By Whitney Black
One thing many parents have in common is the need to let go and give their kids more freedoms. Yes, there are some parents who give the freedoms their kids need and let them learn by making their own mistakes. However, one thing parents do is phone tracking and that can be perceived as a little overbearing.
Growing teens have a lot on their plate, between school work, extracurricular activities and the ones with jobs and in sports and finding time to spend with friends. Part of growing up is learning how to manage your time and taking care of all the responsibilities that teens have. Parents in this time may not see their kids as responsible and may have a hard time cutting the umbilical cord. Parents will do anything they can to stay as close as possible to their kids, such as tracking their location.
This may not seem like a huge deal because they are just making sure their kids are safe, right? Well, part of growing up and becoming an adult is gaining independence. It is difficult for a teen to to become an independent human with their mom tracking their every move. I definitely feel like there is an age where it is okay and an age where it should stop. When teens reach the age of 16 and they are beginning to become less dependent on their parent, phone tracking should stop; for sure no later than the age of 18. Turning 18 is a big milestone but if mommy and daddy know where you are at every second of the day, it is difficult to gain independence and be able to learn to make your own right and wrong decisions. Now, clearly, as a high school student my opinion may not be that valid but, Janey Downshire, author of “Teenagers Translated,” argues that “while tracking apps may give parents short-term reassurance, it is often at the expense of young people’s need to learn independence.” Kids have to learn how to be safe on their own. How will they react when they are in the real world and have no tracking at all and have to decide where to go and when?
Of course, when teenagers are living under their parents’ roof, they should have curfew times on weekdays and perhaps later on the weekends. Times for that will vary. However, if your child tells you where they are going and they are home by curfew, then there is no reason why they need to be tracked. Maybe for the parents’ sake, they can send a “I made it here! Be home later. I love you” text but over all, they have to learn to navigate their independence.
Back when our parents were young, did their parents know exactly where they were at every second of the day? No. Obviously the technology was not there. However, it is a big part of becoming an adult and gaining responsibility is learning to make your own choices and being able to be home when you’re supposed to be.
I understand parents hate seeing their kids grow up and it’s hard to let them go and grasp that they are becoming an adult and have to make their own decisions.
Of course teens still need their parents and they always will.
But, they also have to learn how to be independent on some things and not getting tracked is one of them.
Parents, it’s time. Do your 16 year old a favor and delete Life360.
Your teen is growing up; give them the gift of independence so they can learn from it.