Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/04/04/gps_teenager_tracking_sniff/

GPS tracking fights teenage trauma

I was at the sweet shop, honest

By James Sherwood

Posted in Bootnotes, 4th April 2008 11:21 GMT

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 information about where, say, Charlotte actually was when she was supposed to be home for tea.

Instead, the information is being compiled to study the health risks posed to teenagers. As the girls took their phones with them wherever they went, the teenagers’ movements could be accurately plotted on a map.

Dr Sarah Wiehe, who led the research, said that mobile phones and GPS technology help parents to better understand “where adolescents spend their time and what they’re doing”.

She claimed that, by studying teenagers' movements, parents will be able to intervene at points where their kids are most likely to, say, drink alcohol or smoke. Presumably parents will also know when their kids are at Make Out Point or hanging around on street corners, possibly with biker gangs.

Suspicious wives, or husbands, can already use GPS tracking technology to keep tabs on wayward partners. The Social Network Integrated Friend Finder (SNIFF) application can be accessed through Facebook or a mobile phone to provide users with a detailed map of someone’s location, or at least the location of their mobile phone.

SNIFF, created by US firm Useful Networks, can only be used if someone gives their permission for their whereabouts to be tracked. Each GPS tracking request costs 75p (€1/$2).