The infrastructure of big cities is becoming more complex and confusing. Megalopolises are developing, Smart City technologies are being introduced, video surveillance and face recognition systems are being installed. However, now it is rare to find a primary school child who would go to school alone, and there are thousands of missing children in our country. We figure out how to control the movement of a child at a distance and at the same time not turn into a spy.
Author: Dmitry Karasev, JET project manager
So, in the first half of 2020, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation received more than 2 thousand statements about the disappearance of minors, only 900 children were found. According to generalized data, about 15 thousand children disappear in Russia every year. These statistics could be corrected simply by resorting to the help of modern gadgets and discussing the basic safety rules with the child.
An important conversation
Government agencies, schools and kindergartens regularly talk about the basic rules of safety behavior in the city. It will never be superfluous to sit down and once again talk with the child about various options for the development of events, so that in a difficult situation he can make the right decision and avoid meeting a criminal.
If necessary, children should be able to give their full name, the names of their parents, their address and the nearest landmark, and older children should know the phone number of their relatives. Because young children forget this information easily, you should talk to them as often as possible.
A child should know that no matter what the circumstances, he should never allow a stranger to lead him away. Explain that if someone says, “Mom asked me to take you to her immediately,” he should stay where he is and call for help.
In case the child gets home on his own, determine a permanent route and agree that he will only walk this way. Also discuss the boundaries of the neighborhood where you can walk. An open dialogue with your child should be the basis of your communication, with its help you need to teach your child to talk about where, with whom and how he spends time without you. Also, the child should know in what cases it is possible to call the police, fire service or ambulance.
Mobile phone applications
Thanks to the development of information technology and geolocation services, parents have received several convenient tools for monitoring the child's movements. If you allow your child to carry the phone with them everywhere, you can easily track their movements using some of the functions built into the device. For example, on Apple phones, to track your child's location using Family Sharing, follow these steps:
On your child's phone, go to Settings
Click "Transfer Geodata"
Click "Share your location"
There are also a number of applications that can make your life easier: the free "Where are my children" program with a loud signal function, the Family Locator application with family chat, Kaspersky Safe Kids, which monitors the movement on the map and notifies when the child has left the safe area, the application My JetKid, which is paired with a children's watch or smartphone, allows you to monitor the movements, conversations and health of the child and many others.
It is important to remember that some schools prohibit bringing a mobile phone to class; a child may forget to charge it, leave it at home, or simply lose it. Therefore, you should not completely rely only on this gadget.
Student electronic card
Some schools have started to issue electronic student cards, with which you can control the time a child enters school, meals and exit times. For example, in the capital there is a "Moskvenok" card, which can be issued at an educational institution. At the entrance, the student applies the card to the turnstile or reader, after which the parent receives an SMS on the phone. Ditto when exiting. Also, parents can control the nutrition of the child, paying for it once or for a long period.
However, such cards only inform about the presence of the child at school. There is no control outside the school.
Consider using a digital tracker. A study by the Royal Children's Hospital found that one in five students heading to school alone carry a tracking device with which parents can monitor their movements. Moreover, GPS trackers or GPS keychains in the form of pendants or jewelry are now available, which allow you to attach the device to a child invisible to others. This makes it easy to locate with a mobile phone or tablet that accesses the tracking signal.
It is important to remember that if you decide to use such a gadget, take the time to explain to your child why you need it, how important it is not to throw the device away and charge it in time.
The smartwatch market in the United States is nearly $ 5 billion and is projected to continue to skyrocket. Such gadgets include the functions of sending text messages, phone calls and a pedometer, but one of their main advantages is security. This is one of the options for the most accurate monitoring of primary school children. The watch is always on the child's hand, it does not require recharging for a long time and, as a rule, children themselves are interested in using it, because they can be used to communicate with friends. Also, these products have an affordable price, and some companies even make special branded watches with cartoon characters. For example, the well-known manufacturer of smart watches Jet has made gadgets with Transformers and My little pony. Everything so that children do not want to take off their watches and parents are calm.
Such gadgets should not be considered spy devices. Their goal is to give children independence and at the same time to reassure their parents. Think for yourself which is best for your child: not letting him do anything on his own, or allowing him a little autonomy thanks to the gadget?
Do not rely entirely on gadgets, forgetting about standard ways to protect yourself from danger. The social project "LisaAlert", which searches for missing children and publishes useful articles on this topic, can help you and your child to improve the theory. In 2020, the organization received 31,562 applications to search for missing people throughout Russia. Of these, 22,856 were found alive.
It will be useful for children to listen to the audio stories "The Adventures of a Gingerbread Man", which tell in clear language how to behave in a given situation. And parents can see clear guidelines for action in case a child is missing. All materials were written by people who participated in the search for children, and are based on their own experience of participants in an important social project.
Friends, it is important to remember that no technology can fully protect a child, so you need to talk to them about the dangers and teach them responsibility, regardless of whether they use gadgets or not.