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Topic - GPS trackers for DofE

Irk the Purist - on 15 May 2013
This is a sensible thread! Help me form an opinion on this.

I'm a DofE assessor and supervisor with the Scouts and my area has recently purchased two GPS trackers. Each gives their location via the internet and is equipped with two 'emergency' buttons, the first of which texts a pre-programmed number and the second calls the emergency services.

I am against this sort of technology because it removes the independence and self sufficiency of the expedition. Likewise, I know 15 year olds and if there's a gadget, they'll want to use it. Sure enough in one of the expeditions that have already used it, they pressed a button for an asthma attack. Now I don't know the details but my scouts have 'asthma attacks' every time we go up a hill. It's also much easier to quit if you can just press a button wherever you are. I don't think it adds a layer of safety because the group should be able to give a grid reference if necessary anyway. I think it will encourage unqualified leaders to rely on this technology, and provide a false sense of safety. I think parents will come to expect the technology and ultimately we'll all be forced to go out and buy the kit. It weighs 150g.

On the plus side, it makes supervising a lot easier. That's all I can think of.

Thoughts? Could you justify not using one to a judge if something awful did happen?
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