What happens when a kid grows up thinking it is normal -- maybe even prudent -- to have no privacy whatsoever? We may soon find out. According to a piece by Peter Holley in the Washington Post:
News headlines about school shootings, missing person cases and random acts of violence can leave people feeling as though the threat of chaos is ever-present.
That can explain why, for some parents, the temptation to check in on a child is equally persistent.
Designed for family members, the app will launch this month and allow parents to set agreed-upon “check-ins” with their children or loved ones. Those check-ins arrive in the form of push notifications asking whether the phone’s owner is safe. If the recipient doesn’t respond “yes” to the notification, the app can determine everywhere that person has been and deliver that information to loved ones or law enforcement officials.
Pause to think what your childhood would have been like if every moment you were not immediately reachable by your parents, the assumption was that law enforcement should be summoned.
Using geofencing — a virtual boundary created for a real-world area — the app can also alert a parent when their child has left a particular area....
McMullen said his company’s technology is “nearly identical” to a program Three Square Market sells to law enforcement officials that allows them to monitor the movements of parolees without relying on ankle bracelets, which can be expensive and conspicuous. If they can monitor former inmates, McMullen said his team wondered, why not use the same technology to keep people safe?
Um, maybe because you're treating children like parolees?
“I have four daughters,” he said. “I want to know where my daughters are at if something ever happens to them.”
To live that way -- in constant fear of random violence, desperately requiring proof that your kids are still alive at regular intervals -- seems horrible, whether you're a parent (always terrified) or a child (assumed dead unless you can prove otherwise).
For a child with special needs, for an adult with dementia, for an actual parolee -- this technology could be terrific.
But for other parents and kids, this technology stands ready to undermine all trust in each other, in themselves, and the world. All for the low, low price of $9/month.