A federal grant is giving money to California’s Contra Costa County to track preschool-age children using RFID chips. These RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips are a device that tracks the exact location of the item on which the tag is located. This is used on all items such as CDs, electronic devices, clothing, and more. Helps prevent theft by alarming doors if someone walks out with an unpaid or “degaussed” item at the check booths. These chips can also be used to track people’s behavior through their personal items. The George Miller III Head Start program in Richmond, California is the first school to adopt this new technology here in California. This controversial chip is not placed inside the human body, but is used attached to a shirt that children will have to wear. These shirts will have an RFID chip inside and all doors in the school will automatically search them. This helps them cut costs and keep an “inventory” of children.

Much controversy has arisen with these chips. Although they seem harmless because they are used outside the body, parents wonder why this kind of safety and control is necessary for preschool-age children. This seems beyond any kind of monitoring necessary for children under the age of five. What the county hopes to benefit from the chip is children’s movements for data collection, automatic attendance and tracking of meal times. According to a county official; They are implementing this to reduce the cost of teachers manually tracking this information so they can better serve the needs of their students and have more time to teach them. The question is … how much time do you really save? Do the benefits of this device outweigh the risk and cost / maintenance? What if someone forgets their jersey at home or a chip starts to fail and the system crashes? Then it would do more harm than good, drawing the teachers’ attention away for an even longer period of time trying to fix the system and manually count the kids who forgot their shirt.

It is safe? That is a question from many parents whose children attend this school. After approving this new program, they had not designed an opt-out option for parents who were concerned about this. They have been using this RFID system for a long time in the UK and Japan with young children because they are faster and harder to track. They say it is great for safety as it protects children from being kidnapped and kidnapped. The other side of the argument says that because these trackers are only embedded in clothing, it would be easy for a child to remove their shirt or any item of clothing that RFID was attached to and then it would be useless for security.

Are these chips a false sense of security for parents and school officials or do they really help teachers have more time to teach their children? Whatever your thoughts on this device, the technology has come a long way and it’s only getting better.

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