argument that children are psychologically damaged by parents that don't give a sh*t about where their kids are or what they do.
18:10 November 7, 2011 by Vermaldeehide
If the carrier tried to keep me from tracking my child because the government told them it was wrong I would go buy my own surveillance equipment and cancel my cell phone account just on principal - BECAUSE it is my child and i am watching out for them, especially these days.

18:10 November 7, 2011 by bocale1
Well, if I want to make sure that nobody is tracking me, I leave my phone at home or give it to a friend of mine for a while... is that difficult?

Are parents so stupid to believe that a 19 years old individual do not understand that?

My goodness...

Jenny Klefbom is totally right; if as parent you want to impose this to your children, you have already missed the point. If they want to cheat you, they will do... and probably they will be right. Lack of trust is a bidirectional matter.
19:08 November 7, 2011 by Opinionfool
Presumably these parents are waiting for the app that will allow them to tap into their children's brains to find if they are a) having sex --- especially the 17 and 19 years, b) doing drugs --- especially the 13, 17 and 19 years, and c) deceiving parents. In some societies a person of age 13 is considered an adult; in most western societies a child of 17 is almost an adult and a child of 19 definitely is.

What these parents are saying is they "don't trust their children". That's serious family breakdown and one that isn't going to be solved by them tracking the kids' GPS-ed phones.
19:11 November 7, 2011 by salalah
LOL - Kids with Lo-Jack!
20:25 November 7, 2011 by Svensksmith
We always asked where our kids were going before they went out. Once, our eldest lied to us and we found out. The feces hit the fan and she was grounded for awhile. She is now 19 and a wonderful young woman. Who needs Kid GPS?
21:32 November 7, 2011 by missjane30
I'm going to go back to what my parents always said to me "our roof, our rules".

Of course 15 years ago that didn't include them tracking me GPS style, but I was one of the first of my friends to have a cell phone, and boy did my mama use it!!!

It wasn't my parents lack of trust in me...it was everybody else out there they were worried about.
22:24 November 7, 2011 by Dr. Dillner
Do the cursors blink red if the child is having sexual contact?
23:39 November 7, 2011 by StockholmSam
Missjane30 hit the nail on the head. I would use a tracking system but not because I distrust my kids; rather because I distrust the whackos out there looking for naive teenagers to prey on.

If there is a breakdown of trust between kids and parents, then that happened long before any GPS tracking device entered the picture and is more deeply rooted than that. As a teenager, I would have loved knowing that my parents knew my location at any time, but then there were no trust issues between us. I wold have known that they were not hovering over the computer watching my every move but rather would use the tracking option responsibly. For example, checking my location if I am late coming home and not answering my phone. No harm there. Just another tool for responsible parenting.
00:10 November 8, 2011 by rouzi
The only thing that i can say is to : SO AWKWARD.
01:20 November 8, 2011 by swenrika
I do agree.. tracking kids in order to keep them safe or to help in an emergency is a definite bonus...

If you object to this then you should also object to the baby monitors .....

in both cases it is a matter of making technology work for you to keep your child safe... not to haunt them and spy on them...

Would you rather have the police tell you about the horrible find they made in the forest .. or would you rather be able to call them and says something is going wrong and is on it's way into the forest ?
01:45 November 8, 2011 by Greekfan

Hear! Hear!
18:52 November 12, 2011 by D. ane
Parents should know that the use of these microwave technologies - GPS, mobile phones, microwave base stations, WiFis can damage health. There is an increase in non-specific illnesses that some doctors think are due to exposure to microwaves.

Hyperactivity in children has become endemic and memory loss a real problem which affects education. Bad temper and bad behaviour are making teaching impossible but no one questions the exposion in these problems. I think the use of the mobile phone continuously is making people ill atc.

Yet the mobile phone companies a happy for us to carry one as though the microwaves they use are safe. Those who have researched and found results that are inconvenient for mobile phone companies are silenced.
15:13 December 13, 2011 by Trishasmith
Modern moms have somehow found a solution on how to track and protect their kids via cellphone. It is a mom's innate character to protect her children from harm. And a good mom will definitely do anything she could just to prevent not-so-good things happening to her kids. The idea of my children being harmed or lost is not something anyone wants to consider. I found an article by anationofmoms about a service that can protect your family via your cell phone. And, at the bottom there is an opportunity to enter a drawing for 6 months of that service just by liking them on Facebook. You might find it interesting: http://anationofmoms.com/2011/08/protect-your-family-giveaway.html
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