You have probably seen the ads by now and the news coverage discussing Tampa Bay Monitoring’s GPS devices available for parents of troubled teens to track their whereabouts. Fox 13 News, Orlando Sentinel, and the Miami Herald are among the news outlets that have recently reported on this service and interviewed Frank Kopczynski, the owner of Tampa Bay Monitoring.
As the word gets out, some people have expressed concern about these devices. So who is using them, and what do they really do?
Ankle monitors are not a new idea. They have been used for years for offenders on house arrest, or for parolees. Now, Tampa Bay Monitoring is offering these devices to parents of teens on the path to crime, those with a history of running away, or those exhibiting other delinquent or criminal behaviors:
- These devices are for local families and are monitored by Tampa Bay Monitoring for an affordable monitoring fee.
- Each family interested in obtaining a device meets with Tampa Bay Monitoring to discuss their concerns and objectives.
- The adolescents who receive these devices have already been involved in some sort of illicit activities and their parents are at their wits’ end. Some have run away more than once, some have been using drugs, skipped school, snuck out of the house, or any number of other risky behaviors.
- The parents who obtain a device are also given resources to access counseling and other services to keep their teen safe and law abiding.
Some critics feel the device goes too far. However, Tampa Bay Monitoring will not issue a device to parents whose child has simply been a little disruptive, or got bad grades, or to parents who are just worried that their daughter likes the wrong boy. The initial meeting with the experienced staff at Tampa Bay Monitoring helps weed out “helicopter” parents who simply want to control their teen’s movements.
These are serious cases where other forms of discipline have not been successful. For most parents, the choice comes down to making their child uncomfortable and angry that he’s being tracked as opposed to picking him up from jail, or even the morgue, when he crosses the line from delinquent behavior to felony criminal acts.
It is not cruel to ask your child to go to school, come home from school, and stay home. When all other efforts have failed, a monitoring device may be right for you.
Owner of Tampa Bay Monitoring explains how and why parents may use the tracking device on ‘Fox & Friends.’ Family Therapist Tom Kersting also weighs in and his response may surprise you.