CES 2009: LOK8U GPS child tracker watch – Big Mother is here

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The LOK8U GPS child tracker watch by nu.m8 has got a lot of servers wagging. I’ll do my best to avoid all the usual outrage but suffice to say, I’m not convinced it’s the best idea I’ve ever seen.

It’s essentially just a standard watch with a GPS chip fitted and you can then go to the nu.m8 locator site and get a lock on your kid. The watch itself is waterproof, robust and “designed to look cool” so that your kid will a) wear it, and b) not get kicked in for doing so. The trouble is, of course, that all the other kids will know what it means.

It’s aimed at 3-12-year-olds and the lower end of that would certainly be fine but 9 or 10 plus and you’re starting to look at a reason to be teased. What’s more it doesn’t exactly promote the biggest amount of trust between parent and child.

The LOK8U will work for 100 hours on each charge which is around four days and nights and that could be an issue if either you or your child, or both of you, are a little forgetful.

When the watch is removed it sends an e-mail of the location where it happened to the parent, so you know where your child was abducted. Sorry to say that but that’s what we’re talking about, isn’t it? I don’t think parents are too concerned whether little Jonny is out playing football or with a mate he’s not supposed to be with and if they are that’s a serious problem.

The service comes in a variety of packages from £5.99 upwards and had better have security tighter than a gnats chuff or there are people out there who’ll pay to have access to the whereabouts of thousands of registered children. Now, that’s a scary thought.

More CES 2009 coverage here

Daniel Sung

11 comments

  • I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

  • having read all the comments above I agree in principle about trust and children growing up however we had circumstances where by we need to have a device in order to protect our children we did purchase a watch and can i say we would have been better throwing the money down the drain first it is not water proof it did in fact fall of one of the children while playing and the time it took to get information and location the child could have been the other side of the world if you are in a situation like us we recomend do not get this device and do not trust the saftey of your childrren to it

  • I think you need a bit more of a story with this as this isn’t really a news story in its current form. Perhaps you could write about why you like Michael so much
    It is hard to say such a thing is clear.
    Significant change, it is.

  • That was quite an insensitive thing of me to say, then, seeing as we’re now living in Austerity Britain.

  • Dear Mr.Sung,

    Apparently you have never had your child abducted to a non-Hague nation, an Autistic child run off in the middle of the night, nor a grandparent with Alzheimers. If you had, you would understand how desperate some people are to find a way to locate their loved one, and you would (momentarily) set aside your fears of a government take-over. Personally, I look forward to buying this watch as soon as it is on the market….anything to help lessen the stress of sending my son off for court-demanded visitations with a father from a non-Hague nation.
    Thanks.

  • “I’ll do my best to avoid all the usual outrage”

    Your best is not that great is it?

    Just had to shove the media tag lines in, Jeesh.

    Smart alec comments like “I don’t think parents are too concerned whether little Jonny is out playing football or with a mate he’s not supposed to be with” and your comment “and if they are that’s a serious problem.”

    “They” i.e Me, decent parents, ARE bohered.

    Thanks

    • I know that as a parent you have absolute concern for your children and if there is a piece of technology that allows us to keep tags on them at all times it equals a kind of safety in our heads but I also know that the overwhelming majority of children have been growing up very well for tens of years in modern society with out this level of surveillance.

      It’s important for children to learn the nature of trust within a relationship and not through forced compliance and it’s as important as parents to give our children that degree of freedom for ourselves. They need to work out who the wrong crowd is through their own means or they won’t be able to do it as adults and we need to be able to let them lead their own lives or we never will when they’ve grown.

      Perhaps my phrasing was crass in the post but it is something in which I firmly believe and it’s not right for either the child or the parent if our children our tethered, watched and scrutinised in this way 100% of the time. It’s just taking things too far.

      Thank you for writing though, JHanson. I think it’s a very pertinent point you made on a very important subject.

    • JHanson, you are perfectly right. Daniel just couldn’t help but write the review in a negative and derogatory way, in spite of his claim he was going to refrain from doing just that! Must have low tolerance for fair comment and high regard for his own opinions.

      “Perhaps my phrasing was crass” – you are dead right there Daniel.

      “I firmly believe and it’s not right for either the child or the parent if our children our tethered, watched and scrutinised in this way 100% of the time. It’s just taking things too far. (sic)”

      That’s your opinion and you are perfectly entitled to it. But a review of a gadget should be of its functionality and its suitability for that purpose not of you ramming your own biased opinions on others – use a political blog for that, not a gadget review.

      “I also know that the overwhelming majority of children have been growing up very well for tens of years in modern society with out (sic) this level of surveillance.” – Oh really? Try telling that to the parents of children like Madeleine Mccann and the thousands of disappeared children like her. It would be lovely if all children could play freely and unrestricted as we did in our childhood but the world is not as safe any more. That is a fact. Thousands of children cross the roads safely, but sadly thousands don’t. The roads are congested with traffic and nothing will stop that. Likewise There are more people who would harm your child. Nothing will change that.

      Oh but Daniel’s negative commentary is now going to make it more likely that children will see this in a negative light and that other kids will now kick their heads in for wearing it. Otherwise it would have been just another watch.

      The point is does this device do what it says on the box it will do or not irrespective of your view whether there is a need for such a device?

      Can it be applied to other uses? For example tracking a parent with dementia who has a tendancy to wander off?

      Does the device only send out an email when it is removed? What happens if it isn’t removed?

      The review was a wasted opportunity clouded by Daniel’s own bias that children are automatically safe. Did it occur to Daniel that a device like this may actually enable children to have more freedom and not less?

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