Taser Makes Tool to Help Parents Control Kids

No, no, we're not talking about setting your Taser on stun and zapping your offspring. Taser is expanding its product line to include monitoring software that'll help parents track their kids through their cell phones. It's more than a simple location beacon.

Taser calls its new toolset the Protector, which claims to give parents the ability to supervise their children's mobile phone usage and driving behaviors. Parents can manage the contact lists and content of their child's mobile phone - including calls, texts, emails, photos and video, and can automatically limit phone functionality to prevent dangerous distractions while driving. Protector uses integrated GPS, allowing parents to track their child's location, monitor driving habits, and release vital records to the authorities in emergency situations.

"Our mission at Taser International is to protect life - Protector is our latest technology breakthrough to further our mission by empowering families to protect the most precious of lives: our children," says Rick Smith, CEO and founder of Taser International. "Auto accidents are the leading cause of death among American teenagers, and distracted driving is becoming a major factor in these accidents. Protector will play a significant role in addressing this national tragedy."

Taser's Protector site shows mockups with the software running on an iPhone. Of course, without background apps and Apple's notoriously closed system, it remains to be seen just how this system will really work in practice. Still, Taser says that Protector works on multiple devices, each managed through a control panel accessible through a smart phone, PC, Mac or even a TV. Protector is carrier-independent and works even if parents and their children are on different cellular networks.

Is this privacy invasion or just responsible parenting? Sound off in the comments below!

Marcus Yam is a technology evangelist for Intel Corporation, the latest in a long line of tech-focused roles spanning a more than 20-year career in the industry. As Executive Editor, News on Tom's Guide and Tom's Hardware, Marcus was responsible for shaping the sites' news output, and he also spent a period as Editor of Outdoors & Sports at Digital Trends.