A Kid’s Dilemma: Let the Parents Track You Everywhere… or Lose that Mobile Phone!

    “By combining tracking and cellular technologies, wireless carriers could jumpstart what has been, to date, a sluggish segment of the GPS market,” notes principal analyst Ken Hyers. “Although network-assisted GPS (A-GPS) handsets will enhance the accuracy and reliability of GPS, vendors will need to set realistic expectations for their customers. In many cases, this will mean educating the public on the real-world availability and accuracy of cellular A-GPS.”

    Chaperone will be joined this summer by a similar service from Disney Mobile. Sprint Nextel already offers a personal tracking service. Verizon Wireless’ basic plan allows a parent to track a child’s phone location via A-GPS; the more expensive Child Zone plan allows parents to set virtual zones (geo-fences) for the child, via their PCs. Parents can create multiple zones based on time of day and day of week. When the child’s phone leaves the zone, an alert is sent to the parent’s phone. Because of the sensitivity of such a service, Verizon Wireless is taking a number of steps to ensure that only parents can track their children’s phones and that others will not be able to misuse the service.