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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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  • 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 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.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • Re:So I guess... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Reality Master 101 ( 179095 ) <RealityMaster101 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:15PM (#15073040) Homepage Journal
    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.

  • Re:Oh great.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ben0207 ( 845105 ) <ben.burton@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:22PM (#15073077) Homepage
    Damnit! Its "Cue"! Not "Queue"!

    Sorry, I don't know why it makes me so angry, it just does.
  • If only... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by garyr_h ( 955473 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:25PM (#15073091) Homepage
    Now if only the government can install GPS under our skin when we are born we will be all set.
  • Re:So I guess... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrNougat ( 927651 ) <ckratsch@gmail . c om> 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.
  • So the idea behind this product is: The government is tracking your kids, why don't you?
  • Re:So I guess... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Yartrebo ( 690383 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:50PM (#15073212)
    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 school calls home about anything (even when the kid is in the right ... schools make even more mistakes than our justice system as the kid doesn't even get a fair trial).

    Punishing kids inappropriately or excessively, aside from violating the golden rule, generally shows up either with a rebellious attitude -> defeatism once punished enough or it shows up in the kid becoming a selfish person who looks out only for themselves.

    Morally, I wouldn't find it so bad if it were consentual and reciprocal - if the kids could track wherever their parents went ... including one parent cheating on another or visits to strip joints. After all, if you have nothing to hide ...
  • Re:So I guess... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DerGeist ( 956018 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:08AM (#15073303)
    This is really a recurring problem. Do we hand over our privacy for increased security? Or by handing over our privacy do we lose both?

    It's a tough question. I have no doubt whatsoever that the story you describe happened, I also don't doubt there are numerous other potential benefits of a US-wide tracking system. But it's a bit creepy to think your cell phone, that lovable device that you're hopelessly addicted to, is silently phoning home (no pun intended) all the time. It has a little microphone in it, you know. And it has speakerphone, so it's a sensitive little bugger.

    Wouldn't take much to silently start recording...I mean, maybe you're being robbed! We should be able to find out so we can help you. Maybe you're minding your own business, maybe you're stealing music or dealing drugs. If you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide (yes, I hate this awful line as much as you do).

    The whole concept of people not being able to make decisions for themselves is what is so scary.

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

    by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:16AM (#15073344)
    Unfortunately, your children will probably be turning tricks for crack once the shock of finally entering the real world passes by them. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
  • Re:In summary... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by westlake ( 615356 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:21AM (#15073371)
    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.

  • Re:So I guess... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jftitan ( 736933 ) <> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:48AM (#15073468) Homepage Journal
    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 allowed to goto because I've been there so I know what it is like. Then she is in deep shits!. Well the other day, she went over to a friends place to spend the night. Well as bright as she is, she didn't think about NOT giving out her telephone number to guys at the club. While we thought she would be spending the safe night at her friends house, she went out to this so said club.
      We found out about this night out, because she gave here HOME phone number to a guy who was trying to get lucky. (she didn't think about telling this guy to only call during the day... either he was really trying, or he was just nutts. I dunno, but he learned a lesson as well) We found out!
      The first lesson our kids learned (as good parents we are) is to NEVER EVER LIE to your parents. "Because whatever you do, we did it first!" When she came home, the first question we asked was, "who is this Joe guy?", and she shit herself.
    We saw she was going to lie, but it immediately clicked in, and she told us the truth.
      Mind you, if only parents where in the search for Osama, he would have been found years ago. She knew that if she lied, we could find enough people to tell us otherwise. She talked, and we didn't disipline her like we did in the past when she would try to lie to us.
      I just wish parents would teach their kids that it is always better to tell us the truth in the first place, even though they did something wrong. It is always better to tell us what 'your' (synomoyous with kids) plans are so we can tell you what or what not allowed to do, than to do it, and lie to us. Parents would be in better knowledge about their kids.
      We possibly wouldn't have as many problems as we do with our youth as we do now.
    I'm not saying, lets be FRIENDS with our kids rather than be parents, but I'm trying to portray that parents should teach our kids values to trusting their parents. If they do something wrong they should know they did something wrong, but knowingly understand it. Of course they will be punished, but you have to accept the punishment for the cause.
      These days parents leave it up to the automated electronics, or government, or even others to do their job. Only parents can teach thier own children values and understandings of what is expected of them.
      I would rather have my kids grow up, understanding that no matter what happens to them or what they do, We will always be there. Than to have them think they should go somewhere else to get the respect, or acknowledgement that they wish to have.

    (I'm drunk, but this doesn't mean I'm a bad parent... I know where my kids are!)
  • 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.
  • by stephenisu ( 580105 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @01:11AM (#15073563)
    I wouldn't wait quite that long... Odds are if its stolen its staying in the states, and multiple states at the same time depending on who is buying the parts..
  • by GreenPlastikMan ( 881184 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @02:49AM (#15073936)
    Seriously though, whatever happened to teaching your kids how to act? You know, that whole parenting thing? It's not parenting if you let a corporation or some gizmo do it for you...
  • 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.

  • Re:Two Words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jim_Callahan ( 831353 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:46AM (#15074139)
    Pay. Phone.

    Cell phone wasn't ever for calling anyone but my parents anyhow: they got to look at the bill. I assume it's the same way nowadays, though perhaps kids have been struck by a strange stupidity-causing disease and can no longer remember seven-digit numbers or write them on a card in their wallet.
  • 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 ultranova ( 717540 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @05:47AM (#15074437)

    Part of the process of teaching them how to act is teaching them how to not act when you aren't around. A necessary piece of teaching them what to and not-to do is knowing what they are doing when you are not around. This phone service could help in that regard.

    If you are watching them, in what way are you not around ? And what happens when they turn 18 and you can't watch them anymore ? Methinks they are going to go do all the things - sex, drugs, booze, tobacco, rock'n'roll - they think they missed out because they had to carry the all-seeing eye with them.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27