It is a thin line being a protective parent and becoming overly involved in your child’s life.
For some time now educators have been dealing with those so called helicopter parents who pay extremely close attention to their children’s experiences and problems. What originally started at often high-priced higher education institutions and earned some parents from the baby-boomer generation notoriety has since turned into a phenomenon and is widely spread over the entire schooling of a child starting from pre-kindergarten, K-12 well into college.
In 2011 Tiger Mom’s Chinese parenting style got everyone talking about, in 2012 we heard about the techie father who built a helicopter drone accompanying his son to the bus stop. While the cases mentioned aren’t rare individual cases anymore, the trend still largely depends on one’s own initiative, at least in the US and Europe.
Now, some Asian startups see a lucrative market in assisting worried parents track their kids’ whereabouts on their commute to school, taking this whole phenomenon to the next level.
Thailand-based startup Nugrean helps parents track their kids’ whereabouts when on the schoolbus. The same is true for the kids’ teachers who can also log on and see where the bus is on a map either in the morning driving to school or on the way home.
The startup believes that its service will help the safety and quality of life of the children and subsequently the parents as well.
Nugrean CEO Shotiwan Wattanalarp already eyes potential internationalization of the app and says the team will add new features like students’ interests and behavior.
BusBuzz, an app from Singapore, is based on a similar concept like Nugrean but was founded by a concerned parent based on personal experience with his child.
BusBuzz wants to facilitate the communication between parents and bus operators. With BusBuzz bus operators have a convenient way to take attendance of every child, parents have peace of mind that their child is actually on the bus on the way to or back from school or receive a notification if their child is not in the pick-up zone for one reason, i.e if there is a change of schedule.
Singapore-based MyBusMate aims to give parents who wait for their children at the bus stop real time updates on their whereabouts so they don’t need to worry in case the bus is late. While children could certainly update their parents via SMS, MyBusMate also has features for school administrators and bus companies baked into the product.
Parents benefit from real time tracking and push notifications, schools can message parents and bus operators as well as check student attendance, and bus companies get features like automatic invoicing and student manifest.
Although all three solutions are still fairly new and have to prove themselves, their usefulness and usability, but they surely illustrate a new trend in K-12 that, once enough data points are in, will catch the interest of parents and schools in other parts of the world.
As protective parents face the same worries and challenges this might actually have the potential to catch on in the US and other countries as well given the infrastructure and organization of everyday life at school are comparable.
- EdTech Startups Asia: easyuni, MyBusMate, SchoolofTutors and Mettl | EDUKWEST
- Track your kids’ whereabouts with BusBuzz! | e27
- Thai startup plans to assuage the anxieties of parents as they track the whereabouts of their children when they’re on the school bus | e27
- Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior | Wall Street Journal
- Helicopter parent: Techy dad builds drone to hover over kid (+video) | Christian Science Monitor