What would you be willing to do to keep your child safe?

The thought of my children being stolen or getting lost and then hurt absolutely terrorizes me.  In fact, as the mother of twin toddlers, I have not gone to places with my children alone just because I thought it might be too crowded for me to keep track of two little ones that could disappear quickly in a throng of people.  A British professor might have the answer to ease parents concerns — an implant.

Reading University Cybernetics Professor Kevin Warwick has developed an inch-long microchip that can be implanted in a child that can locate that child within a few meters.  Although the chip is not meant to track your child 24/7, it can be activated in an emergency to locate your child. 

Apparently Warwick’s chip was ready for testing in 2002, but his volunteer backed out after intense media scrutiny.  Since then Warwick has not proceeded with developing the implant nationally due to backlash over the ethicalness of the project.

But with an increase in children being snatched not just in public, but from their own homes, as was the case for Madeleine McCanne in Portugal, Warwick’s inbox is filling with requests from concerned parents wanting the implant for their children.

Would you be willing to implant your child if it could keep them safe?

I know that I couldn’t.  Heck, I can’t even implant my dog, or get him the tattoo, because I think it’s mean.  In fact, the whole idea of implants sounds too much like one of those sci fi movies where the government controls everyone’s moves.

Yes, I’m probably over-reacting, but I think I have some valid concerns.  If my children have implants for me to track them, what prevents the government or some other governing organization from tracking them too?  Or worse yet, what guarantee do I have that some sex offender won’t hack the system and use the implant to target my child?  Not to mention that I’m not eager to insert anything foreign into my child’s body that isn’t medically necessary.  The presence of the implant alone could trigger a medical condition in my children.

Don’t get me wrong, I want to protect my children.  I am very afraid that I’ll look away for a brief moment and my children will wander away and get hurt, or worse, someone will take them.  But I think I still have quite a few options towards protecting my children in public — taking another adult with me to crowded places, putting the children in a stroller/cart/wagon and simply holding hands.  At home, I rely on locked doors and windows and two very protective dogs.

However, I am not opposed to some less intrusive means of being able to locate my kids. 

When they are old enough, I plan for my children to have cell phones with GPS locators.  I am particularly impressed with Disney Mobile.

I am interested in something that I can use to track my children if they are lost or abducted, not to keep tabs on them 24/7.  Some companies are offering wristbands or clothing.  I like this idea better than implants because I can put them on my children when I head to a very crowded public place (i.e. theme park), but they don’t need to wear daily.

Globalpoint Technologies is now offering a wrist band called the Personal Companion that could be hidden under the child’s clothes.  Using a combination of GPS and mobile phone technology, the armband can be used to track your child within two meters.

Similarly, Connect Software is offering daycares the ToddlerTag in clothing.  The ToddlerTag uses active Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to track a child.

It’s true that both of these devices, along with cell phones and other similar tools can be discarded by the abductor before they can be used to locate a child.  However, I still prefer these devices to an intrusive implant.  And who’s to say an abductor wouldn’t cut out the implant or worse to disable it.

I think all parents should be a little paranoid about the safety of their child.  Nevertheless, our children are still people and we must respect their rights.  Implants seem way too “big brother-ish” for my tastes.

I know that good parenting and common sense might not be enough to keep my child safe.  But at this time, I’m satisfied to rely on these skills instead of crossing an ethical line with my children.

However, I am interested in hearing what you as a parent think.  What lengths are you willing to go to to keep your child safe?


7 Responses to What would you be willing to do to keep your child safe?

  1. Diane says:

    When my daughters were growing up, I would go to great lengths for their safety. But when the day is done, after taking the best precautions, the most effective was putting them in God’s hands. I don’t believe God meant us to have this chip for tracking our kids, and I do NOT believe in this theory either. I agree it’s to SCI-FI. Besides the kidnappers will get wise to this and cut the arm off, or the portion of the body where the implant is so they can’t be detected. I would rather risk my child not having this implant so they are not brutally hurt to cover up detection. I think it’s cruel to purposely implant a device in the body, which could cause some parents to slack off their parental duties and relay on this device. I personally wouldn’t want to be so labeled by an implant (had a parent done this to me as a child), to be used for what ever purpose of detection. It’s bad enought that we are affected by cell phone emitting damaging waves etc. our kids do NOT need anymore artificial device in their systems. I see nothing wrong with depending on good “OLD FASHION” parenting and good safety practices that has worked for years, and put the rest in God’s hands.
    The implant doesn’t stop abduction, it doesn’t stop a child from getting hurt, it doesn’t stop accidents, it doesn’t change the many possibilities of things that could happen to a child. It’s primarily a locator, and the abductor can change that outcome. No I do not agree with this and I hope parents do a lot of soul searching before considering this option.

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  3. Janna Moore says:

    Most of the abductors taking children these days are not taking them for ransom…they intent to do very bad things to our children. Or they plan to keep them as their own. I would much rather implant one of these microchips in my child than to have them disappear one day and spend the rest of my life wondering what happened to them! Yes, it is in God’s hand. These horrible people can still take our children with or without this chip. But at least we could hopefully find them quickly enough with these devices to save them from a lifetime of pain or even death. I am in support of these chips with the understanding that when a child turns 18, they would have the right and ability to have them removed if they so choose.

  4. Joanne says:

    I am the mother of 5 boys, aged 12 to 28. My three middle sons are very close in age, with two of them born less than a year apart. When I would walk my oldest son to school I would have to take the other boys with me. As I only have two hands, it would impossible for me to hold all of their hands. I purchased a device, I don’t recall where or what it was called, although I’m sure some people would refer to it as a leash. It was basically a long coiled piece, made of soft plastic, with 2 terry cloth cuffs on it. It was made for use with one child, but I found it perfect for two,as the coil part was too long for safety. I simply put one cuff each on the wrist of 2 of my boys and held the coil in the middle. This freed up my other hand to hold the 3rd boy. It gave them enough latitude to ‘wander’ ahead a bit, but kept them out of harm’s way. And, in case you were wondering, I did get a lot of ‘looks’ from people, but to be quite honest I could not have cared less about what people ‘thought’ as the safety of my precious children was much more important to me.

  5. vacelts says:

    Joanne, I used to think the “leash” things were awful . . . until I had kids. With two littles ones, it’s hard to keep up with them. They move so quickly. And my twins are good about one distracting me while the other one gets into something/takes off. So I say, use what makes you feel comfortable. Your children’s safety is the most important thing.

  6. J says:

    I’ve thought many times about chip implantation. My cat has one, and if she ran out the door and disappeared I wouldn’t mind nearly as much as if the unthinkable happened to my kids.

    I’m kidding, sort of. But I totally understand. My girls are wild and both run in different directions. I am outnumbered as the daytime caregiver, so honestly, I just don’t take them places where their safety will be compromised.

    Also, I got some very cute monkey backpacks which are actually leashes of sorts. They have monkeys on their backs! Hahahah. Can’t wait to take them to the zoo. I’d never let them run around without someone in addition to me helping out or the three of us in a fenced in area.

    It’s our job to keep them as safe as possible. I let them run wild in my house, but not outside. I’m just not fast enough to keep up with them!

  7. vacelts says:

    J, I understand how you feel. It’s so easy when there are more than one little one for them to get away from you if you look away for a second tending to the other.

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