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Insignia "Little Buddy" Child Tracker

2 Ratings: -1.0
A device that combines GPS and cellular technology to provide you with real-time location updates

Keep tabs on your child at all times with this small but sophisticated device that combines GPS and cellular technology to provide you with real-time location updates. The small and lightweight Little Buddy transmitter fits easily into a backpack, lunchbox … see full wiki

1 review about Insignia "Little Buddy" Child Tracker

Technology marches on but is this really a good idea?

  • Nov 2, 2009
  • by
Rating:
-1
I'll tell you what--I just don't know what to make of this one.  A few moments ago I saw a news story about a new device being offered exclusively at Best Buy called the "Little Buddy" Child Tracker.  It seems that for just $99.00 you can purchase a device that appears to be about the size of a flash drive that you can place in a backpack or lunch box and will track your child wherever he/she goes anywhere in the United States!   You can check your child's whereabouts at any time using a smartphone or computer at a monthly cost of about $15.00.  You can even  designate a perimeter that your child is supposed to stay in.  Perhaps my perspective is a bit jaded because I am not a parent myself but my initial reaction to this idea is that it is a bit creepy. 

My concerns about this idea stem from an excellent  book I read a couple of years ago entitled
"A Nation of Wimps:  The High Cost of Invasive Parenting".  Authored by the award-winning writer and editor-in chief for "Psychology Today" Hara Estroff Marano, the book postulates that many parents today are guilty of drastically overprotecting their kids.  According to a review of this book from Publishers Weekly:  "Marano likens many parents to hovering helicopters or snowplows trying to remove all obstacles. The unfortunate result is that children become increasingly fragile, unable to make decisions or cope with failure. Interspersing her text with interviews from experts and cutting-edge research, Marano follows the trail from heavily programmed preschoolers and overprotected grade school kids to stressed out, overachieving high school students and dependent college kids caught in a rising campus mental health crisis (thanks to cellphones, the new umbilical cord, they carry their parents in their jeans pockets).  For me perhaps the most radical example of overparenting cited in "A Nation of Wimps" is the web-based service known as "Zangle" that actually allows parents to visually monitor their children at school.   Very scary stuff indeed!   It would seem to me that the "LIttle Buddy" Child Tracker would only serve to exacerbate the problem!

As is the case with most technology I can certainly think of instances where limited use of a device like the "Little Buddy" Child Tracker might prove appropriate for a short period of time.  But my fear is that this device will just be another excuse for parents to abdicate their responsiblitles.  It seems to me that parents need to build a trusting relationship with their kids and allow them to make their own choices, take risks and even fail from time to time.  I think this technology will tend to stifle all of that.  For seven years I sold cell phones for a living.  I was always astonished when a parent came into my store intent on purchasing a phone for their nine year old.  I always heard the same story.  They wanted to be able to keep track of what their child was doing at all times.  For those who share this mindset the "Little Buddy" Child Tracker" just might be a godsend. I fail to share the enthusiasm.  But this is a really fascinating topic and I suspect there will be a wide variety of views on this one. Looking forward to hearing yours! 
Little Buddy Child Tracker 1 Technology marches on but is this really a good idea? Technology marches on but is this really a good idea? Technology marches on but is this really a good idea?

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November 06, 2009
My wife and I will be taking our two young grandsons to Disney World shortly. My son and daughter-in-law will be going as well so the four adults SHOULD be able to concentrate on not losing sight of the children. The fact is that as a realist, that is almost impossible. There have been moments when the 6 year old "hid" from me in a store. Believe me, I lectured him for 10 minutes - it took that long for my heart rate to normalize anyway. For those few seconds, I would have paid anything to know where he was. I checked on several devices including the Verizon Chaperone and an Amber Alert unit. The Amber unit is expensive and the Chaperone is fine if you have the right phones (Chaperone enabled) and you have a phone line on a month to month rather than a 2-year deal. You can turn the Chaperone on and off by controlling your account on-line. I haven't studied the "Little Buddy" long enough yet to comment. Too many people think that Big Brother is watching or that parents are over-reaching. The threat of getting a beating from my father sometimes was enough to change my mind about doing something stupid. Maybe the thought that Mom and Dad are watching via GPS will help deter poor decisions?! Anyway, these devices can offer a great supplement to good parenting, but they shouldn't replace it! Still, they have a time and a place. Before I go to Disney, I will probably have researched every option. Whether I get it or not is a personal choice. Don't chase technology away from parents by using their privacy as a defense. There are a million solid applications for this device. Given that there are so many single parents working and so many bad people out there, we should be seeking as many advantages as possible to know where our kids are at all times. Embedding devices is my next step and if I had the money, they would have had them already!
November 06, 2009
You bring up some excellent points here. This is a situation where the technology could be very useful on a temporary basis. As I said in the review this is a fascinating subject and it seems everyone has a little bit different take on it. Thanks for your comments.
 
November 03, 2009
Here is the problem with the "Little Buddy" Child Tracker that no one is addressing: this device isn't implanted IN the child like a microchip is in a pet. This is a "flash drive" size item that is placed in a lunch box or backpack - so for the parents who want to use this as a "safety measure" against abduction- well you'd better hope they (child & kidnapper) take the lunch box or backpack with them. And wouldn't the "evil person" will also be aware of this new gadget and make sure it is swiftly removed &/or destroyed? This is basically a waste of $100 + $15 monthly service fees on purchasing false safety Perhaps educating kids on the dangers of strangers and possibly self-defense classes might be more productive instead of hoping the flash drive stays with the child?
 
November 03, 2009
I like the review and topic. I can see where you are coming from on parents that shirk their responsibility by using this device. Honestly no device or baby sitter or GPS will help that type of parent or person. Of course as with any technology there will be those who use "Superpowers for Evil". I would not be surprised if makers of Little Buddy face a law suit from this type of parent, who is busy sipping their coffee and texting at the park when their kid wonders off. However the parent and protector in me says bring all the child trackers you can and I will be more than happy to test them out on my dogs then my kid. Every day there is an evil person out there who is taking kids, 9 years old, 12 years old, 4 years old, 6 years old all in October alone made national news. Since the law wont let us truly track the evil people, who have a history of evil, than I say track your kid to the best of your ability. GOD forbid something happen to them, you will have a jump start on finding them before it's to late. I remember when Best Buy first had the ad online, there were people saying it was the Gov't setting the stage to track us.....Hey they don't need little buddy for that, your cell phone, traffic cams, satellite photos, google maps, drone planes used in the wars and you cars all have an eye on you. However, I can understand their point about those who use "Superpowers for Evil". I champion anything that helps me, emphasis on ME, protect and raise my child. Ask a parent from "Columbine" about Zangle and I bet they would give anything to go back in time and have Zangle there to help eliminate the confusion and unknown when "Evil" struck that school and community. If Zangle could have given officers and SWAT a view of who, where and what was happening in the school. If it allowed law enforcement to respond minutes or seconds faster and hopefully eliminate the threat and save even one life then what would be said about Zangle. As far as a "Nation of Wimps" I could not agree with that phrase more, but I would not stamp hovering parents and kids with that label...give that one once again to our weak politicians, tolerant judges and pitiful attorneys. They are the ones who establish laws and determine case law. I will take a over-protective, hovering, loving mom and a kid who is learning their way through life with a little fear any day of the week over a mom with a broken heart and a missing child or worse. Please don't misunderstand me, I appreciate the RIGHTEOUS politicians, judges and attorneys out there fighting the good fight. Its a tough road to travel and a job I would never want to have.
November 03, 2009
Thanks for your very thoughtful and incisive remarks. You have given us all a lot to chew on here.
 
November 02, 2009
I do agree with you, but as the mom of a young child--and an only child, at that, I also find this product tempting. Not because I always want to know where my kid is all the time (I don't, in fact) but because, if he's abducted or something, it would be easier to locate him. I want my kid to develop problem solving skills, and learn to do his own laundry, and not have to depend on me. But he's four, and at such a young age my job is, after all, to protect him. I like to think there's a happy medium, and that we can utilize modern technology without being lazy or bad parents. There's nothing more compelling than the fear of losing a child. I understand fully that the market uses this fear constantly to sell products. There's a reason why it works.
 
November 02, 2009
Interesting review. I am nowhere near the status of "ready-to-be-a-parent", but this product gives me something to think about until those days come!
 
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