Florida Company Markets Ankle Monitors to Parents of Teenagers

My eldest turns thirteen at the end of this week. I'm not too proud to admit that I'm terrified to have a child enter the teen years! Already, I feel as if I'm having to relearn how to parent. The parenting skills and tricks I've accumulated over the last decade-plus seem woefully inadequate to help steer my new teenager into adulthood. Because of that, it was with great personal interest that I read about a Tampa-based ankle monitoring bracelet company that now manufactures and distributes GPS tracking equipment intended to be used by concerned parents of teenagers.

According to Tampa Bay Monitoring's website, parents have been requesting a device that can help them keep track of their teenager. Heeding the calls, the company now sells "a variety of options for parents whether they are simply looking out for their teen's overall safety or concerned for the teen that may be sneaking out of the house at night or at risk of running away."

At this time, Tampa Bay Monitoring offers three types of monitoring devices for teens. The first one looks like a key chain and hooks neatly onto bookbags, belt loops, purses, or other items worn and carried by teenagers. Called a Revolar wearable safety device, the website explains:

At the click of a button, your teen can silently let you know their GPS location and if they’re safe, scared, or in an emergency. Plus, Instinct has Check-ins, Step Tracking, Ring Me, and more, so they’ll love using it and having it by their side, every day.

If your teen finds themselves in an unsafe situation, there may not be time to access or use their phone.  And if things get intense, attempting to use their phone could escalate the situation.  Revolar allows them to discreetly and quickly activate an alert to send for help while automatically sharing their location.

The other two devices are ankle monitoring bracelets that are marketed toward parents who have teenagers that tend towards dangerous and/or criminal activity. Described as "minimally intrusive," the Buddi Insight "is lightweight, accurate, waterproof, and provides instant alerts and evidence in the event of tampering, removal, loss of communication and entering or leaving set geographic zones."

The ReliAlert XC for high-risk teens not only looks heavy-duty and serious-minded, but it's also apparently designed to be worn by hooligans and is described as a "small ankle bracelet monitoring device can keep track of your teenager at all times. The device is tamper proof and even if your teenager tries to take it off, you will be alerted immediately.  An optional, hardened steel encased security cuff for high-risk teens."

I'll leave it to other parents to decide if the Buddi Insight and the ReliAlert XC are suitable for their kids. The Revolar, on the other hand, appears to be a sensible and effective way to help normal, non-criminal teenagers stay safe.