LG unveils child tracker

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st child tracker The Washington Post LG's KizON device will be sold initially only in South Korea. Rollout is expected later this year for North American and Europe. Picture courtesy of LG Electronics

By Jiaxi Lu

Various tech companies have introduced wearable devices over the past few years that track your steps, heartbeat and even deliver your emails to your wrist.

Is electronically tracking your kid the next frontier?

LG announced a new device Wednesday morning, the KizON wristband, designed to let parents keep track of their child's whereabouts. The KizON uses GPS, WiFi and mobile Internet signals to identify the user's location in real time and sends the information to an Android app.

The device is designed for families with preschool and primary school children. Besides the location-tracking feature, parents will be able to communicate directly with their child through a "One Step Direct Call" button on the device, according to a news release from LG.

But what if the child doesn't respond to their parent's call? Within 10 seconds of an unanswered call, KizON automatically connects the parents anyway, allowing them to listen in through the built-in microphone.

British company KMS showcased a similar device for tracking children in January 2013. KMS' device also has a GPS chip to help parents locate their child, plus there is a barcode on the band with encoded information about the person wearing the device, such as blood type, allergies and emergency contact numbers.

The technology has already raised some questions about whether such devices are too invasive and breach children's privacy.

"The majority of these kid-orientated wearables bear a striking resemblance to the tagging devices used to track convicted criminals on partial release back into the population," wrote Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian's technology reporter, in a recent column. "They come packing a GPS sensor to constantly report their location, a thick band that's difficult to remove and an integrated mobile phone that cannot be silenced."

The LG device made its public debut for South Korean consumers Wednesday and will come to North America and Europe later this year. – The Washington Post


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