LG’s child-tracking wristband is a dangerous step towards normalising surveillance

LG’s new child-tracking Android wristband promises increased safety for its young wearers and peace of mind for their parents, but it could be more suited to Big Brother.

The device, called Kizon, uses location services and wi-fi to map a child’s location. This information is reported to an Android app that parents can use to track their child’s every move.

While this tracking system might seem sufficiently overbearing to some people, Kizon’s surveillance does not stop there.

The watch is equipped with a single button that the child can use to call a parent or answer incoming calls from parent-approved numbers. However, if little Johnny doesn’t answer his mother’s call within ten seconds, the device automatically connects the caller to a built-in microphone, enabling the parent to listen in on the child’s conversations and activities.

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Kizon’s battery lasts 36 hours between charges and notifies parents when it dips below 25% battery, allowing them to remind their son or daughter to recharge the device before it runs out of power.

The Kizon wristband comes in pink, blue or green and is decorated with hearts or automobiles, giving it the appearance of a fun, kid-friendly accessory. But will children appreciate, or even benefit from, the lack of privacy that Kizon entails?

For some kids, continuous surveillance from parents could cause dependency or paranoia. Perhaps worse, children could become accustomed to constantly being watched. The idea of a generation of young people who are not bothered by this kind of tracking and eavesdropping is unsettling.

Parents who equip their children with Kizon will undoubtedly have the best of intentions, and the device could be helpful in some situations. Children will be able to play and explore outside the home without their parents worrying about their location, which may give them more freedom.

However, widespread use of Kizon-like devices could result in the implementation of similar surveillance technology for other aspects of society.

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Indeed, Kizon is also being marketed for the elderly as a way for caretakers to monitor their health and whereabouts remotely. Again, this application could be beneficial to users, allowing the elderly to receive quick help or treatment in crisis situations. But with the oldest and the youngest in our society set for such tracking, the spread of surveillance does not seem so unlikely, and more dubious applications could develop.

The initial use of Kizon certainly does not spell doom for our society, but disguised in its pink hearts and blue automobiles is the potential for the dystopian future we read about and guard ourselves against.

Kizon will be available for purchase in the US and Europe in September. Snatch one up if child surveillance appeals to you.


Preview: Factor iPad magazine Issue 1 – World Cup Edition

With the first issue of Factor’s digital magazine set for release next month, here’s what you can expect from our inaugural edition.

With the upcoming FIFA World Cup being held in Brazil, we will be looking at sport’s relationship with technology, science and innovation.

The issue will be released as a fully interactive iPad magazine with easily digestible features, the highest quality images and video produced by the Factor team.

Inside you’ll be able to submerge yourself in how data is transforming the way sports teams train, approach matches and major tournaments. This will include a look at the latest technologies that are allowing athletes to analyse their every move in a bid to improve their performance.

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The first kick of the World Cup is set to be made by a paralyzed teenager who will walk onto the field using a high-tech exoskeleton. We explore how bionic technology is rapidly developing and giving new possibilities to those who have suffered large traumatic incidents.

Away from the summer of sport we speak to Outernet, the US company that want to provide free internet for the world, as they take on rival projects from Google, Facebook and the other internet giants.

You can find out how to turn your home into a smart house, discover if police in the UK are misusing databases and discover how robots are are being introduced into our lives.

We also explore the history of 3D printing and a take a retrospective look at concepts from the past and see if they managed to live up to their designer’s ambitions.


“Our readers want to know how their life is going to be in 10, 20 years”


Continuing the overarching sporting theme of the issue, we speak to drone operators who are using devices to capture a new angle on the biggest sporting events and there’s also a visual look at the indisputable referee that is Hawk-Eye.

We ask how far we can push the boundaries of the human body as technology and medical science is taking sportsmen and women beyond tradition human capabilities, and round up the latest news and reviews from the world of innovation, design and research.

Factor’s editor Lucy Ingham said: “Our readers want to know how their life is going to be in 10, 20 years, and what technologies are going to change the way they live. We focus on emerging technologies and consider the potential impact they will have.”

Issue #1 of Factor for the iPad will be out in the first weeks of June and then every month after. To keep up to date with the latest developments follow Factor on Twitter and ‘Like’ our page on Facebook.