School Uniforms Equipped with GPS: Safety or Privacy Issues

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Children’s  safety at school has always been a major concern for not just the parents but also the school authorities.

For many years, innocent school children have been the most common victims of criminal activities. Since school children are the most vulnerable when they’re out for school, they are either kidnapped for ransom or drugged and transported overseas. 

Cases of missing children have become rampant in all parts of the world. All efforts to find a proper solution seems to have reached a dead-end. As desperate times call for desperate measures, some Chinese schools have found a way to safeguard their students.

Safety of School Students Across the Globe

Children’s safety has been a priority in our society but ironically, occurrences of missing children and other crimes against children happen every day in the world.

Although there are stern rules and punishment assigned to such crimes still it’s no use. Every parent, whether they belong to a developed or under-developed country, worry for their child’s safety.

Children are mainly attacked by criminals when they’re on their way to school, therefore, most parents drop and pick-up their kids from schools. But in case they’re running late due to a hectic work schedule or probable traffic, their children can be in a very unsafe situation.

There have been no assuring steps taken from any of the concerned authorities whatsoever. Students still go through extreme situations such as

  • Extortion

Students are often extorted for their money within the school premises by their seniors or even student from other schools.

  • Bullying 

The ugliness of bullying is known to all parents and it is also their worst nightmare. Students irrespective of their age are put through agony and lot of pain (both mental and physical) by other students who act like a bully. 

  • Other Malevolent Criminal Acts

Kidnapping, harming in any other way, transported to some other country after being sold to criminal organizations are the worst criminal acts that endanger a student’s daily life.

  • Chinese Schools Taking the First Step

The news first broke out last year, when ten well-known Chinese school authorities took the first impressive step towards the safety of students. The schools located in the southwest province of Guizhou designed a customize school uniform for the students and equipped it with GPS devices. The uniforms also dubbed as “intelligent uniforms” are embedded with high-grade computer chips manufactured by a tech firm based in the locality. These GPS chips can track a student’s location and are meant to keep a watchful eye on them. School authorities say that the intelligent uniforms were developed put an end to skipping of class. 

GPS-Enabled Uniforms from a Parent’s Point of View

Parents have mixed reactions to the idea of GPS enabled school uniforms. Some feel it’s going too far to stop kids from skipping their classes. Others have applauded the said action saying that it ensures student’s safety during school hours.

The state-run media has uncovered that the school administration has also installed high-performance facial recognition equipment throughout the school campus.

The reason for integrating facial recognition tech was to stop students leave school premises while they have classes going on. The equipment also makes it impossible for an outsider to enter the premises without permission.

Different Uses of GPS Uniforms

  • After installing intelligent uniforms in the schools, the administration has recorded a healthy rise in student attendance.  
  • The computer chips which are GPS enabled can also be used as a smart payment option for students to buy snacks from the school cafeteria. The addition of GPS would make purchase history available for both school authorities and parents.
  • GPS enabled smart uniforms could also aid in the smart management of students while they’re at school benefitting both parents and teachers. 
  • Safety concerns go out of the window when students are wearing GPS embedded uniforms. Parents can always effortlessly keep an eye on their ward to ensure that they’re in safe hands. Facial recognition is installed to prevent if an individual attempt to swap the uniforms between two students.
  • In case of missing student or any other dangerous situations, it can help locate the student. After that concerned authorities can provide them help and support that they require before it’s too late.
  • Extortion and kidnapping become nearly impossible if a student has their smart uniform on because their position and transactions are recorded in real-time. If anything, out of the ordinary happens, then parents or teachers can reach out to students.

Raising Red Flags of Privacy Concern

Even though, use of GPS enabled uniforms for school students seems to be a brilliant idea but, there are some security concerns left unaddressed.

School students being monitored during school hours is acceptable for most parents. But school authorities need of assure from stating that students will not be monitored after school hours to protect their privacy.

The people of Guizhou have laid bare their reactions through social media. Some have raised voices against the entire GPS enabled uniforms saying that it invades parent and children privacy.

Others have been agreeing to the proposed idea pointing out that this way, children can be safe from gangsters, hoodlums and even harsh acts of bullying. 

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