It is terrifying to even think about losing your child, let alone going through the trauma in reality. In such a scenario, technologies like GPS devices and trackers appear to be the most amazing solution, since they allow you to be aware of your child’s whereabouts.
Seemingly, it looks like an easy answer to your frets because it is as simple as making your child wear this wireless small device, which stays connected to your device and starts to track your child immediately.
However, the question is, is it really safe or are you putting your child in some kind of danger? This makes you wonder if these devices are really a savior or if they tend to have more negative effects than what you have assumed.
Harmful Effects of GPS Devices on Children
The biggest risk among all others is that these wireless devices make your child prone to constant electromagnetic waves in form of radio waves. This is because these rays are used to send communications to the nearest cell towers. A report published by The International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2011, which is a subsidiary of the World Health Organization, suggested that this radio-frequency energy is likely to be carcinogenic and it may put humans to hazardous risks.
Another study conducted by Swedish researchers which was published in “Pathophysiology” advocates that any device that uses radio frequency for communication poses great health risks for those under twenty years. The study also suggested that these devices make them prone to a specific kind of brain tumor. This means that kids are the most vulnerable to these harmful effects of radiations, as their bodies are in the development stage.
Dr. Devra Davis, who is the founder of Environmental Health Trust, states that “Children have a thinner skull, so the radiation penetrates much deeper than the adults.” The skull of a child keeps developing until the age of fifteen. Thus, it is necessary to limit their access to these devices at least until the age of twelve years because these are termed as critical stages of their lives. Researchers argue that children’s bodies absorb as much as ten times more radiations from the surrounding than what a normal adult’s body does.
Now let’s talk about the Bluetooth-driven GPS devices and how less useful they are for tracking purposes. It should be understood that these devices have a short range distance determination, which means that once your child moves out of that range, the device becomes purposeless.
The director of Communications at Open Rights Group Pam Cowburn suggests that “It is understandable parents want to do anything they can to keep their children safe, but they need to ask themselves whether tracking technology is really necessary and whether it will actually protect their children.”
From all the above arguments, there seems to be more harm that these devices cause than helping parents to be satisfied with the idea that their kids are safe.
Moreover, there is another perspective of these child tracking devices that Cowburn and some other experts agree with. They analyzed that these devices limit the children from being independent and being able to take care of themselves. Pam Cowburn says, “Parents need to teach their children to be independent and to be able to cope with risks and dangers.”
This means that as long as you want your child to wear these tracking devices, you are taking away their freedom and personal space. Your children, no matter how young or old they are, deserve freedom, privacy and some “me-time.” They have a right to enjoy liberty from adults and think about themselves as a responsible entity. This also needs to be developed from an early age so that they grow up to be sensible people who can make their own choices and decisions rather than relying on an adult’s supervision or assistance at all times.
Nevertheless, this is not as simple as that. When you begin tracking your children, it also means your excessive controlling behavior is compelling them to accept surveillance. They take it as they are constantly being monitored and taken care of by someone else so they can be care-free. This will hinder their mental capacity of believing in themselves and thinking that they are open to taking risks. They require autonomy of their activities and need to be told to watch out for themselves. It is important for them to realize that they should be vigilant of their environment and they should avoid participating in any kind of activities that they think can affect them in a bad way. This will make them feel responsible and learn to be active participants in their own lives rather than assuming that someone else will do these things for them.
What you should do as a parent
You, as a parent, definitely want your child to develop their skills to their fullest and would not allow anything to hinder that. You also understand that it is not merely the radioactive radiations that may harm their health, but equally important is the fact that you want to teach them the basic rules of life and to get acquainted with the worldly challenges as fast as they can in order to develop their mental capabilities.
So, what can you do as a parent if you do not want to track your children with these GPS devices?
Well, you should understand that no gadget can replace the kind of care and attention that a parent can give to their child themselves. Also, as a parent, you should realize that these gadgets give you a false sense of security and they can never be trusted. After all, it is a machine that is prone to faults and imperfections. You can never be sure if the child has already thrown the device away that you assumed they have been wearing. Also, these devices can never keep your children safe from criminals or offenders. Once the tracker is lost, thrown away or doesn’t work because of long distances, you will be left with nothing.
All of us are already exposed to more technological devices than ever before. Thus, there is no need for your child to have an additional device and be more vulnerable to chronic diseases. Their exposure to radiation-producing devices should be discouraged as much as possible and the parental attention that the children deserve should equally be encouraged.