October 14, 2022 | Custody and Parenting

To Track Or Not To Track, That Is The Question!

The old TV announcement from the 90s, “it is 10:00 p.m. do you know where your children are?” That now means something very different, if you want to know the technology certainly exists. Parents no longer have to wonder whether your kids made it to their friends house, got to school on time, or actually went where they told you they were going. Even better you don’t have to depend on them to text your back or answer your calls.

The idea of parents wondering if their teenager lied about where they were going is gone if you opt for tracking. Life 360, Find my Friends on iPhone, and Apple AirTags have made tracking your kids accessible and easier than ever before.

Life 360 is a mobile app that tracks your location. It allows family members to see your precise location. One of its most interesting extra features is that it can alert family members when you leave or enter the house.

Find my Friends on iPhone is a very common and discrete way that parents track their kids. The app allows parents who have access to their child’s location to see their exact location based on when they use their phone. Users have the option to accept or decline a friend on the app. Many parents choose to add themselves on their child’s phone while not allowing their child to view their own location. On the app, you can see if someone is able to view your location without them sharing theirs. There is also an option to view each other’s location.

Apple AirTags are tracking devices that can help you keep track of your belongings. They can also be placed in a child’s backpack to track them. The AirTag will then appear in the Find My app on an iPhone.

These tools can be very helpful for parents of teens who drive. It is a great way to ensure that they have arrived safely at their destination. Also, parents with kids in college can use any of these tools to check in with their kids, especially if they are walking somewhere alone.

In the time we are living today, parents are fearful of abduction and child trafficking. Having the ability to track your child while they are out at a big event or party, away for college, can make parenting much less stressful.

Parents who track their kids feel very strongly about it and its many safety benefits. They believe that it also forces their children to make smart choices because if they go somewhere that their parents do not approve of, they will know. That being said, it is very probable that most children, teenagers do not know they are being tracked. It is also not entirely full proof as the apps can be turned off, deactivated, air tag is not in the bag they brought out etc. That being said, it can definitely ease some parental anxiety re safety etc.

However, some parents are morally opposed to tracking their kids. They were not tracked when they were growing up and think that it is an invasion of privacy. It can be damaging to their relationship with their child. These parents prefer to teach their children the importance of trust and maintaining healthy boundaries. According to the New York Times, Children who are tracked are often less likely to become independent and often develop anxiety-related issues.
Parents should consider allowing their child to view their location as well. This will often make a child feel like the tracking is being done purely for safety reasons and not as an invasion of privacy. In doing so, the child will develop a relationship of trust with their parent while also having all the safety benefits of being tracked.

There are many practical benefits to tracking your kids. However, it is also important to consider the impact it can have on your relationship with your child as well as their psychological well-being. Every family’s situation and priorities are different, and it is important to make the choice that works best for you and your family. Below are links with additional information.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/10/learning/should-parents-track-their-children.html

https://globalnews.ca/news/6187813/tracking-kids-gps/