A mum has sparked a debate over whether GPS watches used to track kids movements are a necessary safety device, or a overzealous parenting move.

The parent took to Netmums to ask what other mums thought of Moochies, a wearable mobile phone fitted with GPS tracking so that parents can follow their child's movements at all times.

The mum wrote on the forum: "Moochies are cute, colourful GPS tracking watches for children. But is this a helping hand, or parenting gone mad? You decide."

Many mums were quick to respond that they could see the benefits of being able to track their children through the watch, and that many had either already purchased a Moochies, or planned to in the future.

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One user wrote: "I can see some advantages to these watches. We live in a little village on Dartmoor, surrounded by hundreds of miles of open moorland and fields etc. My children aren't old enough to play out unsupervised yet, however when they are I might consider something like this just in case they did wander off onto the moors and get lost. It wouldn't be something I would want them to be doing, and of course I will teach them that it is important to always let me know where they are going and not to wander off, but they still could do it anyway if I'm not there to watch."

Another mum wrote: "I wouldn't use one on a day to day basis, but a good idea for younger children on a day out just in case they got separated."

Mother and daughter in a supermarket

Other mums pointed out the benefits which the watch would have for children with additional needs such as autism.

One parent said that she thought Moochies would be "a literal life saver" for her son with ASD who likes to be out of the house, but can't communicate and therefore can't tell an adult if he is lost or the how way back to his home.

There were other parents however who were quick to accuse those using the watch as "wrapping their kids in cotton wool", and warned parents not to rely on technology to take responsibility of their child's safety.

One mum said: "Now days people consider technology as everything instead of taking responsibility, I mean I am not going to be harsh, but if you teach the kid some manners and knowing how to behave well then you hardly have to worry much while at the same time it is very crucial to make him/her understand the dangers of certain things, but it can’t be done if you use GPS type of things."

Posters on the thread also suggested that the device would be a privacy violation for older children.

"I won't be buying one, it's a step too far for me. Whatever next? Micro-chipping our children at birth?", one Netmums user said.

Co-founder of the Moochies watch range, Ryan O’Neill, was inspired to create the wearable tracker after he lost their seven-year-old daughter in an Australian shopping centre crowd for a short period of time, with no way of contacting her as she was too young to carry a mobile phone.

The watches, which retail at £59.99 come in a range of bright and colourful patterns, and it designed for children as young as five to wear.

It works much the same as a standard mobile phone, meaning children can make and receive calls to their parents/carers, but doesn't allow browser access or any social media use.

Parents are able to keep tabs on their child's location through a app on their phone, but there is also a SOS feature installed on the child's watch. Once a child has sent a SOS, parents will receive an instantaneous alert with a thirty second recording of the child and what’s around them, as well as their GPS location.

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