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Sunday, August 28, 2005
  blackhole- Embracing tech to keep kids safety
Worried by a spate of high-profile attacks on children, parents are turning to the most advanced technology to make sure their kids will never be missing for a moment or stabbed by a knife.

From knife-proof clothing to schoolbags equipped with global positioning systems (GPS), parents are leaving nothing to chance despite living in one of the world’s safest countries.

Afraid that bad man are out to stab their children – a fear made more palpable after the 2001 slashing deaths of eight students in school by a madman – parents now have a defence in knife-resistant clothing.

The long-sleeve T-shirts, sweaters and coats look like any other attire, but they are billed as resistant to slashes inflicted with the force of an adult male.

The secret of the clothing marketed by Madre Security, based in southern Japanese city of Fukuoka, is glass fibre of the extra-strong Spectra polyethylene fibre developed by US technology firm Honeywell.

For adults who are concern themselves about the company they keep, the knife-resistant clothing is also available in grown-up sizes.
Other high-tech gadgets on the market include schoolbags equipped with GPS – the satellite system used by the US military – to ensure they can be tracked at all times.

The technology can also be fun for children. Toy maker Tomy Co Ltd is selling alarms in the shape of the popular Pokemon characters.

The small cartoon figure is attached to a backpack, and when the child senses danger he or she can pull off the Pokemon character’s head, sounding an alarm noise.

A school has begun trial system under which children carry a microchip-embedded tag as small as a matchbox. Antennas at watchpoints catch the tag’s radiowaves and send e-mail to the children’s parents letting them know they are safe.

The tag also has an alert button, triggering a stream of message that give the children’s name and location to their parents, guardians who volunteer in the programme, and a security company.

Of course there has been demand for private security services from wealthy people, but it is only recently that ordinary people began to show interest.

-high-tech kid-

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