Подпись: 6Child Locators

In a televised commercial for Duracell batteries, an attractive, white woman daydreaming in a park becomes aware that her young child is missing. As the advertisement says, this “beautiful day” suddenly “turned into every parents nightmare.” Frantically the mother looks around, only to catch a glimpse of an ominous white van driving away. She sees no sign of her son. Ever more distressed, she searches in her pocketbook to find her “child locator.” Once she has pressed the appropriate button, she is guided toward her child, who, it turns out, is simply walking calmly with his red balloon, hidden from view for a moment by a small rise in the landscape. The joyful reunion between mother and child is secured through a new technology brought to her by a company called BrickHouse and made reliable by Duracell.1

The child locator, an electronic device that can be attached to a child’s wrist, pinned to clothing, or tied to a shoelace is, on the face of it, an unobtrusive way to keep children from wandering. Interestingly, perhaps because my research assistants and I discussed these devices with parents before widespread distribu­tion of the Duracell advertisement, those with whom we spoke had very strong, mostly negative reactions to this particular device. No parent had ever used such a device, and fewer than half of all parents said that they might or would have used one if it had been available when they had young children. Interest­ingly, as well, there were fairly sharp class differences in the responses. Over 80 percent of all professional middle-class parents said that they would not have used such a device had it been available when they had young children; many fewer working-class and middle-class parents gave this negative response.2