Con: Should parents use Life360 to track their kids?

Life360 has accumulated 25 million users since its launch, making it one of the most popular geolocation apps offered on the Appstore. Despite Life360’s success, the app is invasive, negatively impacts teenagers’ social lives, hinders teenagers from developing independence and creates distrust between parents and their kids.

Life360 offers three different memberships for helicopter parents. The features included for the free membership are location sharing, battery monitoring, location ETA, place alerts, history and help alerts. The highest level of Life360 membership, for $7.99 a month, has additional features such as crash detection, emergency response, roadside assistance and driver reports. While these features promote safety, the constant monitoring of teenagers’ activities both online and in real life is doing more harm than good.

Lenore Skenazy makes an important point on “Until now, the only people who lived under 24/7 surveillance were incarcerated people.” Even though parents being aware of their children’s whereabouts at all times may sound safe and could possibly prevent dangerous situations from occurring in the first place, nobody should be constantly monitored. Teens can still be safe without being tracked all the time.

According to a survey of 201 CHS students, 57% of them have Life360 or another tracking app. Additionally, 72% of those surveyed think that being tracked online is invasive. Teens might sound biased if they say that the app is intrusive, but they are not wrong. According to Business Insider, over 82% of all teenagers own an iPhone. Parents do not need to track their child’s location to this extent because their child has a contact device on them at all times. The only thing a parent has to do to check on their kid is call or text them.

The app’s original purpose was to reassure parents that their children are safe but, instead of calming parents, the app creates the fear that their kids are either in constant danger or deliberately disobeying them. Parents go into a panic when their child has not responded or when they receive a notification that their child’s phone battery is low. Parents have the right intentions when downloading these apps, as they want to keep their kids safe, but, if a kid accidentally leaves their phone at a friend’s house or if they lose their phone entirely, the parent might assume that their child is in extreme danger. In addition to harming teen development, the app also impacts parents’ sanity. Normalizing constant contact between parents and kids breeds unhealthy relationships. If a child is continuously being tracked by their parents they can never fully develop their independence.

Some might assume that parents who do not track their child are irresponsible and not concerned with their child’s safety, however, they are actually doing them a favor. In history, children have survived without having to be constantly supervised, therefore, children of this generation should be treated with the same level of respect and have the right to privacy. After all, a teen can never learn how to live on their own if they always have “Mommy and Daddy” watching their every move.