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Let Goofy Track Your Children 291

Rio writes "The Walt Disney Company unveiled a new wireless phone service that allows parents to track their children on a map using Global Positioning System technology, according to Local 6 News. The new "family friendly" service, called Disney Mobile, allows parents to decide who their children can call and when, the report said. The phone service will launch in June and has not been priced yet."
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Let Goofy Track Your Children

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  • coming next (Score:5, Funny)

    by caffeinemessiah ( 918089 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @10:56PM (#15072955) Journal
    implants based on GPRS/GPS to control where your kids go. if they leave their "safe zone", a tiny electric shock is delivered straight to their brain!! 1 year contract required.
    • Ah-ha! But can the kids tell where their parents are?
      • Explaining why to this day the Beaver still needs therapy.

        Wally? How come everytime we go to Larry's house mom and pop head straight to the bedroom?

        Geez Beav, I don't know. But I bet Eddie might.

    • Re:coming next (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jftitan ( 736933 )
      But what prevents them from being shocked to death if they are kidnapped?

      Really, if I had this so called 'implant', and I were kidnapped, then leave the safe zone... would this shocking stick keep shocking me if I stayed out of the 'safe zone'?

      But then, if I were kidnapped then I would rather be dead.

      (mind you I am drunk at this hour)
      • um....why are you getting drunk and reading slashdot?
      • In general what would happen if they left the safe zone?

        "Grandma took little Timmy to get ice cream, then, on the way he started shaking a lot. After a trip to the hospital (within the safe zone), Timmy was diagnosed epileptic."

        Though, it would be funny to see a real life equivilant to an IndexOutofBounds execption.
    • where in the brain? what kind of response are you looking for?

    • How about a Disney Vault for your kids. Disney lets you see them once every 15 years.
  • by tajgenie ( 932485 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @10:58PM (#15072965)
    I would LOVE to have a gps reciever that I can track remotely! I would put it in my car and if someone steals it, screw lojack; I'll wait till they cross the border and deliver my own brand of goofy-the-cop justice!
  • by xwipeoutx ( 964832 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @10:59PM (#15072969) Homepage
    Already innovating for his new pet company :o)

    Just waiting for the rants about people should be looking after their children...not technology.
  • by DwarfGoanna ( 447841 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @10:59PM (#15072970)
    Queue the "queue the 'why the hell can't people parent their kids anymore'" here.
    • Re:Oh great.... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ben0207 ( 845105 )
      Damnit! Its "Cue"! Not "Queue"!

      Sorry, I don't know why it makes me so angry, it just does.
      • Its pretty much both in this context. Cue meaning alert or tip, Queue meaning line up or start a line of people ... given that cue is derived from queue, this is an abiguous use where both modern day definitions are suitable to the context.
    • I hate it when insightful gets modded funny.
      While I don't think we need another 200 comment discussion about it, the parent is fucking right.

      End of story.

  • by zuki ( 845560 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @10:59PM (#15072972) Journal
    I don't know why, but reading this gives me a funny feeling that this type of technology could be easily perverted for some nasty stuff it wasn't meant for at all.

    Nothing in particular, but the concept of this thing sounds a bit....twisted.

    Time will tell.

    • Yep, parents PC is stolen and Mr Perv can track the kids until someone changes the password.

      I hope the GPS can be turned off at the handset, like parental override.
    • by leereyno ( 32197 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:10AM (#15074013) Homepage Journal
      Actually I would argue that it has already been perverted.

      A necessary part of being a kid is the ability to do an end-run around one's parents. This is necessary because it creates a balance of power that is very important to the development of that kid into an independent functional adult. Can you imagine how you would have turned out if your parents had actually been able to control EVERYTHING you did and experienced? Can you imagine the level of dysfunction? The disconnect from reality that would result? Just think of all the crap they tried to sell you that seems like a cold cruel joke and an insult to your intellect today. Now imagine being 30 years old and only just now realizing you've been had!

      This kind of technology brings us one step closer to a world where parents really CAN make their children into vessels for their own neuroses. The only effective means of mind control is information control. Control what people see and hear and you control what they think because you control what they think about. Developments like this make me fearful for the future of our civilization. If the day ever comes when your average kid never realizes that his or her parents are full of shit, then I'm afraid we're done for.

      • by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @04:12AM (#15074213)
        Can you imagine how you would have turned out if your parents had actually been able to control EVERYTHING you did and experienced?

        Great argument, wrong technology.

        This service (probably!) does not beam mind control rays into your head; it tracks where your child has been, and who s/he has been calling.

        "Stepfordism" and Trust but verify are two totally seperate concepts.

  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @10:59PM (#15072973)
    Since 9/11, the government has mandated that all mobile phones be able to pinpoint their location. This is simply Disney extending their capability to see where you/their phones are to you.

    From _gps_track_cellphones.htm []

    A Government Mandate

    In 2001, the Federal Communications Commission ordered mobile telephone carriers to add technology to handsets that pinpoint their location. The idea was to make it easier to track 911 calls.

    Some carriers adopted technology that used signals from cell phone towers to determine location. Others, including national carriers Verizon Wireless, Sprint and Nextel, went with GPS.

    Although Nextel is the only national carrier to offer GPS services, all new phones sold by these carriers are GPS- equipped. By the end of 2005, companies that chose GPS are supposed to have converted at least 95 percent of their subscribers to the phones, although some carriers have indicated they will ask the FCC for an extension.
  • by TheRealMindChild ( 743925 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:00PM (#15072981) Homepage Journal
    .... I can buy one for my daughter. While she is away for a day, just throw it into my shady islamic looking neighbors(the ones who let their dog shit in my lawn) no-windowed van. Call 911. Tell them I think I saw him take her... she has a DISNEY CELL PHONE! They find him. Mow him down without question. Everyone scratches their head in confusion. I have a shit free lawn.

    The End
    • Why fake a kidnapping when you can make a dog-napping reality?

      Then again, I like Rube Goldberg plans as much as the next guy. Next time, work in some monkies.
    • No but see, the Flying Spaghetti Monster put the shit there (with His Noodly Appendages) to fool you into believing that your neighbors had a dog. Until you can uncover a species that is the missing link between dog and poop, I'm afraid your logic is nothing but anti-religious hate speech.
    • by YeeHaW_Jelte ( 451855 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @06:43AM (#15074579) Homepage
      Only muslims don't generally take dogs as housepets because they're considered to be unclean -- but hell, who cares about details if they're really terrorists -- uhm, I mean muslim.
      • by utexaspunk ( 527541 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:07AM (#15075215)
        My wife is Arab and from a Muslim family, and many of her family friends here in the States who are also Muslim keep dogs as pets. Saying "Muslims don't generally take dogs as housepets" just because certain Muslims think they're unclean is like saying "Christians don't generally drink" just because some Christians think it's sinful. You can't make blanket statements about what Muslims believe any more than you can about Christians.
  • In summary... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bradbeattie ( 908320 ) <.bradbeattie. .at.> on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:00PM (#15072985) Homepage Journal
    Get the next generation comfortable with being tracked 24/7?
    • Re:In summary... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by noidentity ( 188756 )
      Or get the previous generation comfortable with thinking they're tracking the next generation, all the while the next generation is laughing at how idiotic the previous generation is, both for attempting to track them and making it so easy to avoid.
    • Re:In summary... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by westlake ( 615356 )
      Get the next generation comfortable with being tracked 24/7?

      and how many generations of kids past do you think were used to being tracked 24/7? assuming they had any significant mobility at all.

      anoymnity is a late twentieth century conceit.

      it doesn't exist in a rural society or small town. it didn't exist in a traditional inner city neighborhood. where territories were, if anything, even more rigidly defined.

  • So I guess... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lord_Slepnir ( 585350 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:01PM (#15072989) Journal
    So I guess that kids will come to think of goofy as a big brother

    Another false layer of security for parents that can't be bothered to actually raise thier children. All the kid has to do is to:

    1. Tell parents that they'll be over at billy's house for a while
    2. Parents see child over at billys house on thier GPS system.
    3. Kid leaves phone on doorstep of Billy's house, proceeds to go to the overpass to drop rocks on cars.
    That's the problem: its an easily defeatable system that makes it too easy to lull parents into a false sense of security.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:08PM (#15073014)
      That's why they need to be implantable.
    • And he knows that if I try to call him and he doesn't answer, and I check up on him and he did what you outline, he's grounded for three months. Think he wants to take the risk?

      I'm always amused by people like you. If any sort of tool isn't perfect, then the tool must be worthless. It's one more tool in the parenting arsenal.

      • So what if your kid is intentionally bad about recharging his phone? What if they are good about it and simply forget?

        At what point are you going to stop invading your kids privacy? When they start Middle School? High School(can only hope someone around them tells them whats up by then)? No, probobly not because you are going to then want to track them when they start to you finally say "here take this new phone, we have been tracking you your whole life like cattle or endangered birds but i

      • The answer to your question is "Yes". And you won't actually catch him at it until he's gone about 4 months into the 'dodging surveillance' cycle and progressed into actual criminal activity (petty crime, generally). Though you won't find out about it like that, of course: you'll hear about how you caught them the first time they dodged and they were just slipping away to buy porn and were embarassed. They DEFINITELY haven't been off drinking and having sex with adults they meet in clubs using fake IDs
    • That's why you don't tell them you can track it. If murders and bank robbers don't realize cell phones can be tracked I doubt a child will either.
    • by tgrigsby ( 164308 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:32PM (#15073122) Homepage Journal

            1. Tell parents that they'll be over at billy's house for a while
            2. Parents see child over at billys house on thier GPS system.
            3. Kid leaves phone on doorstep of Billy's house, proceeds to go to the overpass to drop rocks on cars.

      4. Cops show up at door with child.
      5. Child spends the next week in the bathroom trying trying to crap out my shoe.
      6. Child never pulls that stunt again.
      7. Child tells the story to his grandkids of the time he tried to pull a fast one on his Dad and ended up passing a size 11 Nike Field General...

      Works for me.

    • Re:So I guess... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MrNougat ( 927651 ) <.ckratsch. .at.> on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:33PM (#15073128)
      And without a GPS track:

            1. Tell parents that they'll be over at Billy's house for a while.
            2. Kid proceeds to go to the overpass to drop rocks on cars.

      No system at all is more easily defeatable than a simple system.

      I'm going to take a wild guess and say you don't have children. When parents want to use a tool to enhance the safety of their children, it's not because they can't be bothered to raise them; it's because they love them more than anything, and will try every avenue to make sure their kids are okay. Parents who can't be bothered to raise their children don't care whether the kids are dropping rocks off of overpasses or not.

      For those of you keeping score at home, another way to tell when someone doesn't have kids - when the server at the restaurant puts the silverware, full adult-sized water glass and piping hot plate of food immediately in front of the two year old in the booster seat; it's safe to assume that person doesn't have children.
      • And I'd like to cite a practice called "culling the herd." If your kids are too stupid to survive childhood, maybe they shouldn't. I wish there were real vampires. Humanity needs a real, dangerous predatory animal to keep its numbers in check.
        • And I'd like to cite a practice called "culling the herd." If your kids are too stupid to survive childhood, maybe they shouldn't. I wish there were real vampires. Humanity needs a real, dangerous predatory animal to keep its numbers in check.

          Actually, the social darwinists, such as yourself, fullfill the role of the beast quite nicely. There has never been any shortage of evil people who prey on other people, and such shortage isn't likely to occur.

        • A real predator will usually wind up going after the sick due to the herd working religously on protecting the young. Since your attitude is abberant and hinders the propagation of the species I have no qualms about sacrificing you to your vampiric fantasy.

          Have a Darwinian Day!

      • Your wording is a little hard to dechiper, but what I think you're saying is:

        "Yeah, the kids will be able to dodge the monitoring: who cares? Behavior control isn't what tracking is for: if something bad and outside their control happens to them (kidnapping, traffic accident, lost and need you to help them figure out where they are) this makes the parents' aid much faster and more effective. That's the point." If this is what you're saying, I agree, on the grounds that it's what I recall my parents doi
        • You're mostly right, but behavior control can be what tracking is for, too. If you craft the rules as "We know where you are, and if you don't answer your phone when we call it, there'll be hell to pay," then your kid has an incentive to be cool just knowing you could look up where they are at any moment, and might call.

          Should you, the parent, depend on a GPS phone as your only tether to your child when they're not within your range of view? No. Is a GPS phone an omniscient presence? No. Nothing wrong
    • Re:So I guess... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Yartrebo ( 690383 )
      It's not very hard to control kids ... a leash works well as a low tech device and I have read of them being used on kids (on slashdot no less) ... the issue is that these things are a major violation of privacy.

      To make matters worse, the kind of control-freak parents who tend use these kinds of tracking devices tend to be overly punitive. I wouldn't be surprised if the kid gets 3 weeks grounding for leaving the cell phone on the floor. I also wouldn't be surprised if the kid gets 3 weeks every time the sch
      • My mom used to keep me on a leash (harness, not collar, obviously) when I was like 2-4 years old in department stores (especially clothing, where there are about 1000000 places someone 2-3 feet tall can be completely concealed by the terrain). I learned to operate the latch when she wasn't looking and would wander off anyhow.

        It's very similar to this device. It's really nice to keep track of your kids in case they get in an accident of kidnapped or something beyond their control where they need your help
      1. Call child on phone and have them not answer because they left phone at Billy's.
      2. Child gets caught vandalizing cars on freeway. Cops heavily fine parent.
      3. Child gets old school justice and stands at attention for next week and a half.
      4. Child learns to call forward to Billy's cell which has no GPS tracking because Billy has good parents who trust him.
    • Re:So I guess... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jftitan ( 736933 )
      Well I'll put this comment on the layer of good parenting.

      First thing is, I have kids that I have taught to listen to their parents. (Even if I'm drunk, but the lesson is they will never know unless I tell them.) They have learned that whatever they do, I have already done it in the past. So either they tell me ahead of time, or I figure it out, and shit hits the fan.
      My kiddo' learned that if she goes to a club (she's 14), as club that I know is not suitable for a 14 year old, she is not all
    • by nobodyman ( 90587 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:57AM (#15073501) Homepage
      Another false layer of security for parents that can't be bothered to actually raise thier children.
      Let me guess - you aren't a parent. Perhaps this service is worthless for parents that have poor relationship with their children. But don't you think that this phone could be a valuable tool for good parents, too? How about this:

      1. Billy starts walking home from bus stop
      2. Stranger grabs Billy and forces him into The Van With No Doors and No Windows
      3. Stranger drives off.

      So, is being able to track your kid's GPS-enabled phone still worthless?

      There are actually some very good arguments in favor of giving your kid a cell phone. However, there are downsides such as
      • kids can easily exceed alotted minutes (usually inadvertantly).
      • too easy to sign up for costly services (ringtones, screensavers, whatnot) by pressing 4 numbers but often very difficult to cancel/unsubscribe
      • not as much control over who your child is talking to than the home phone

      So, a phone w/ parental controls and GPS goes a long way to addressing these concerns. I myself would have loved this phone back when I was a kid. When I was 15, my parents were pretty lenient about what I could do so long as I a) told them where I'd be b) who I'd be with and c) prove it (usually a phone call from me to check in). Not having a cell phone made it kindof a pain sometimes. Now parents can maintain the same rules but also give their kids a greater sense of freedom.
  • Okay... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gameforge ( 965493 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:03PM (#15072995) Journal
    I assume the kid would have to want their parents to see wherver they go, otherwise they could just turn the phone off? I know I always used to tell my mom that my battery died, when she couldn't get ahold of me (and I was up to no good =])

    Are there other phones with GPS capabilities? I could see a lot of useful applications for that - if they make it tiny & easy enough, it would eliminate the need for GPS receivers (obviously) - if I am in a large parking lot, at a sports event or something, it would make for a pretty easy way to meet up with friends & whatnot, if I can just get my phone to send their phone my GPS coordinates.

    It would sure make losing your phone a less painful experience...
  • How long until the government ruins this and starts tracking all of us based on our cell phones?

    Oh wait, they probably already do...

  • This should make it easy for the US Army to detect IUDs set off by Disney Mobile phones.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:12PM (#15073026)
    So...GPS is the "Goofy(tm) Positioning System" now?
  • by B11 ( 894359 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:13PM (#15073033)
    Welcome our new Disney overlords.
  • If only... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by garyr_h ( 955473 )
    Now if only the government can install GPS under our skin when we are born we will be all set.
  • This will be fun (Score:3, Informative)

    by nickgrieve ( 87668 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:29PM (#15073109) Journal
    Sources of GPS signal errors

    Factors that can degrade the GPS signal and thus affect accuracy include the following:

      The more satellites a GPS receiver can "see," the better the accuracy. Buildings, terrain, electronic interference, or sometimes even dense foliage can block signal reception, causing position errors or possibly no position reading at all.

    GPS units typically will not work indoors, underwater or underground.

    All I can see coming out of this is a bunch of already paranoid parents having panic attacks when Little Jimmy goes in his friends house, or jumps on a bus.
  • Sigh. Big Bother gets a face lift, and big floppy ears. And Enjoy your Happy Meal! Damnit!
  • Young Jack (Score:4, Funny)

    by rlp ( 11898 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:57PM (#15073244)
    "Quick! Get the coordinates of the Bauer kid"

    "Can't do it! He must have turned off the phone and removed the battery"

    "Damn it!"
  • Really dont see how this is anything but commidized peace of mind. Its not 1984 as some other posters have said, but its another example of a product in search of convincing potential customers that the value proposition really solves a currently existing problem.
  • ...were this anyone other than Disney.

    They are the most soulless company I can think of. They aren't doing this because they think they can make the service turn a profit, they want survey data on our kids so they can more tailor ( ie: bastardize ) stories to grab them in.
    • Have parents fill a form with the birthday of their kids. That way you know how old they are. Now, when you create a product targeted at some age range, all you have to do to sell that product is to find out where kids of a certain age tend to hang out.

      And you have the means to find the hangout place for kids with the cells they use. Usually, a company spends some big bucks for that kind of information. This way, parents will pay them to give that info.
  • If it gets hacked so that anyone can track the kids carrying these, it would be a child molesters dream come true, wouldn't it? Sure you can argue that all phones technically could be tracked but how many of you think Paris Hilton would be waving one of these around? The target audience that will be holding them will be kids so the demographic work for the hacker has been taken care of.

    I for one have a handful of very young siblings that I wouldn't want this to happen to. If my parents ever get one for t
  • Can your kid Drive and merge with Goofy into Valour form, and then wield two cellphones?! Because that would be awesome.
  • The best part of this phone is that you can limit who your kids call. Most (heck, all?) cell phone companies seem focused on making you pay for whatever absurd bill your kid can run up each month. Either pay it or resign yourself to not being able to call your kid.

    If anyone can correct me on this, I really want to know.
  • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:44AM (#15073459) Homepage Journal
    Do children track Goofy in Soviet Russia?
  • Toss one of these in the trunk of your car (or hidden in a wheel well or wherever) and it's that much easier to find if your car ever gets stolen.
  • This piece of hardware and service seems to be very useless especially in cities, where it is supposed to be more useful. That's why (in my opinion).
    1. The system should send messages with position data with increasing frequency when the child is in crowded places. This would lead to a wireless network (like GSM) overload.
    2. Whe wireless network could introduce dangerous message delivery latency.
    3. It won't work in almost all closed places because of either GPS or wireless network bad coverage.
    4. Once y
  • Why all these wimpy half solutions?

    Children should be chained down in the basement until the age of 25.

    Only by serious security can one protect offspring from the EVIL world.
  • by LittleGuy ( 267282 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @07:55AM (#15074774)
    ... it's a small world, after all.

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"