Wanted: newborn baby, cooperative parents and computer programmer

My pal was telling me about this cool GPS unit that pigggybacks onto his Palm, and it only cost him $40. I started thinking…

Hang one of these on a newborn, write some code to keep a continual position record, get a BUNCH of batteries, and you can track every inch of movement of a person’s entire life.

It seems that it would be really useful information, though I can imagine more cynical market-based uses for it than I can beneficial ones.

What is the morality of this? If you can convince parents to do it at infancy, at what point do you need the children’s consent to continue? Would knowledge on the part of the parents or child study subject that their movements were being tracked skew the “norm” you’re trying to define? Could you control for this?

Something about this reminds me of “The Truman Show.” The movie featuring Jim Carrey.

I see your point, but I’m not suggesting swallowing a person’s whole life for entertainment. It seems this could be accomplished with ethical standards.

One question: why would anybody need, or want, data that proves that for the first 5 years, the kid basically goes nowhere? And that for the next 13 years, the kid still basically goes nowhere? “Morgan Smythe-Ferriswheel-Jones, still at N3350.30000 W09647.72000 for the 229th consecutive week and holding…”

Admit it–all anybody is really interested in is where the kid goes once he’s 18 and out of the house. And by then, the issue of “when should the parents take the battery pack off the kid” is moot, 'cause the kid ain’t a kid no more.

We’ll have to find some other way to check up on our kids at college. :smiley:

(and yes, I know she’s out in the middle of Lake Texoma, so she’s fishing, so what?)

I saw a tv show the other day that was talking about parents who had camera’s in the kids rooms,But more what i was interested in< a gps system that you put in your kids car and it shows where the car is at and how fast it was going . My kids will definatkey have one of these because i remember my youth and me having the car somewhere when I told my mom i was at church. :slight_smile:

Yeah…find a way to mount the unit in junior’s sneakers or juniorette’s purse so you can track them on the weekends.

Or, better yet, make it so it can be remotely activated in case of an abduction. They don’t show up on time, you press a button, and the GPS activates and shows you where they are.


Architects, urban planners or sociologists might want to know. Early on it would be a track of where the parents TAKE the child. I could see homes being redesigned based on motion studies. I can see urban transport using info like this for safety studies. And consumer products makers creating new “convenience” products.

I can see pediatricians interested in how much distance a toddler travels in a day. If you sample frequently enough, and positional accuracy is high enough, you can probably distinguish from the data whether the child is crawling or being carried by an adult.

Regarding other comments about parents spying on their kids, in a real study the parents would not have access to the data. I’m not sure if the data could be protected from the legal system, if a claim arose that the subject committed or witnessed a crime or something like that.

Once you get thirty, forty years into a study like this, it would seem to be a goldmine of sociological data. And of course, for practical reasons you can plan the study to cover various age groups simultaneously, though I admit the idea of collecting a lifetime’s worth of data is more interesting to me (even though I won’t live to see the results).

I suppose the more I think about this idea, the more seriously I take it.

Yah, it’s the Thin End Of The Wedge. Next thing you know, we’ll all be wearing the Mark Of The Beast on our foreheads.

[holy roller preacher voice]

BAR Codes!
The END of EV-ah-rything!

[/holy roller preacher voice]

Bring it on, say I. :smiley:

[sub]can I get an “amen”?[/sub]

Would this gizmo tell whoever was interested when and where we fire up our first fattie? Not to mention, ahem, other stuff.

geez… sounds like you want to implant a baby with a microchip that has gps program on it, so you can keep track of it.

as far as i know, you need parents permission until age 18 and then you need the kid’s permission.

now, if the kid decides to sue you prior to 18, it will be very hard for the court to say the parents can force the kid to keep the gps on them.

there are a few court cases that defined a child’s rights, even though the child lives with parents.

i am not a lawyer and don’t have time to research this further, but i do remember seeing cases regarding this. from my vague recollection, it was more about privacy issues.

if this case goes to court, it becomes an argument on why the parents are imposing this over the objection of the child. a hard argument to make, unless it is for the welfare of the child and not for monetary benefits.

Okay that is as much as i know about the legal part.

I cannot see any moral problem, unless it is for money. Then it is sort of exploiting the child.

Okay controlling the fact that the parents/child will act differently because of the gps…
I cannot think of any way. When people cannot think of a way to control, they will use deductive reasoning. Like overtime people will forget or overtime people will revert back to normal routines. Studies have been done where people were secretly videotaped and compared to people that were told that they were videotaped.

Maybe it’s just because I’m not too far out of my teenage years (I’m 20) but the thought of having been tracked by GPS all my life is really scary. Can’t people trust anyone anymore? Kids will be kids, and there will be a time when they’re gonna go against what their parents want them to do (i.e. go somewhere other than where they said they’d be) but is it more reasonable to assume that that’s exactly what a child would do, even before they do it? I mean, start tracking a newborn just in case when they’re 15 they sneak out of the house? Better parenting practises and dealing with issues and problems when they happen seems like a hell of a lot more reasonable approach to me. Besides, kids will figure it out eventually, and they’ll find some way to screw up the system…I don’t believe this could ever be all that effective. It allows parents to give up a certain amount of responsibility, effectively saying “If the kid goes somewhere he/she shouldnt, I’ll know by GPS and punish him”. It’s threatening the kids rather than saying “You know, I really wish you wouldn’t do that. If you want to go someplace, let me know, we can talk about it”. That’s how my parents viewed things, and when I went behind their backs, I was punished for that event, and that event only. I wasn’t restricted afterwards, and my parents trusted me to do the right thing next time. There are always ups and downs with raising kids, but there are much more reasonable ways to handle those problems than GPS tracking.
It’s like the NetNannys, and TVNannys and everything else designed to relieve parents of the stress of having to ensure that their kids are exposed to only “decent” material. If kids cant get it at home, they’ll get it somewhere else. I’m not against putting filters or restrictions on TV or Net access for young kids, but I also feel that parental involvement and education is much more of an infulence on children than is the little v-chip in the TV. Parents seem to assume nowadays that the world is out to corrupt their kids, and so they set up all these barriers…teach the kids about the world, let them know what’s acceptable behaviour and what isn’t, and take responsibility for your child’s behaviour. If all a child knows is that something is “off limits” but doesn’t know why, then how can you punish him/her for wanting to find out about it?

The world doesn’t exist for the sake of babysitting your child. School’s aren’t there to teach your child everything, and if you need to rely on GPS, NetNanny, V-chip etc to keep your child in line, then you need to reevaluate yourself, how you relate to your kids, and how the time you spend with them is spent. Otherwise you end up with overprotected, naieve children who, once allowed to do things on their own once they reach adulthood, will have no clue how to deal with the world, and the problems so conveniently avoided when they were growing up will be twice as difficult to handle once they’re expected to behave in the “real world”.
I have no kids. I have little experience with raising them. But I do know how I was raised, I see university students go wild in their first semester because they’re finally “free” of overbearing parents, and I hear many stories from my mom and other teachers about how young kids are being raised, or how parents assume morals and decent behaviour are covered in school, as well as math and reading. So the above is just my (somewhat uneducated) opinion, but there it is anyways.
I see the merit in a sociological study, or in learning about toddler movement, etc, but I think this is just way too extreme.

Since the General Question has been answered, I’m going to close this thread. Folks wishing to discuss the morality (or intelligence) of this idea are welcome to open a thread in Great Debates.