STOCKHOLM – Day-care centers in Sweden have started using GPS systems and other electronic tracking devices to keep tabs on children during excursions — a practice that has raised ethical and practical questions.

Some parents are worried day-care centers will use the technology to replace staff. Others wonder whether getting children used to being under surveillance could affect their idea of privacy when they grow older.

Monica Blank-Hedqvist, the principal of a day-care center in the city of Borlange told The Associated Press Wednesday her staff has been using such devices during supervised walks in the forest: the kids wear vests with transmitters that staff can track on a screen.

“It is excellent, it has been only positive for us,” Blank-Hedqvist said.

The devices are used as extra security by three preschool teachers watching around 20 children, to quickly discover if one of them strays away from the group, she said.

Par Strom, an author and commentator on issues related to technology and privacy, told news agency TT that he is of two minds about the tracking.

“On the one hand I can see the practical advantages in some situations. At the same time, you get children used to constant surveillance at a very young age,” he said.

Not everyone is convinced the tracking systems can increase security for their children.

“What a shame we don’t use the money and energy on salaries (for day-care employees) instead,” columnist and mother of three, Malin Wollin wrote on tabloid Aftonbladet’s website Wednesday. “Everyone who has ever had a cell phone, or a TV, or a computer know that technology sometimes plays up.”