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Teachable Moments February 2015
A Newsletter for radKIDS' Parents and Families
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Your Kids are Special 

Making your child feel special on Valentine's Day:
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  • Do something for someone else, a neighbor or friend in need.
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  • Tell them how much you love them, because that is what Valentine's Day is all about!
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 radKIDS Inc.

9 New Venture Drive
S. Dennis,
MA  02660
(508) 760-2080
 

  radKids Weighs in on

GPS Tracking Devices for Children 

 With all of the technology surrounding every aspect of our lives there is such much discussion about keeping children safe from the danger technology poses; having safety filters in place for when your child is exploring online or being mindful of your child's social media usage, but is it possible that technology can help to keep children safe from harm? Global Positioning System technology or GPS tracking devices are being utilized by parents to ensure their children are safe by tracking their location, which could be priceless in the case of an emergency. However, some see the use of GPS tracking devices as overreaching or a cause for unnecessary stress for parents. radKIDS did the research so you can decide which side of the GPS tracking debate you land on. 

 

Types of GPS tracking devices:

 There are wearable GPS tracking devices that are disguised as watches in various colors which make them more appealing to children and undetectable as a tracking device to others. The watch like tracking devices are becoming ever more popular because children are more willing to wear them and unlike the ones which can be placed in your child's backpack they will stay connected with your child regardless if they have their backpack on or not.

 

 hereO Watch
The hereO watch is the smallest GPS tracking device especially designed for children, age 3 and up, currently on the market. The watch comes in various colors and designs to appeal to children. It allows parents to locate their child at any time and look back on their past locations. There is an emergency feature which sends a message with the location to parents if the emergency button is pressed or the watch is removed. The hereO watch connects with an App which parents can have installed on their Smartphone. The App allows parents to check their child's location at any time and create Safe Zones and receive notifications whenever a child leaves or enters into a Safe Zone. The App is family orientated, allowing for it to be downloaded on the entire family's phone so family members can share their location or be located if the App remains running. The App is available on both iPhone and Android phones. The hereO watch is $179 with a 3 - month free subscription to the App which costs $4.75 a month thereafter and begins to ship starting in April, but is currently taking pre-orders.
hereO Watch 
 

Caref GPS Phone Watch

The Caref GPS Phone Watch is another small watch like GPS tracking device in varying colors to be appealing to children. The device allows for voice and text features, with the child being able to send and receive messages to and from parents. There is an SOS button feature, which when pressed sends the location to the App and begins to call the list of pre-programed phone numbers and calls until one picks up. The Caref keeps a recorded history of the child's locations over a span of 3 hours. It allows for Safe Zones to be created and sends alerts when the child enters and exits. Alerts can also be sent out when the child is going above a pre-determined speed limit. The App allows for parents to locate all of their children at the same time. The device sends out a low battery alert. The App is available on both iPhone and Android phones. The Caref GPS Phone Watch is $100 and requires a data plan, which range from $9.95 a month to $21.95 a month. 

Caref GPS Phone Watch Video for more info

 

Caref GPS Phone Watch

 

Filip Watch

The Filip is now out with a second model and is another GPS locator device in the form of a colorful watch designed for children. It allows for two-way calling with up to five pre-programed phone numbers, the child can scroll through the list and call with the push of a button. Those five pre-programed phone numbers are able to call into the device and send text messages. Using the Filip App parents can see their child's location at any time and if the parents have multiple children they can have access to all of their locations in the single App by creating different profiles. The Emergency Mode feature allows for children to press the emergency red button and it then begins to call each of the five pre-programmed phone numbers until one answers. When the Filip is in Emergency Mode it records the phone call and all background noise and sends alerts of the child's location every sixty seconds to the App until the emergency is canceled. The Filip also allows for Safe Zones to be created and alerts sent when the child enters and exits the Safe Zones. The App is available on both iPhone and Android phones. The Filip is sold for $149.99 and requires an AT&T service for $10 a month. 

Filip video for more information 

 

Filip Watch

Amber Alert GPS Device

The Amber Alert GPS device is a handheld tracking tool which can be attached to your child via a lanyard, a wrist or ankle attachment or clipped onto a backpack or belt. This device is a service through AT&T, requiring a monthly service, which allows for two-way calling with one designated phone number. A system of alerts to parents, through an App, text and e-mail feature, signals parents when their child enters and exits the created safe zones, presses the SOS button, exceeds a certain speed limit or is in close proximity of register sex offenders' homes.  Simultaneous alerting is available to alert more than one person at a time. The device has a feature which allows parents to adjust to a silent mode during school time. Alerts will be sent with the device has been turned on or off and if the location hasn't been reported for four hours. The App is available on both iPhone and Android phones. The Amber Alert GPS device is sold for $125 with either a $15 or $18 a month plan attached. 

Watch Amber Alert GPS Video for more information 

 

Amber Alert GPS

 

Factors to keep in mind:

While these devices could be of great use in the event of an emergency situation within your family, there are important factors to think about before incorporating any of these devices into your daily routine. Each device has a pre-determined battery shelf life and may be limited to where in they can work in terms of location. Below you will find the battery life and location functionality of each device.


 

Battery Life:

hereO Watch: Up to 60 hours - charges with a USB cord

Caref GPS Phone Watch: Between 1 and 2 days - recharging needed at night

Filip: Up to 48 hours - should be charged every night for 8 hours

Amber Alert GPS: Up to 40 hours - uses 880 mAH Rechargeable Lithium Ion battery


 

Location Functionality:

Another factor to consider is where these devices will actually work. Does your child need to be within cell phone signal range? Does it only work in the United States? Below find the answers to these questions.

hereO watch: Works in up to 120 countries through a cellular service Wyless

Caref GPS Phone Watch: Doesn't currently work internationally, but will within the next year. Requires cellular service.

Filip: Doesn't work internationally and requires AT&T cellular service in order to                                  utilize GPS location.

Amber Alert GPS: Doesn't work internationally and requires AT&T cellular service in order to utilize GPS location.


 

Bottom line is... 

Learning more about these devices and weighing the benefits against the possible drawbacks is essential to deciding if a GPS device would work within your family. These devices have the possibility to be helpful and create peace of mind if used in conjunction with the radKIDS techniques and decision-making strategies your children already know because nothing can take the place of an educated child and family on essential safety plans.  

 

These devices can allow for children to have more freedom and create a sense of security, but it is also important to decide if these tools are absolutely necessary for everyday life. radKIDS have the techniques and skills to keep them safe and these GPS devices can be used as an extra safety tool if necessary and properly utilized.

    
After evaluation and research it appears the hereO watch and Filip watch are the most suitable, practical and reliable of those evaluated. The hereO watch and Filip are similar, with the exception that the Filip watch allows for two-way communication between parent and child which could be more useful for older children and the unique recording feature available when the watch is in emergency mode, which could be critical in an emergency situation. The hereO watch is most useful for younger children or perhaps children with Autism who wander away from parents because of the simple functionality of the watch.  These devices can give parents peace of mind and create an extra security feature within the family in the rapidly changing and evolving world our children are growing up in.

Again, GPS tracking will never replace the need for personal education and training that empowers our children with real skills and the ability to plan and adapt to the circumstances surrounding them.  But with that being said we continue to look for tools and options that will allow our children to not only live safer and be safer in our world today. We hope this information will add to your options and tools as well in caring for your children and those friends and families in your community.