Mobile phones and GPS tracking technology have been combined to track the whereabouts of unruly children, as part of a study into the health risks posed to tech teens. In the study, 15 teenage girls were tracked by their mobile phones for one week. The researchers claim the study wasn’t designed to provide parents with …
This tech. doesn't track the kids
It only tracks the phones - and since it uses GPS, it doesn't work if they're indoors, or switch it off.
Presumably, any savvy kid could leave their phone and therefore the GPS, on when they go to a "good" place. Then turn it off and nip over to their mate's house and once inside, switch it back on again. The GPS would only record the last known position - i.e. when they went into their house. After the phone is indoors it loses the GPS signal. When it's off it can't know it's been moved, so when it is switched back on, then provided it's indoors again the GPS can't say that it's not in the same location anymore.
That's assuming the kids don't just leave the phone switched off - or even go out without it.
"the teenagers’ movements could be accurately plotted on a map"
nnyes. I took my mobile + tracking software for a run recently and it told me I'd done 125km in 2 hours. Not bad for an old boy. GPS is grossly over hyped, a bit like ID cards.
As a scientific study, this might not be so bad, but the sample size doesn't really look large enough. There's a lot of things which could go wrong, and I'd want to collect a lot of other data, including the weather and TV schedules.
Boy or girl, how old are they, is it pissing down with rain: anyone who takes this as more than a proof of concept is being foolish.
"SNIFF, created by US firm Useful Networks, can only be used if someone gives their permission for their whereabouts to be tracked."
The 'consent' system used by outfits such as this works like this -
User signs up for site.
'Consent' text message is sent to handset to be tracked; handset must reply with a code.
Once replied, the original text can be deleted.
In other words, if you have access to someone's handset (or (cloned..) SIM) for a few minutes, you can 'consent' to them being tracked without their knowledge.
A better system might be for a random reminder text to be sent every few days or weeks which would tip off the victim to this sort of attack on their privacy.
>points where kids are most likely to drink alcohol or smoke
That'll be in the park where they're kicking goths to death.
No fancy techno-tracker required.
Determining the location of a phone by triangulating from masts is not GPS: not nearly so accurate for a start.
> Only tracks the phone
Yep quite true...
> the kids ... go out without it.
I think we can assume the chances of that happening are relatively low [grin]
As a Register reader, you should be aware that switching a 'phone off, rarely does more than turning the screen and alerting functions off.
I didn't realise April 1st lasted 4 days!
Yeeeeeeah... right. I can imagine this one going up for Dragons Den - not a chance! Anyone investing any amount of cash in this crackpot idea has obviously not reached their teen years yet or had their head buried in a computer screen during them. Take a walk outside and show me a single teenager that'll play ball with any kind of tracking system that doesn't involve an electronic tag clamped around their ankle :-)
forget the teenage girls...
A much more worrying variation of this would be for corporate mobiles where employers could discover that their development team were actually down the pub all Friday afternoon...
Dysfunctional parents seek help of nosy scientists
Ok, so now parents should have one more instant solution to avoid dealing directly with their offsprings.
No small wonder teens are becoming the most violent group in the society, they are never trusted or respected, they are spied on like gulag prisoners, exposed to pest control devices, no one except the commerical world bothers to spend time with them and what great parents the media corps are with their fantasy image building.
Perhaps the scientist conducting this experiment should have offered to be the first lab rat in this repulsive experiment.
Dead penguin due to lack of neuron firing in that scientists head.
Presumable the GPS part tracks the phone but not the SIM card.
Teenagers tend to know a fair bit more about tech than their parents so I'd expect them to swap SIM cards with their mates when they needed to be somewhere else.
you work in the wrong place, we just invite the boss too and get him to buy all the drinks on the company credit card :)
"""GPS is grossly over hyped"""
Actually GPS is highly useful and accurate, if implimented correctly. Unfortunately a decent GPS antenna alone (without any of the actual electronics) is far larger than the average cell phone, plus they are typically powered, active antennas, which draw significant power compared to the rest of the phone.
The overhyped GPS is the stuff that they package in phones, which is mostly there to get an important bullet point on a feature list, and nothing else. I was using someone's high end blackberry recently which could only pinpoint its location to within 2km, with a full sky view and plenty of time to aquire sats. Even a really crappy handheld GPS should have been able to get down to a couple meters under those conditions.
But then again, just about every 'feature' on a mobile phone is complete hype, except possibly battery life, which is usually just a lie. I blame the consumers.
"But then again, just about every 'feature' on a mobile phone is complete hype"
Must agree with you there, a lot of things sound impressive and are quite clever, but don't quite cut it. It's the curse of the universal tool which doesn't do anything well.
What about phone forwarding?
They just forward phone/SMS traffic through to a second phone (cheap handset, PAYG SIM?) and stick the GPS-enabled phone on a bus/a friend's car/ slung between the dorsal guiding feathers of a couple of European swallows.
The phone would move about, the Parents / researchers wouldn't think anything was wrong, and they could still get in touch with their kids over the normal phone number. Meanwhile the kids are busy wandering the streets, beating up old ladies and generally getting off their mash on ecstacy pipes.
GPS in phones isn't always that bad- my HTC Artemis is accurate to a couple of meters outdoors and keeps fixed pretty accurately even at speeds exceeding UK motorway speed limits.
One of the main problems with GPS in phones, though, is that it'll chew through batteries, so the kids will be able to be out of the house with their phones working for a whole hour or so.
Can't they out think this?
I really fear for the species if the nippers cannot think of ways to fool this.
Any kid dumb enough to get copped by this would just give the correct answer when the parents ask "where did you go today?".
A few notes on GPS (having recently been in that industry). Many of the newer fancier implementations work pretty well indoors, even in thick multi-storey concrete parking structures etc.
Some (eg. Snaptrack) hardly use any power and just sniff the RF and send data back to a server for processing.
Ultimately, technology is a poor substitute to parental caring.
Re: Dysfunctional parents seek help of nosy scientists
"No small wonder teens are becoming the most violent group in the society, they are never trusted or respected, they are spied on like gulag prisoners, exposed to pest control devices, no one except the commerical world bothers to spend time with them and what great parents the media corps are with their fantasy image building."
No, the reason they're so bl**dy violent is that we're afraid to do anything to stop them. No more clips round the ear -- not even a stern talking to.
Young kids test their boundaries all the time, but if we don't react, those boundaries are never reached. As far as the kids are concerned, anything goes. By the teenage years these patterns are pretty fixed.
Teen behaviour is not the problem: child behaviour is.
Tracking teens is shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, thrown all four shoes and disappeared into the New Forest.