An otherwise unassuming neighborhood school in Akron, Ohio, has uncovered a problem in the skies. Windemere Community Learning Center reported alleged drone sightings over their school playground, which wouldn’t be that big of a deal, except students claim that the drone has been communicating with them. A few of the kids have claimed that the drone attempted to lure the students away from the playground. While these claims are so far just that, they could represent a weird and unpredictable future: drones communicating with kids, in a way that beckons back to the “White Van” threats of the past.
While regulations are in place for making sure recreational drone use takes place within safety standards, there is currently no blanket legislation that bans pilots from flying their devices over schools unless they sit within 5 miles of an airport. Local ordinances vary, however. The reality is that, in the wrong hands, drones could pose a dangerous new threat to our children: most drones equipped with cameras that capture high-quality footage, but nefarious users could apparently lure kids away with voice commands.
If unchecked, drones and their very real threat could become that. There are other concerns, too, about talking drones targeting children that aren’t as immediate to their bodily harm, including data collection, direct advertising to children, and more. An unregulated market could become a dangerous one. A few more drone sightings and the white van threat of yore might end up being the white drone in the sky.