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The Data Czar: Protecting Our Children

November 10, 2009
Following the tragedy in Clay County, Fla., last month, I can't help thinking about the role of technology in protecting our children. GPS devices made specifically to track the location of children exist. But can we really protect our kids with GPS technology? And what about the GPS devices used by law enforcement officials to track convicted offenders? Can such technology keep predators away from our kids?



Fear gripped Clay County, Fla., last month when a 7-year-old-girl disappeared on her way home from school one afternoon. My wife and I watched in horror as the news delivered the gruesome discovery of the child’s body in a Georgia landfill days later.

My first thought was to strap on-NO-implant GPS devices in each of my children and hire Vin Diesel to escort my kids to and from school. However, this is not a movie; it’s real life. As I feverishly worry about the safety of my family and desperately Google the locations of known offenders in and around my locale, another family grieves for their child.

GPS devices made specifically to track the location of children do exist. But can we really protect our kids with GPS technology? And what about the GPS devices used by law enforcement officials to track convicted offenders? Can such technology keep predators away from our kids?

I am certain that our law enforcement agencies try their very best to protect and serve our communities utilizing all resources at their disposal to do so, and I firmly believe that GPS tracking of convicted offenders should be more widespread. We should push for legislation that would make it easier for such tracking devices to be used. However, technology is no substitute for talking to our children about danger. As parents, the onus is on us to teach our kids to always be aware of their surroundings and avoid putting themselves in harmful situations. We need to do whatever we can to arm our kids with the knowledge and skills that will help keep them safe.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this young girl and all families that have suffered such a loss.


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