'Big Mother' keeps tabs on your life

Surge in devices that 'mother' users have hit the market

ORLANDO, Fla. - No matter how old children get, the old adage "mother knows best" still applies. At least that's what Zach Pope thinks.

But since Pope's mother can't be around her college-age son, he turned to technology. He uses the HAPiFork with a built-in sensor to let him know to not eat so fast.

"It tracks how quickly you're eating and can give you a gentle warning if maybe you're gulping down your food," said Lindsay Turrentine, of C-Net.

HAPiFork is just one of many devices designed to nudge you in the right direction, with an entire new world of sensor-based technology that can sort of mother you.

Turrentine said the products use tiny sensors to track your movements and things that you do in your everyday life.

One device, appropriately named Mother, allows you to track anything from placing it in a backpack to knowing the minute a child walks out the door, to putting it into a water glass to monitor how many sips of water were consumed throughout the day.

Other gadgets remind you to sit up straight, wear sunscreen based on the weather forecast, or track how often and how long your brush your teeth.

Dr. Judith Stevens-Long, a professor of human development at Fielding University in Santa Barbara, does not think technology can break bad habits.

"You get tired of it. It can be annoying. You turn it off when you don't want to do it," said Stevens-Long.

Turrentine said there is also an issue of privacy.

"Just make sure that you read the agreements carefully and if you're really paranoid about being hacked, don't use them," Turrentine said.

Copyright 2014 by ClickOrlando.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.