October 5, 2009

Parents Turn To Technology For Child Abduction Protection

In the aftermath of more infamous cases of child abductions, many parents are turning to technology in an effort to protect their children.

The case of Jaycee Dugard, which was uncovered in August, found that Dugard had allegedly been held captive in a Northern California backyard for almost 20 years.

The Associated Press cited information from Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, to show that there are currently about 800,000 missing children in the US each year.

But technology has an answer of its own. There are tracking devices of various shapes and forms that can allow parents to track the whereabouts of their children via GPS monitoring.

However, these methods also pose certain safety concerns as well.

"Tracking devices can be useful to parents," Allen told the AP. "Our concern is that they will be viewed as more than they are."

Security companies are marketing such devices as those that can be placed in children's backpacks, although some more invasive methods, such as implantable devices also exist.

Still, security firms say that these methods are not intended to be used as substitutes to good parenting.

"This is not tag and release," Todd Morris, CEO of BrickHouse Security, told the AP.

"But even the best parent, with the best intentions, can find it hard to keep track of their kids all the time."

BrickHouse markets a device called the BrickHouse Child Locator, which can help parents trace the path of their missing children. They usually work within a range of about 200 yards.

Other devices utilize GPS tracking, which allows parents to locate their missing children using a Web-based system.

"What you see on the market is that there are various products at every level," said Barry Wallace, chief executive of Intelent Technologies, Inc., told the AP. "But what people don't understand is it is not one-size-fits-all."


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