GPS tracking devices were handed out all weekend to elementary and middle school aged children by the Red Cross in Beijing. The GPS tracking phones look like a big wristwatch and were designed especially for children. The Red Cross is handing out 20,000 tracking devices this month and hopes to give out a total of 100,000 GPS tracking devices by the end of 2011. The GPS tracking system enables parents and guardians to know where their children are at all times.
The GPS tracking wristwatch phone can call up to four numbers and can receive calls from up to 20 different numbers. With the push of one button, children can instantly be connected talk to their parents. Children can also use the GPS tracking devices to set off an alarm by pressing an SOS button. The GPS tracking system is also able to notify parents when children who carry them are close to dangerous places, such as rivers, construction sites and highways.
The GPS tracking system should not interfere with children’s schoolwork because the GPS tracking devices go into sleep mode during normal school time. Also, the children’s GPS tracking wristwatch phones do not have the ability to send messages and cannot be used to play games.
The GPS tracking system is being provided by the Red Cross to help prevent children from being kidnapped. In China, the number of kidnapping is increasing children being kidnapped is increasing. Over 200,000 school children are listed as missing in the country every year, but recent figures show that number increased dramatically in 2010 to an all time high of 600,000 kidnappings. There is speculation that the high number of missing children is partly due to the nation”s one child policy, which has triggered gangs kidnapping boys to sell them to people to fulfill their traditional needs for male heir.
The charity organization conducted a pilot program with 20 phones in several schools in 2010. The program had such positive feedback that the Red Cross decided to apply the measure to a larger scale. Red Cross donated the GPS enabled wrist watches to the children free of charge, but the parents are responsible for the service charges over the next two years. The cost is minimal (about 800 yuan or USD $120) considering the peace of mind this will provide parents and teachers.