LG wants to put a tracking device on your child

LG Announces KizON, a smartwatch designed to let parents keep track of where their child is and listen to what they are up to. Courtesy photo of LG Electronics.
LG Announces KizON, a smartwatch designed to let parents keep track of where their child is and listen to what they are up to. Photo courtesy of LG Electronics.

Various tech companies have introduced wearable devices over the last few years that track your steps or heartbeat and even deliver your e-mails to your wrist.

Is electronically tracking your kid the next frontier?

LG announced a new device Wednesday morning, the KizON wristband, designed to let parents keep track of their child’s whereabouts. The KizON uses GPS, WiFi and mobile Internet signals to identify the user’s location in real time and sends the information to an Android app.

The device is designed for families with preschool and primary school children. Besides the location-tracking feature, parents will be able to communicate directly with their child through a “One Step Direct Call” button on the device, according to a news release from LG.

(Courtesy of LG Electronics.)
Parents will be able to communicate with their child with a press of the One Step Direct Call button. Photo courtesy of LG Electronics.

But what if the child doesn’t respond to a parent’s call? Within 10 seconds of an unanswered call, KizON automatically connects the parents anyway, allowing them to listen in through the built-in microphone.

British company KMS showcased a similar device for tracking children in January 2013. KMS’s device also has a GPS chip to help parents locate their child, plus there is a bar code on the band with encoded information about the person wearing the device, such as blood type, allergies and emergency contact numbers.

The technology has already raised some questions about whether such devices are too invasive and breach children’s privacy. “The majority of these kid-orientated wearables bear a striking resemblance to the tagging devices used to track convicted criminals on partial release back into the population,” Samuel Gibbs, the Guardian’s technology reporter, said in a recent column. “They come packing a GPS sensor to constantly report their location, a thick band that’s difficult to remove and an integrated mobile phone that cannot be silenced.”

“New technology has a way of throwing up parenting conundrums that get right to the heart of the line between being responsible for your children and invading their privacy,” Justine Roberts, founder of the Mumsnet blogging network – a web platform for parents to share advice and experience – told the BBC on Wednesday.

The LG device will make its public debut for South Korean consumers on July 10 and will come to North America and Europe later this year.

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