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Tracking Kids, Swedish Style

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If you’ve ever taken a group of kids, or even just your own children, on an excursion, you’ve probably worried about one or more children getting separated from the group. Many daycare centers in Sweden are using satellite technology to keep an eye on the kids – and not every body’s happy about it.

The Associated Press reports that Swedish daycare centers are increasingly using GPS sensors [like in your car's electronic map device] and other electronic tracking aids to help keep aware of where children are during off-campus trips. The electronic equipment is meant as a supplement to daycare staff, but some parents and ethicists have issues. The parents say using technology to monitor their kids means the daycare facilities are scrimping on staff, while the ethics commentators say that kids shouldn’t be treated like machines by tagging them with electronic sensors.

One Swedish principal told the AP that the devises are a complement to the three staffers watching twenty children in a typical field trip. One of the largest manufacturers of the devices says they should only be used to assist, not replace, daycare staff. A spokesperson added that the trackers did not save personal information about the students.

Now, please correct me if I’m wrong here, but don’t most cell phones contain GPS technology? And, since most of us [and our kids] carry cell phones, aren’t we already being tracked by satellite? I don’t know about Sweden [and the state of its cell phone technology], but it seems like a non-issue here. What’s your take on using electronics to track your children? Good or bad idea? Please let us know, either here or on our Facebook page.

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