One of the highest priorities for a parent when it comes to their children is their safety.
It’s not as worrying once they’ve grown into young adults, since by that age they’ve probably learnt how to watch out for their own safety.
But children under 18 may not understand how to keep themselves safe, or even see the importance of doing so.
Here’s where TraqKid comes in to not only educate them and their parents on child safety, but also to provide a service that lets parents consensually track their children’s whereabouts.
4 co-founders—Simon (CEO), June (COO), Gibson (CMO), and Kuan—all from different professional backgrounds, came together to create TraqKid out of a shared concern for Malaysian children, being parents themselves.
It was officially launched in November 2017 by the then Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, YB Dato Seri Hajah Rohani Abdul Karim.
Born From Personal Experience
During a family holiday in Kota Bharu when Simon was 7, he nearly lost his eldest brother, Ivan while they were playing outside next to a lively market.
Ivan had gotten onto a bicycle and cycled into the crowd, and Simon and his younger brother couldn’t keep up with him, so they went home.
At noon, they realised that Ivan still wasn’t home and finally told their mother what had happened.
“I can still remember my mum’s frantic look. Messy hair and tears rolling down her cheeks as she went around the market asking everyone that she could grab a hold of about my brother’s whereabouts,” Simon recalled.
Concerned hawkers left their stalls and came up to her to ask what Ivan looked like, and over 50 motorbikes began rounding the streets, shouting Ivan’s name.
Luckily, he would be led home several hours later by an uncle on a motorbike.
His brother may only have been missing for a few hours, but the sense of loss that Simon had felt back then is a feeling that’s stayed with him since and led to him starting TraqKid.
More Than Just A Tracker
TraqKid’s mission is to solve any issues with Malaysian children’s safety, namely on missing persons or runaways, domestic abuse, cyberbullying, and physical bullying.
It does this through a few simple features. Firstly, it allows parents to track their children’s location via mobile phone after both parties download TraqKid’s app.
For younger children without mobile phones, parents can purchase a tracking IoT and download TraqKid’s app.
In the app, there’s a single call button that’s connected to their nationwide 24/7 response centre which provides services such as:
- The assignment of case managers to manage critical cases
- Escalation to authority for support
- Deployment of nearest responders to the incident site
- Legal advice
- Advice from child psychologists
The response centre is manned by volunteers from corporates, the public, and Community Policing Malaysia (CPM), an organisation founded by Kuan.
“Volunteers will sign up to become community police under CPM. Upon passing background checks and due diligence in CPM, the approved volunteers’ application forms will need to be submitted to the department called Jabatan Pencegahan Jenayah Dan Keselamatan Komuniti (JPJKK) in Royal Malaysia Police HQ, Bukit Aman,” Simon and June assured us of the responders’ legitimacy.
Meanwhile, the standard operating procedures of the response centre were designed with the help of TraqKid’s Advisory Board Chairman, Tan Sri Musa Hassan, who was the former eighth Inspector-General of Police.
Lastly, you’ll find a list of SafeHubs on the app. They consist of a network of merchant premises that can lend a helping hand to kids in distress when assistance is needed. Tealive is one merchant that has signed up, providing its 450 branches across Malaysia as SafeHubs.
Built On Trust
For TraqKid to be used effectively, parents must establish trust between them and their children so that they’ll voluntarily use the app.
Through the app, parents add their child’s mobile phone number and an OTP will be sent to the child’s phone.
The child can only be added into the system once the OTP has been shared with the parent.
“With this back and forth entry of OTPs, there is no way for the kid who is added in the tracking app to be unaware that the parent is intending to track their whereabouts. Hence, we have always stressed that it is important for parents to inform their kids and communicate their intention for doing so,” Simon and June said.
The type of data that is collected and stored in an encrypted server is parent/guardian information like their mobile phone number, name, email, along with their child’s mobile phone number.
In the app itself, a child is represented by a 3-character long name which only the parent would know, and once a child has been registered to a primary parent in the app, no one else can add the same number to track the child.
This is the sort of safety measure in place to prevent others from using the app to stalk children.
TraqKid also has no access to the children’s location, and can only do so upon voice recorded consent from parents via their call centre.
When someone calls in, TraqKid’s response team will identify the severity of the situation and assign a case manager to manage the parent-kid-responder communication and contact authorities for serious cases.
Safety For Children All Over
TraqKid’s app is completely free to use, so the team monetises in other ways through their children’s personal accident insurance and their enrichment programmes (meant to educate children and parents alike on child safety). They also plan to sell advertisement space as another revenue stream in the future.
When it comes to conveying and advocating for safety ideas, the team still faces an uphill battle.
“Many Malaysians think that safety is the job of our police and the government, hence they don’t take safety ideas from a commercial company seriously. Our enrichment programmes have been specially crafted to improve the safety rates, and we do have sign-ups, but it is yet to be growing fast enough,” Simon and June shared.
Nonetheless, the team remains hopeful for TraqKid’s future.
“In the next 2 years, we hope to see at least 10% of our kids utilising TraqKid as their safety beacon, and that our services can be extended to Thailand and Singapore to have cross-border usage and support.”
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Featured Image Credit: TraqKid