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.
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.
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.