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Thursday, May 28, 2009


Mother fits teenage son with GPS tracking device

Mother fits teenage son with GPS tracking device on gap year

A mother has fitted her teenage son with a GPS tracking device so she can monitor his every move during his gap-year travels.

Last Updated: 1:18PM BST 27 May 2009

Telegraph UK- Rachel Wilder, 53, has ordered her 19-year-old son Harry to carry a credit-card sized tracker while he travels across Australia, Thailand and South Africa in his gap year.

She can track him to within 15ft of his exact location and the system can even send her a text message alert if he goes anywhere he shouldn't.

Mrs Wilder keeps tabs on his movements by logging on to a website at the family home in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, every day.

Mrs Wilder, an inventory clerk, said: "It is fantastic to be able to keep an eye on Harry and track his journey.

"I can tell which street he is in so I can make sure he doesn't wander into any dangerous areas.

"I feel like I am sort of with Harry on his travels which gives me peace of mind and means he doesn't have to check in with a phone call.

"I have no way of knowing if a street in Australia is dangerous but if he was in Bangkok, for example, I could see if he walks in an area which might not be safe and ring or text him.

"The point of a gap year is to go away and not be hounded by your parents but equally as parents, it's quite nice to know where they are without constantly ringing up."

Harry has been in Australia with a group of friends since April and will travel to Thailand next month before heading to South Africa in July.

He is due to start a degree in Business Management at Oxford Brookes University in September.

The 2in thick GPS device - called Traakit - was developed by Harry's uncle David Clayton, 65, who launched it on the internet two weeks ago.

It triangulates its position by taking co-ordinate readings from four satellites which feeds the information back to a computer, which then maps out where it is in the world.

The technology means it updates instantly so Mrs Wilder - who has two other sons, Jamie, 18, and George, 12 - can keep tabs on Harry in real-time.

Suprisingly Harry, whose father John, 56, is a school bursar, says he is happy to carry the tracker as protection against the dangers of backpacking.

Speaking from the Brisbane, Australia, he said: "It's not so much of a concern here, but in somewhere like Thailand, if you were to get kidnapped or driven off into the jungle, people would be able to find you from the signal.

"One of my friends was killed in Australia a month ago falling off a waterfall, so people are worrying a bit.

"Not that it's happened yet, but if I didn't want mum to know where I was going I can always leave the thing in the car."

Mr Clayton, 65, who developed Traakit with his business partner Tim Young, 58, hopes the device will be used to help track missing children.

He said: "It's worked very well so far for Harry but we have been approached by parents who want to put on in their child's school bag or clothing.

"We have also had several women want to buy one because they think their husband might be cheating and they want to put it in the back of their car and keep tabs on where they are going."

Traakit costs £279 plus £11 a month service charge or can be rented for £50 a month.


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