TeenArriveAlive.com. Yes, seriously folks, that’s what the marketing drongo’s at this company have named this service, in a blatant attempt to scare parents into buying their product. Perhaps they could run a campaign delivering sarcophagus’s to people’s homes if they still don’t get the message.
Anyway, the product is a YAKTS (Yet Another Kid Tracking System) operated by GPS according to The Ledger. But the angle here is that parents can see how fast they’re cutie-pie son or daughter is driving at any given time.
This is supported by a bumper sticker inviting other drivers to call a toll-free number to report reckless or dangerous driving. (Honest, this is all true – no hint of an April Fool here).
Are teens welcoming this product with open arms? Well according to one:
Seventeen-year-old Miles Woronovich is with his mother. “I think my parents have every right to know where I am. I think it would help me drive more safely.” Sounds like a fun guy to party with, right?
While these guys actually have the answer:
“There’s a little thing called trust,” said 17-year-old Jeana Nichols. “I don’t like the idea of someone using a device that keeps tabs on me. I think it’s retarded.”
Pam Rossi, a Bradenton mother of two preteen boys, feels the same way.
“If our children are old enough to drive, they should have already earned our trust,” she said.
In fairness, there is a laudable aim here – to make teens drive more safely. The number 1 cause of death in the US is allegedly car accidents.
Robert Berry, the founder, was previously behind an Atlanta-based company that distributed “How’s my driving?” bumper stickers to companies including Arby’s, Taco Bell, Atlas Van Lines and Georgia Pacific.
“We had hundreds of thousands of vehicles on the road and proved that we could reduce accidents by up to 50 percent,” he said.
But before we get too misty eyed by Mr Berry’s campaign, check out the charges:
The bumper sticker notification service costs $9.99 per month. The GPS system costs $14.99 monthly, and the combined service is being offered for $19.99.
Yes, that’s right. He’ll charge you nearly $120 a year for displaying a bumper sticker. Yes, I know he has to run the phone lines, but this whole thing strikes me as unethical exploitation of the worst kind.
If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I don’t like these tracking devices, mainly as it allows parents to delegate their responsibilities to technology and that the kids will always find a way to get round it.
I’ll leave the final word to Alana Watenpuhl, a 19 year old from Bradenton who:
thinks kids will eventually figure out a way to beat the technology.
“They can always leave their cell phone somewhere and take off with friends. It’s not like the chips are attached to their bodies.
What does she mean “eventually”? How about “instantly”?
If you’re a parent, please talk to your kids about the dangers they face in today’s world. Just because there’s a technical solution doesn’t always make it a better one.
And if you must choose a tracking device, please choose a company that has a little more respect for you.