Tracking down the trouble

Parents should stop hovering over their kids


Courtesy of Mobile App Daily

This photo is a great example of what many of these basic tracking applications look like. Friends and family can be easily located by the tap of a button.

Paige Fortney, Staff Reporter

In this generation, tracking apps have taken over teenagers’phones everywhere. Life360, Find My Friends and iSharing are just a few of the many apps parents are downloading to track their child’s every move. These apps allow locations to be shared between phones and some even have the ability to track driving reports and see their history location. But when it comes to using these, they’re going way too far. Tracking apps are very unreasonable at times and bring many more problems than they do benefits.

Tracking apps cause tension between relationships and create trust issues that can have long lasting consequences. According to a 2019 study from PHYS.ORG, a group of social scientists showed that tracking a child can undermine trust and a closer blond. To have this good bond with children we need that trust with one another. By having trust with a child it will make them feel more comfortable and open with their parents. Therefore, kids should be more willing to talk to parents and share things. 

Not only is tracking kids breaking trust, but it’s also violating their privacy. Sure, parents have the right to do this, but there comes a point where everyone needs a little bit of their own bubble. If our personal privacy is invaded, it aligns right back with trust issues and breaking what is there. If there is no trust, the relationship can fall apart and breaking a relationship due to a tracking app is flat out not necessary. 

In addition to violating privacy, tracking kids is also ruining their independency. Sometimes kids need to learn from their mistakes on their own and constantly having a parent look after them to tell them what’s wrong and what is right takes that away. At some point every child must have responsibility and look out for themselves because someone’s not always going to be there for them. A parent can’t hover over their children forever and it’s not fair to continue that even once they grow a little older.

Hidden in these tracking apps is a little secret. Many of these apps are taking advantage of these anxious parents and making big profits. According to an article from TheConversation, a 2017 report found that it was estimated that self-monitoring technology will reach a gross of $71.9 billion by 2022. These apps were not created to protect children, but simply to gain tons of money by gathering information for other companies. Just because something seems trustworthy doesn’t always mean it is, and parents need to realize this.

To continue with that, there is a very high risk of personal data could be leaked by downloading these tracking applications. Devices that are said not to be traceable can still be tracked wirelessly. Researchers at MIT conducted an experiment and found that after just four timed-stamped locations could uniquely identify 95% of individuals. By downloading this function, children and adults could potentially be risking more. Also, many companies can hack into phones or gather information from these tracking apps and steal valuable things and personal information. 

Unfortunately, with these applications comes loopholes. If a teenager doesn’t want to be seen at a certain location, it’s simple for them. All they have to do is leave the phone at a place where mom or dad wants it to be seen. This is what is unsafe about downloading these apps. If a teen leaves their phone somewhere and gets hurt or is in danger, there is no way of contacting someone because there phone has been left. This is why it’s a much smarter idea to just trust your kids. In a situation like this, it’s much better to not be tracked and have your phone with you than to leave it somewhere and be helpless. 

Parents all over have been tracking their kids for safety purposes. But overall, it’s definitely not the best option for trying to protect loved ones. There are much better alternatives and ways of dealing with this. Teenagers need to gain their independency back and have the freedom they deserve. Although many might not agree with this, in the end it’s the most intelligent and best thing that a parent can decide to do.