Sprint GPS phone tracks kids

Sprint Family Locator uses GPS to pinpoint the location and display it on an interactive map

For some kids with overprotective parents, maybe owning a cell phone won't be so cool after all. Sprint Nextel Corp. launched a service on Thursday allowing parents to track their children with the help of GPS (Global Positioning System) technology embedded in their children's mobile phones.

The service, called Sprint Family Locator, is one of many location-based services that mobile phone operators worldwide are introducing to tap new revenue streams. It also meets a basic need of parents who are concerned about their children's safety and want to know their whereabouts.

When a parent or guardian requests the child's location, Sprint Family Locator uses GPS to pinpoint the location and display it on an interactive map, along with the street address and surrounding landmarks, on the parent's or guardian's mobile phone or PC. The child is notified by a text message each time his or her location is provided to the parent or guardian, ensuring open communication.

Sprint follows The Walt Disney Co., which last week unveiled a mobile service designed to allow parents not only to monitor their children's locations but also control their mobile phone use.

In Europe, Communic8 Ltd. rolled out one of the continent's first mobile tracking services for children in 2004, with the launch of its specially designed Mymo phone.

The Sprint service costs US$9.99 per month.

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