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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Of fake kidnaps and real worries

It's one of the greatest fears of a parent.  No, I'm not talking about the moment when your kids ask "Daddy, where do babies come from???".  I'm talking about the fear of your precious ones being kidnapped.  We may not have the millions of Sheng Siong's CEO (his mother was kidnapped), but to us our kids are priceless!  Surely they could be targeted by kidnappers?!

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that many were sharing a shocking account of an attempted kidnap at Legoland, Malaysia.  Apparently, after a search on the premises, the parents finally found their son and were horrified to see that "he has been shaved botak, changed his clothes and shoes, and was placed in a stroller being pushed out of the place."  Also, "... the kid was found to be in a drowsy state, believed to be given something to smell to knock him out.".

My first thought was that it didn't sound very bad, since somebody gave their son a free makeover with the haircut, clothes and shoes and even babysit him for a couple of hours....  Just kidding!

While the story was quickly clarified to be a hoax, the worry of losing your children to kidnappers or abductors is very real.  This video made by ad agency TBWA Kuala Lumpur sums it up very nicely - “A moment of neglect, a lifetime of regret”.

I then wondered, there must be some gizmo out there that can prevent such incidents from happening?  And true to the PriviKids belief, surely there is a gizmo that can also make a fashion statement at the same time?  I did some research, and found this!

Say hello to FiLiP, the world's first smart locator and phone for kids.  Yes, it's a phone too so you can literally (and verbally) say hello to it.  This device kinda brings us back to the future, as your kids would only be able to communicate (via messages and voicecall) with up to 5 preset numbers.  Remember those good old days when a mobile phone is only for making calls to your parents (and maybe the two friends you have)?  It is a smart locator as well, so alerts can go off on your phone when your kid wanders out of the pre-determined 'safezone'.  Needless to say, you can find out where your child is at any point in time.  It also comes with an emergency button which when pressed, sends you location data, starts recording ambient sound (scenes from the movie Taken anyone?) and gives you a call.  AND, it comes in a great design and in various colours.

This little thing is really perfect for parents like me who don't want to put an iPhone/smartphone in the hands of a toddler/tween.

Unfortunately, for us in Singapore, this is only available in the US for now (it was just launched in November 2013).  We contacted the makers in the US and tried to bring the device here through PriviKids, but I guess it's just not in their plans at the moment.  Do you think there is a sizable market for such a device here?


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