Responsibility and Privacy — Ethical Aspects of Using GPS to Track Children


  • Jessica Nihlén Fahlquist

    Corresponding author
    1. Philosophy Section, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands
    • Correspondence to: Jessica Nihlén Fahlquist, Division of Philosophy, Royal Institute of Technology, Teknikringen 78B, Stockholm 100 44, Sweden. E-mail:

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With GPS technology, children can be monitored 24 h a day throughout their childhood and teens. In spite of the advantages in terms of safety and security, there are ethical problems with this. In this article, some of these are discussed. First, the concept of parental responsibility is explored and discussed in the context of GPS and children. Second, against the background of psychological research, it is argued that it is not conducive for children's sense of responsibility to be constantly monitored. Third, the question whether children have a right to privacy is discussed. It is concluded that due to the considerable uncertainty concerning the effects of constant monitoring as well as the ethical problems discussed, we ought to adopt a cautious attitude to using GPS to track children.