Knowing Where Your Child Is: Invasion of Privacy or Not? I Think Not.
I feel like I’m always talking about parenting or something related to children. Besides having my own kids, my job is to market and sell a technology product for kids which always sparks a discussion and sometimes a disagreement. Why? Because parents have a lot of opinions and we love to share them, even if it means criticizing someone else. Yes, I’m putting myself right in this judgy bucket despite how much I can’t stand it. I’m only human and parenting is hard. Unfortunately this parent-shaming culture that I occasionally find myself involved in follows me to work.
My company, Jiobit, creates location tracking technology. Our first product is a wearable location tracker for kids. Parents love talking to me about what I do, how the product works, how I use it, and where the idea came from. In general I get great feedback from parents in my networks - they are usually very receptive and many have become Jiobit customers.
On the other hand, some parents are skeptical of this relatively new concept. “You mean you have to look at your phone to see where your kid is? How about put the phone down and f-ing watch your kid?” Well, that would be great if I spent every waking moment with them, but if I want to know where they are when say… I’m at work... then a tracking device works for me. By the way I promise you’ll never find me tracking their location on my phone when they’re standing right in front of me. Aside from the judgy comments about me not being diligent in watching my kids, here are the other issues people have with my choice to track my kids:
It’s creepy or an invasion of privacy.
This blows my mind. When did it become creepy to know where our kids are? Two of mine are 3 and 5 and there’s no such thing as privacy, especially while I’m still wiping their butts. My older kids are 13 and 15 (no butt wiping on them) and of course we give them privacy, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t monitoring their cell phones or checking where they are. It’s parenting, not a breach of privacy. If you don’t agree, I’m probably judging you.
Someone could remove it and abduct my child.
Kidnappings do occur, so this is not to make light of those moments. As a parent myself this is definitely one of my worst fears. But the truth is that my worst fear is actually extremely rare: The stereotypical and most terrifying abduction - when a child is taken or lured by a stranger - represents only one-hundredth of 1 percent of all missing kids. So for a 0.01% chance that an abductor might snatch my child and remove their tracker, I’m going to forego the technology all together? Not a chance. It’s more likely that my crazy boys wander off at the zoo or get on the wrong bus home from school. When those things happen, I want to be able to find them immediately before they end up in the gorilla exhibit. Yes, I believe that could happen to anyone.
Hackers can see where my child is.
Now this I get. Data breaches are happening on a weekly basis (turn on the news). But here’s the thing… technology isn’t going anywhere, especially for our kids. Toddlers can operate iPhones and iPads better than most adults. Whether it’s a location tracker or toy, our job as parents is to be diligent when selecting what tech our kids are using and make sure it’s secure. I’m comfortable using a location tracker for my kids because I’m confident in the security measures that have been put in place. If you’re not sure, check out this article in CPO Magazine about what parents need to look for to ensure their child’s data privacy.
When it comes to parenting there is so much for us to consider. Opinions and judgement aside it’s a 24/7 job of weighing the risks against the benefits; trying to make the right decisions to keep our kids safe, happy, and healthy. Personally I’m going to take whatever precautions, within reason, in order to do that. These are just my thoughts. Would love to hear what you think.