My friend has a 15-year-old daughter. The 15-year-old daughter has a cell phone, which my friend tracks. My friend knows where her daughter is at all times. My friend checks up on her daughter about 17 times a day.
My friend uses an app like Life360. This sort of application allows parents to see where their child is in real time. Life360 promises that families “can feel free, together.” When I exhibited reluctance regarding the wisdom of keeping teenagers on virtual leashes, my friend had reasons for this practice. She told me that she worries about kidnapping and, if little Sally falls into a well, at least she’ll be located and helped.
If she falls into a well? Where? At Oxmoor Mall?
In an article from the New York Times, Professor Lorrie Faith Cranor says that she doesn’t track her kids because she wants to avoid having her kids “feel like their parents are following them around all the time.” Likewise, mother Kate Gjaja says that she doesn’t track her kids because “an important part of the growing up process” is to learn “to manage without adult supervision.”
The same article cites research that teenagers “go on to have higher levels of conflict at home” as a result of this parental looking over the shoulder. The child can begin to feel smothered and over-tended when, cliché as it is, they want to see if their wings actually work.
There is nothing wrong with being aware of what your child is doing, whether on the computer or in real life. As a parent, you should know your kid’s friends, you should know (and be able to trust) that your children are where they say they’re going to be. Unless your kid has an unbreakable habit of burning down the neighbors’ birdhouses, maybe laying off the reigns is a good idea.
Make a compromise with your child: have the capacity to track your child, but only use it if your kid is an hour late coming home. That way, there’s a safety net, but you’re still raising your child to become a responsible and self-sufficient adult.
Bourke Accounting won’t track your location. Well, if you forget to bring your W2s during tax season, they might. Bourke Accounting will track your investments, your wages and your bookkeeping needs. You won’t find a better tracking app to help you through the maze of finances than Bourke Accounting.
Written by Sue H.