Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Remote Training My Kids

I have decided what I really want for Christmas. Shock collars. For my kids. I know shock collars are traditionally put on hunting dogs, but I see some real potential for them in the arena of parenting. Actually, they are now known as “remote trainers” in the hunting world, since most of them have a feature where you can first send your misbehaving pooch an audible tone instead of a shock. If they don’t get the message to heel from the beep in their ear, then you can hit them with the voltage to straighten them out.

That’s a good system, and “remote trainer” is a good name for what I want to outfit my children with. I’m not sure a big dog collar is really the way to go with kids, but it will have to do until the technology catches up and we can have implantable chips behind their ears.

The idea hit me the other morning while I was in my office. My boys were in the game room down the hall watching early morning cartoons, and my wife was still sleeping. They were forgetting to use their whisper voices during an argument about Phineas and Ferb, and I was forced to get out of my chair and walk down the hall to shush them. Since my wife was sleeping in the next room, I couldn’t just remain seated and yell for them to be quiet.

Besides the obvious irony of yelling “Be quiet,” we are trying to do less remote voice-activated parenting, not more. Standing in one place and yelling castigations at your kids is a very Walmart style of parenting, and we are looking to parent at at least a Target or Costco level. The remote trainer would help tremendously in that effort, since our house is 3200 square feet. I don’t want to yell, but I also don’t want to walk up all those damn stairs again just to quietly tell one of my boys to stop sitting on the other one.

The children’s remote trainer I’m envisioning would go much further than the canine version, since we are dealing with humans here, even if the difference is hard to perceive most days. The kid’s collars would obviously have the shock feature and the audible tone, but they would also have a two-way intercom, a closed-circuit video camera, a muted listening mode, and even a heart rate monitor.

Picture the scene:
You are lounging comfortably in the living room with your favorite (insert time-sucking device here). You hear one of your offspring fail to use his or her nice words. The situation is escalating, and soon there will be hurt feelings (or noses) if cooler adult heads do not intervene. You call out for your spouse, but they have obviously fled the house in search of a more peaceful environment. It is up to you to discipline your children. Drat.

If you are striving to parent above a Walmart level, this is when you would normally have to resist your natural urge to yell “Knock it off!” at the top of your lungs and actually move your butt out of the chair. No need! Enter your saving grace, the Smidge Long distAnce Parenting Electronic Module, or SLAP ‘EM, for short. Just pull up the SLAP ‘EM app on your smartphone, choose the offending child from the home screen, and pick your mode of action. A friendly audible tone to alert the offending youngster that punishment is coming if immediate action is not taken to apply the golden rule and use your nice words, or perhaps a friendly conversation with the tyke on the intercom located just below his or her chin. After getting laid out on the carpet a few times with the 2000-volt “enforcer” mode, your little cutie pies should straighten up and fly right at the first hint of sound from their new collars.

Afraid they might try to remove the collar and negate its effectiveness? Not to worry. Any unauthorized tampering with the locking clasp and the enforcer mode is triggered. Zap! They won’t try that twice.

Things a little too quiet in the next room? Check the video feed and listen in to see what your angel is up to. You can check their vital stats, too. Monitor heart rate and breathing for their safety, and also to make sure they didn’t somehow Houdini the thing off and leave it lying on the floor while you mistakenly think they are just having an impromptu nap.

With a 20-year battery life and the app running off your Wi-Fi at home, and your cell signal when your child is roaming, the SLAP ‘EM will have an unlimited range, so you can use it when they are in elementary school all the way through grad school. You can monitor their school day from the comfort of your couch, or if you prefer, shareable access codes to the smartphone app will allow other parents and even their teachers to keep them in line at all times. Sleepovers will cease to be the chaotic nightmare they once were when all the kids see their names on your SLAP ‘EM home screen.

“What about my younger kids?” you ask. Although we no longer have any toddlers in the house, I remember them as being a handful. They make toddler leashes, but do you really want to step over that line and put your toddler on an actual leash? Of course you do. You just don’t want to be actually seen in public with your kid on an actual leash, but in public is exactly where you need it. Problem solved with the SLAP ‘EM! You have your cell phone in your hand at all times anyway, so why not let that fact put the fear of God into your little munchkins? It’s an electronic leash, with no unsightly, shame-inducing actual physical tether.

No kid will be safe when you can always reach out and SLAP ‘EM! (All rights reserved) Look for them at fine retailers -- or at least at Walmart -- by next Christmas.

What will all this surveillance and instant punishment do to the next generation of children? No telling, but I’m sure everything will turn out just fine.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2013 Marc Schmatjen

Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!


  1. Id like one for my siblings too. Why should my tormenting end just because we grew up and moved away?

  2. I'll put you on the list for beta testers, and I will email over the liability release forms today.