Life 360 puts a divide parents and teens
By Catherine Brown, Photo & Business Editor
In a modern age, parents are finding new ways to track their kids. This leads to distrust between parents and their kids. Life 360, along with related apps like Glympse, provide a location monitoring service, which allows families to track each other’s location at any point in time. However, rather than fostering an environment of communication among families, parents are given the opportunity to open an app and track their kid. This creates a divide between parents and their children, and leads to teens putting themselves in possibly dangerous situations with no means of communication.
It’s understandable that parents want to be able to see their child’s location. However, parents should be able to ask their kids where they are rather than relying on an app to track them. Parents and their kids should be able to have a relationship where the teen feels comfortable telling their parents where they are. Relying on an app to track their location destroys that connection.
Many kids, instead of having an app, should just tell their parents if they were leaving. This way parents can trust them to call them if needed, or even to utilize the old “call when you get there.”
However, parents don’t always feel the need to allow their kid freedom, which most teens will be after graduating highschool, when they are on their own. Some parents will continue to track their kids even into college.
As a result of this, some high school kids are known to go to a friend’s house, and instead of texting their parents to let them know that they are going to a new place, they will leave their phone at the house so their parents cannot see their location. Many parents who use such apps might use the argument that it’s a safety hazard to not know the location of their child, but in reality, it’s putting teens into risky situations and causing them to learn how to sneak around.
If a teen leaves their phone, when put into a dangerous situation, they are now unable to call for help. Maybe the teen needs to call their parents to go pick them up because they feel uncomfortable but will be unable to because they don’t have a phone.
Safety should be prioritized above all else. Many teens are given phones for the purpose of communication. When teens are forced to get a tracking app, they are more likely put themselves in a situation where they can’t make a call in an emergency.
As teens, we are often more concerned of the consequences rather than our own safety.
Teens and parents need to form a bond of trust between them. Even if there’s a lack of trust between parents and kids, the adult should let them know that even if they lie, or are in a bad situation, they will be able to call for help when needed.
For some teens, they don’t actually care their parents can always see their location. What gets to them is the reasoning behind their parents getting the app in the first place. Lots of kids are forced into getting the app as a punishment for dishonesty, such as sneaking out of the house. Using an app doesn’t help your teen in the long run. For some parents, supervision has been turned into super-surveillance.
Instead of tracking your kid, find a better solution of knowing where your child is. If they go to a friend’s house, talk to the friends parents and make sure where they said they’d be is where they are. This can also help build that bond of trust.
If you really need to know where your child is and they aren’t responding to your texts or calls, this is when you can use such apps and features as “Find My iPhone” or other equivalent options where in an emergency you can turn it on and find them.
At this point, apps like Life 360 are just an invasion of privacy. Parents, you don’t need to know where your kids are 24/7. If you can’t trust your kid enough for them to just let you know where they are, then you need to create that bond with your teen. For generations, people have been able to go out and leave their house without their parents having to know their every move, so why start now? When such apps are used, that freedom is taken away, and when freedom is taken away, trust is broken. And nothing matters more in a family than trust.