Debate: Should Children be Tagged?

One day in the 1950s a young girl told her mother she was going to run away. Her mother asked her to take the pet dog with her and gave her sandwiches to take for the journey. The little girl ran away as far as the other side of the local park  before she got bored and returned home, with an empty lunchbox. To the little girl, my mother, this was an amazing adventure and to my grandmother this was an opportunity for peace and quiet to resume the household chores. However,  to a parent of the ‘noughties’ this would drench them with fear.

As yet, I am not a parent myself so I feel I have no authority to recommend parenting tips to  others. However, I have regularly taken care of my niece and nephews both inside and outside the home. As ‘carer’ I have more control inside the home but in the midst of a crowded shopping centre, I have often been wracked with fear for their safety. For me, the question is very easy to answer. Yes, children should be tagged. However, in the research I have conducted, it is clear that the actual deed is by far easier said than done.

According to the Telegraph, Westfield Shopping Centre in West London is the ‘first shopping centre in the world to offer customers the technology which alerts the parents if their child goes within 10 yards of any exit’. The ‘tag’ is said to attach to the child’s wrist, which in my opinion is far from secure enough as it could potentially fall from the child’s wrist or be detached easily.

Following the horrific murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, scientists at Reading University designed a means by which children could be implanted  with a permanent microchip to monitor their whereabouts. However, children groups such as Kidscape and Barnado’s accuse the proposal of being an overreaction to the murders. Of course, if you were the parents of Holly and Jessica, which viewpoint would you support?

Of course, such tags may not be able to guarantee your child’s safety 100% of the time, however God forbid should any harm come to your child, such tags could potentially save you from a lot of heartache and possible unrequited hope. After the horrific and heartbreaking disappearance of Madeleine McCann from her bed in Portugal, a nonremovable chip or implant is something that many if not all parents (possibly including her own) would welcome regardless of any perceived breach of ethics.

It was not that long ago when I was  a “minor” and thinking back now, I beleive a tag would encourage independence as opposed to the opposite. If parents are more confident or reassured of their child’s whereabouts, this confidence will surely be passed onto the child.

As a final thought I want to turn to the case of James Bulger, a 2-year old boy who was abducted, tortured and murdered by two 10-year old boys in 1993. One month short of his 3rd birthday. Had a tag been available and had he been wearing one, he would be a 21-year old man today.  James Bulger did not attend school, neither university. He did not learn to drive, nor drink his first pint.

This is a reality today and this debate has to be taken further.


Stories such as the ones I have shared in this post are not in a Hollywood Blockbuster, it’s happening in our very own streets. So yes, if tagging my child will keep them safe – there is no question about it. Parents make decisions for their young children. They decide what to feed them, how to clothe them and even what religion they should follow. Surely that too is against their human rights? Yet when it comes to ensuring their safety, parents have to think twice.


What is your stance?



6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ruby slippers
    Mar 31, 2011 @ 14:56:00

    This is a beautifully worded answer to my debate question. Thank you for taking the time to research and look into it. I agree with you thoughts, it’s interesting that scientists have come up with a possibility.

    I wonder if this will ever happen in our life time? With all the ‘PC’ b……s and human rights blah blah blah that goes on these days I very much doubt it will.

    If this system could be put in place and it saves just one Childs life that would be truly wonderful. In my opinion it could save many lives because it will prevent possible abductions happening in the first place.

    It will be good to hear other peoples opinions on this subject, it’s an interesting one.

    Thanks again : ) x


  2. grandmac
    Mar 31, 2011 @ 20:35:08

    You forgot to mention the bottle (glass) of water that went with the sandwiches!
    I Feel that a tag would be a Godsend. The worry of having to watch your children every second while out causes many parents a lot of anxiety. Surely it is a violation of the child’s human rights to neglect to ensure their safety. There is now a contraceptive implant that sits just under skin, so why not an electronic device for children? It could be removed when the child reaches adulthood.
    Your thought that it would give independence in your teens was a good one. Even later in life it could be a safety device. The poor girls who have been in the newspapers recently for the dreadful reason that they were abducted and murdered might have been saved if they had had such a device. And the heartache of parents whose murdered children are not found, or not for many years, would be spared that torment.
    Lets campaign for it!


  3. Ruby Slippers
    Apr 01, 2011 @ 19:54:13

    Where does one begin with a campaign? I think as a parent of young children you can have control on where they are and keep them safe.

    But as mentioned it would be so useful when your children start going out on their own. Its a safety net for us all.

    In this day and age with all the dreadful things that have happened in the past why the hell has it never been introduced?


  4. alphabetgames
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 21:37:23

    Thank you for your comments.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think this will be introduced – at least not without further heartache. And, of course no one will stand and take notice until their own children are added to the statistics. That being so, how many children and young people have to be killed before we take notice? The human rights argument is at times achieving more harm than good and instead of preserving human rights, in most cases they are taken away.

    I won’t let this rest. I will find ways to open this debate further. I want answers. The world is not going to get any safer, I am afraid it will get worse.


  5. Ruby slippers
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 22:50:54

    I like your dedication, the trouble is we are all too busy to fight for something like this. It’s a good topic for a debate though to get opinions and views! X


  6. alphabetgames
    Apr 04, 2011 @ 12:04:53

    You’re right, it is a good topic to open up discussions on the subject and of course to raise awareness. Of course, I can not promise anything, but I WILL pursue this, I will look for ways to raise and maintain this much needed awareness and of course will keep you updated.

    Thanks again for choosing this topic!


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