For a couple of years I was fortunate to have worn the hat of a featured columnist for an online publication, which allowed me to express my opinion and write on any subject matter I so desired. An article I wrote, "A Panic Button Is Long over Due for Children"; appeared in my column, The Way I See It, in September 2007.
Here’s an expert of the opening paragraph:
“A panic button is long over due for children. I find it difficult to believe that with all the modern technology being used today to invent the newest and latest inspector-gadget type portables, MP3 players, iPod Touch, that sweet-ass iPhone, PSP, the mini-GPS and what-not’s, no one has been able to develop a Child Alarm Alert system device to be worn by a child, a device that would assist in locating or responding to a missing or exploited child?” I even provided a draft of how the CAA Concept could work.
In my 2007 article, I went on to say, that through HomeAgain they’re able to ensure a pets' safety through micro-chipping and enrolling in a recovery database. With HomeAgain, a lost pet is successfully recovered approximately every six minutes. To date, more than 4.3 million pets in the United States have been implanted with the HomeAgain(R) microchip, resulting in almost 400,000 successful recoveries. My concern at the time was, why can’t they do the same for a human being?
Well, I’m delighted to say, that technology never ceases to amaze me, especially with companies such as Brickhouse Security, one of the leading providers of safety and security products to major law enforcement agencies; has stepped up to the plate in more ways than one. First, with the Child Locator and now they’ve gone a step further with Amber Alert GPS (AAGPS), a small but powerful personal GPS tracker.
The Amber Alert GPS device enables parents to remotely locate their children when they are away. Which differs from the Locator (a great device on it’s on), in that it uses GPS technology to alert parents when their child strays beyond a set distance of up to 600 feet. Both devices together complement each other very well. The AAGPS device weighs in at about $300.00 (with a monthly service cost between $19.99 to $49.99, depending on usage) and works well indoors and out, has an SOS button to call for help to up to 5 people at once, supports Geo-Fencing, and can send speed alerts (ie. send an alert if my kid is driving faster than 80 MPH), which is a very handy feature for parents of teen-ager drivers.
And for those of you with limitless income, there’s the WorldTracker priced at around $600, monthly service costs $69/month, plus there's a one-time setup fee of $90. That's about $830 per year in service fees alone – don’t forget to add the $100 cost for the extended battery you’ll need - not cheap, but the WT’s performance is top notch. Amber Alert GPS may not have all the extra bells and whistles as WorldTracker, such as being able to configure AAGPS to send location updates – you have to call the device & wait for it to send a message to your phone – how difficult is that, besides you should periodically call your child anyway. Still, Amber Alert GPS is simple to use, and doesn't require a computer to find out where your child is; nor will you have to take out an equity loan to purchase it. If you already have an internet-enabled smart phone, Amber Alert GPS is a great tool for parents and children alike.
There are other monitoring systems available, but do your homework before investing your hard earned money on something that may not give you the results you want or need. Functionality should be the first option you look for in a device and cost should be a close second, so shop wisely. Just because a device cost more or less, doesn’t mean it’s the best product.
Unfortunately, a number of devices which I won’t name here, tend to perform poorly in public places; and are prone to interference, the range is very limited inside malls and supermarkets, and either don’t have a direction indicator on the display, so you have to rely on a series of audible beeps to determine if you're getting "hotter" or "colder" as you panicky run around circles, searching for your child – which is not very practical at all. Devices like these are better suited for hunting down frequently misplaced items at home, such as keys, wallets, and remote controls.
Although the alert tracking devices may not be designed to prevent kidnappings, abductions, runaways, or missing persons; it is good to know you have an edge against such occurrences. Amber Alert GPS is a more practical and less expensive solution to ensure that children are safe and accounted for when they're away from home.
To have that extra peace of mind for everyone you care about, children, elderly loved ones, or even pets an AAGPS device is a wise investment.