'Big Brother' tracker has children in sight

1st December 2000 at 00:00
IT could spell the end of the skive. A tracker, which can be sewn into a school uniform, will be able to pinpoint an errant child within five metres and alert parents and teachers when they have strayed.

The German invention, to be launched in Britain by IBE Navigationssysteme next spring, is the size of a cigarette packet and can be put in a school bag, clipped to a belt or sewn into a pocket.

By making use of the same global positioning satellite technology used to track stolen cars, it will automatically give parents an alarm signal within 15 seconds of their children wandering out of locations they have chosen, which are logged on a central server.

"It even gives details of the street and house number of their location," said engineer Ingo Brunn, who runs IBE. "If the tracker is taken outside a certain area, then Kid Track sends an alarm signal to a mobile phone."

Rival German firm Siemens is producing an alternative model which is less Big Bother, more Big Mother. It looks like a simple mobile phone with only two buttons - red for an emergency and green for non-emergency. If the child presses either button he or she will be connected to the central call centre and passed on to his or her parent or guardian.

At the same time worried parents can get an accurate update on their child's location by making a simple phone call or checking on the Internet.

Siemens is testing 50 German families this December and plans to launch its tracker early next year. However, the idea of satellite monitoring has not met with universal approval.

Monika Bruhns, from the Missing Children initiative in Kisdorf in northern Germany, said: "A device cannot give parents security. It will only make them feel they no longer have the responsibility to look out for their kids themselves."

The IBE Kid Tracker can store up to 20 safe areas and can be used anywhere in the world. It will cost pound;15 a month.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now