June 5, 2020
By Anthony DeMarco
As a throwback to The Lighthouse’s Head-to-Head column in the print issue, The Lighthouse is featuring its final Head-to-Head of the school year on its website.
Nowadays, it is common for parents to track their children’s locations using smartphone apps like Life360 and Apple’s Find my Friends. These apps are meant to encourage children to behave more responsibly and provide parents with a sense of security. However, what they really do is make children feel like they are always being watched.
Apps that track children do not actually protect them from serious dangers. At the end of the day, kids are going to be kids. They are sometimes going to go places and do things they are not supposed to. Inevitably, they will find ways to assert their independence without their parents’ knowledge.
Parents who track their kids are treating their high school-aged children like babies and inhibiting their development. High school is a time when kids need to start doing things on their own and making their own decisions. As long as parents are tracking their children, kids will not make the mistakes that will eventually turn into lessons.
Many parents like to use the line “Back in my day…” to justify their parenting style. Well, back when our parents were growing up, location tracking did not exist.
As long as parents are tracking their children, kids will not make the mistakes that will eventually turn into lessons.
Because smartphones hadn’t come out yet, our grandparents had no choice but to trust their children. Now, our parents have turned out just fine. They grew up to become responsible, trustworthy and independent adults even though their parents did not have access to location-tracking technology.
Furthermore, kids long for their parents’ trust. Unfortunately, when kids are tracked, they feel like their parents don’t trust them. This completely changes the dynamic of the relationship and often results in children feeling trapped and resentful.
Some kids may even revolt against their parents by continuing to go places their parents say are off-limits. In fact, they might even go out of their way to purposely disobey their parents.
Ultimately, parents should let their children have some independence and enjoy what are supposed to be “the best years of their lives.” High school students should be able to go out with their friends and have fun without feeling like they are under constant surveillance, and that means location-tracking apps have got to go.