A city in southern China has distributed nearly 17,000 smart watches for free to primary school students to help their parents keep track of their whereabouts.
The gadgets are equipped with microchips that are powered by the Chinese home navigation system Beidou and are compatible with GPS.
They can send students 'real-time locations via an app to their parents' smartphones and have the wearers call their parents with a single button in an emergency.
Two students in Guangzhou, China, are demonstrating their smart watches after having received them this week
The advanced timepieces have microchips powered by China & # 39; s own Beidou satellite navigation system and can send the wearer's real-time location to their parents' smartphones
The government-led project is part of the Beijing initiative to & # 39; smart campuses & # 39; to build throughout the country.
& (39) (If I) wear this watch, mom and dad will know where I am even when they are at home. (I) can call them and send messages to them immediately after school, & Chen Xin, a fourth grade student, told a reporter from Guangzhou Daily.
Chen is one of the first children to receive the advanced timepiece this week in Guangzhou, the capital of the Guangdong province with a population of 15 million.
Many schools in China have forbidden students to take smartphones to school, and the watches can help parents worry about their children, said Li Mingqiu, a headmaster in Guangzhou.
Local authorities have offered the devices to students in more than 60 schools in the Nansha district of the city after their parents requested them through teachers.
The district government plans to spend around 13,000 more.
Local authorities have offered the equipment to study at more than 60 schools in Nansha District
Parents can receive notifications about their children's locations via an app called & # 39; Peaceful Campus & # 39;
The district government of Nansha plans to hand out a total of 30,000 smart watches
Zhu Yanjun, an engineer from the watch manufacturer, said the wrist watch would be able to accurately determine the position of the child to 10 meters (32.8 feet).
& # 39; We have also developed the Water Hazard Alarm feature to remind parents to pay attention (to lakes and rivers) and to help prevent drowning accidents, & # 39; said the engineer from Guangzhou Haige Communications Group.
Handout photos released by the Nansha Authority through its official account on WeChat, a popular Chinese messaging app, show teachers at a school to pass on the watches to students in a classroom.
The watches are accompanied by the Beidou Navigation Satellite System from Beijing, which contains 19 satellites from 2018 and offers navigation services for users around the world.
The Beidou system will also run the leading Chinese high-speed driverless trains developed for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
A student from the 11th high school in Hangzhou sees it as an opportunity to enter the school through an intelligent vision system. Schools throughout China have started installing AI-powered gates
The & # 39; smart campus & # 39; initiative was launched in 2016 by the Chinese Ministry of Education as part of the country's thirteenth five-year plan to modernize school facilities across the country.
The school campaign is facilitated by the & # 39; big data & # 39; technology, which is also part of the 13th five-year plan of Beijing.
The & # 39; big data & # 39; technology is in turn supported by a national surveillance system with 200 million AI-powered street cameras & # 39; s. The surveillance system aims to identify 1.4 billion citizens of China within three seconds.
According to local authorities, a typical & # 39; smart campus & # 39; required for face recognition ports, Wi-Fi signals, and robotic assistants.
A student from Hangzhou 11 Middle School borrows books using the face recognition system. The & # 39; smart campus & # 39; initiative was launched by Beijing in 2016 as part of the country's thirteenth five-year plan to modernize school facilities across the country
Schools in other provinces, such as Guizhou, have also required their students to wear AI-filled uniforms with tracking chips to track their activities.
A high school in Zhejiang Province became a trending topic on social media last year after installing facial recognition cameras in classrooms to ensure that students pay attention during class.
School violence is relatively rare in China, but a number of horrific incidents in the past year have shocked the country.
Child abductions are also a major social concern in the country, and suspected traffickers in the past have posed as parents to pick up children from kindergartens and daycare centers.
A poster of Guizhou Guanyu technology shows two young models with the AI-driven uniform that can help track student activities on campus
The uniform (above) costs £ 17 per set and can be adjusted based on the school's requirement
The headmaster of a kindergarten in Shenzhen, a city in Guangdong province, said the school's AI-powered surveillance system could track students and their parents and prevent children from being collected by the wrong people.
Critics, however, have expressed concerns about China's high-tech school system and claim that it could be a violation of students' rights to privacy.
Chu Zhaohui, a researcher at the Chinese National Institute of Education Sciences, urged school authorities to respect students' freedom while using artificial intelligence on campus.
Chu told Southern Metropolitan Daily that educators should not use the technology by force to damage the autonomy of education & # 39; and enforce strong control over young people.
Why is child abduction a serious problem in China?
About 200,000 boys and girls are reportedly missing in China every year
Child abduction is a serious problem in China, especially in rural areas.
An important cause is that Chinese families prefer sons to daughters, resulting in buying baby boys.
Moreover, a serious gender gap – the result of four decades of one-child policy – has made it difficult for Chinese men to find women. That is why teenage girls are sometimes kidnapped and sold as child brides.
Child abduction remains a sensitive issue for the Chinese authorities. No official figures have been released about how many children are abducted in China every year.
However, according to a report from 2016 on Chinese news site Caijing, an estimated 200,000 boys and girls are missing every year. Among them, only 200, or 0.1 percent, could find their parents at some point in their lives.
Research shows that around 64 percent of children abducted in China are boys
The report also claims that there are more than a million child beggars in China and most of them have been abducted or forced to beg by their families.
Baobeihuijia, a website that specializes in connecting families with their missing members, has conducted an investigation into the abducted children in China based on 8,861 cases mentioned on their website.
The research shows that about 64 percent of the abducted children are boys and that more than 75 percent of the abducted children are younger than six years.
However, among those abducted above the age of 13, there are more girls than boys.
The survey also claims that children under the age of four are likely to be abducted in China.
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