Sure, our parents and grandparents love to remind us how they walked 3 miles to school, through sleet and snow, uphill both ways, but these days it's more common for parents to wait with their kids at the bus stop in the morning and meet them there again in the afternoon. But if your child sometimes walks to school, waits alone for the bus or bikes to a friend's house, you may have considered using a GPS tracker to confirm that he makes it safely there and back.
It's comforting to think that a simple device could help to save your child from potential predators, but whether a GPS tracker is effective in this situation depends largely on whether the abductor discovers the device. Many trackers are worn like wristwatches or attached to a backpack in plain sight. And while some GPS trackers will send an alert if the device is clipped or removed, you won't be able to follow a trail if the gadget is left behind. One sobering statistic to consider: According to the Nemours Foundation, only 25 percent of children who are abducted are taken by a stranger. Most are taken by a family member or other close acquaintance who may very well know that the child has a GPS tracker.
If you've set a geo-fence perimeter on your child's GPS tracker, you'll be alerted any time the tracker crosses that boundary, so that alert could give you a head start in the unlikely event that someone does attempt to abduct your child. The bottom line: GPS trackers are not a substitute for adult supervision, and you may run the risk of giving yourself a false sense of security -- or giving your kids an exaggerated fear of being abducted.
Next up: Can GPS trackers keep your kids safe when they're in the care of someone you know?