Children have a natural gift for sniffing out trouble; they have a passion for danger that is the arch nemesis of worried parents. Leave a child alone in an empty room for a just 5 minutes, and gawp with horror as you find, upon your return, your bundle of joy busily preparing to microwave a car battery whilst chewing hungrily on an asbestos Buzz Lightyear. How and where they get their hands on these items of peril will baffle parents for eternity. In this day and age it is proving ever more difficult to keep one eye on our beloved tearaways, with danger loitering around every corner. Even when the little tykes hit puberty it’s no better, the eruption of hormones which drive them to drink 6 litres of punch at a house party, get a tattoo of Hitler on their forehead and have mood swings that can only be subdued with a cattle prod and horse tranquilizer.
Luckily, modern technology has come to the aid of worried parents who feel that handing the ‘reins of life’ over to their first-born, and encouraging independence is an important part of their development, but are adamant they will fall in with the wrong crowd and join a suicide cult or worse still, start listening to Celine Dion.
With the rise of the smartphone, parents can now keep a satellite eye on their children as they duck and weave through a town centre, evading the clutches of the law after burning down a cricket pavilion, or whatever the kids get up to these days. The majority of young people now own a smartphone, with sales of the clever little gizmos skyrocketing in the last couple of years, and because of the ‘street cool’ aspect of the smartphone children are more likely to accept this form of parental tagging, rather than, say, a large bell round the neck, which always used put the girls off me, they assumed I was leprous and scarpered.
But on a more serious note, GPS apps installed on children’s mobile phones can give parents the peace of mind that they require, without being too overbearing on the child’s independence. Using the app, parents can track their children’s route, ensuring their walk to a friend’s house does not include a cheeky detour past the off-licence, whilst at the same time, the kids can brag amongst friends about the life-saving piece of technology in their pocket, which isn’t their inhaler.
If you’re thinking of purchasing a new handset with GPS capabilities, make sure you get rid of your old handset in a responsible manner (let’s set a good example for the kiddies!). Mobile phone recycling will ensure that your old mobile does not end up spoiling delicate eco systems, you know what I mean - blocking up a swan, or giving a badger Alzheimer’s something along those lines. But on a more serious note, by selling your mobile to an online trader, it will guarantee that your old electronic waste is found a comfortable new home and will pocket you some cash in the process, don’t just leave it in the drawer with the asbestos Buzz Lightyear.