ALBANY, GA (WALB) - More South Georgia families have developed into what is being termed "Spy Parents." They are parents that use technology to keep tabs on their children 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Is it wanting to safeguard children..... or overbearing spying?
Six year old Ella Melvin is at her gymnastics practice. Meanwhile, miles away at work, her Dad checks on her. Her phone rings, and dad says "Hey, Ella, what you doing, Bud?"
Ella is wearing a Gizmopal, a cell phone device sold by Verizon that her Dad can track from his phone. Cell phone technology has given parents unprecedented opportunities to watch over their kids from anywhere. Digital Express Store Manager Matt Melvin uses it, and sells it more parents everyday. "It's growing everyday. New things coming out everyday to track different things on kids," Melvin said.
Jackie Sizemore said, "So Facebook, Skype, contacts. Tell you what their contacts are. Like GPS tracking." Sizemore used this cell phone app to keep watch on his teenage son. With it, he could read every email, text his son sent. Every Internet view. Track where he had been that day, even listen in live.
"You can hit a live video link. Turn the camera on. Show you where they are at and what they are doing," Sizemore said.
Another technology that parents use to keep watch on their kids, surveillance cameras in your home. While working, the Carpenters can keep an eye on the kids in the living room watching TV. They say the cameras provide peace of mind.
"Absolutely. Especially if you have a child who stays at home during the day, while you are at work. All day,everyday with the sitter. Why not?" Jenny Carpenter said. "There is peace of mind not only knowing your home is secure, but that your kids are doing the right thing as well."
Spy parents can lock their kids phones so they can't send or receive calls or texts from people they don't approve. Not only track their child's every movement, even set parameters on where they go with mapping.
"Once you get outside that border, it alerts. An alarm goes off, starting sending you messages. They have gotten outside your circle," Melvin said.
Parents using technology to watch over kids like never before. From the parents viewpoint, is it love or spying. What do the kids think? "You get a bunch of mixed reviews. Some kids don't like it, some do," Melvin said.
But the parents paying for the cameras and the kid's cell phones make the decision how to use them. "Yea, he didn't like it. They'll figure it out but there is nothing they can do about it," Sizemore said.
And with competition in technology growing everyday, the ability of spy parents to watch over and watch their kids is increasing everyday.
Not only their phones, parents can use technology to watch their child's driving. A new device called TIWI, is installed to monitor their driving. It not only sends parents alerts if the child is speeding or not wearing their seat belt, it will give verbal commands inside the car to correct the driver.