Technology puts teens on a virtual leash

By Emily Hall Features Production Editor


A man is showing his parents, brothers, sisters and children around the National Mall, and as he struggles to maintain order he sees a mother across the street doing the same thing—but with apparent ease. No, her children are not a leash, they have arm bands with a GPS so she can keep track of them in the crowd at all times. While this is unfamiliar, it may soon become common place as technology enables parents to switch from a physical leash to a virtual one.

Ionkids Tracking System
According to, this GPS allows parents to locate their children with “the click of a button.” The system consists of a base unit for the parent to use and a “fun to wear” wristband with a “strong locking mechanism” for the child. The underside of the wrist tag has sensors for the child’s skin. The intention of this product is to ensure that no third party attacks or abducts a child while he is away from the supervision of his parents.

AllTrack USA’s Car Chip Pro
This GPS is used to monitor the driver of a car. The Car Chip Pro records the time and date of each trip, distance traveled, speed and idle time among other information. There is even an available user-set alarm system that beeps when the driver accelerates too fast or speeds. The parent receives reports from the alarm system and all other recorded information. According to the system also comes with software that enables a parent to put it into spreadsheets for “further analysis.”

My Mobile Watchdog
This system allows parents to monitor their kid’s text messaging, e-mail and Internet use, including Facebook and Twitter. According to, the system “safeguards” the child and enables the parent to receive alerts if the child gets unapproved e-mail, text messages or phone calls. My Mobile Watchdog is used to create a safe internet environment through the use of parent-personalized website connected to the child’s cell phone. Possible functions are an authorized contact list, logs of unauthorized cell phone activity, and the ability to label certain contacts as suspicious or unapproved.

Windows7 Control Panel from Windows Vista
Included in the Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate editions of Windows Vista this program enables parents to set appropriate limits on game playing, web browsing and children’s overall computer use. According to this built-in feature enables parents to decide what websites children visit and when they visit them.