Telegraph (UK) 27 May 2009
A mother has fitted her teenage son with a GPS tracking device so she can monitor his every move during his gap-year travels. 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.”
..Surprisingly 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.