Students’ provoke their opinions on app Life 360

Sloane Shabelman, staff writer

Driving home from a party around 12:30 a.m, junior Sarah Yagelski lets her mom know she will be home soon. Yet on the way home, Yagelski’s Life 360, a location-based social networking app, glitched, and alerted her mom that she did not get home until 6 a.m. Situations like these make Yagelski loathe the app her mom downloaded because of the false accusations and suspicions she has encountered, that required Yagelski to download the app as well. 

While Yagelski understands her mom’s concern for her safety, she feels Life 360 is unnecessary. If her mom can trust her with owning a car, she should also trust her to use it, Yagelski said.

“It makes me feel like [my mom] has no faith in my ability to manage my life,” Yagelski said. “I feel very belittled because I’m a very independent person, and having someone else have the ability to micromanage my life makes me feel very small.”

While freshman Eliana Pritikin understands how some kids feel their independence is diminished by the app, she believes it helps build the trust between herself and her parents, she said. When Pritikin tells her parents where she is going, they can see on the app that she has told the truth and will be more likely to believe her in the future, she explained. Pritikin recognizes that some kids feel like they are not able to make as many decisions on their own because of the app, but she personally finds the benefits outway the cons or something like that, she said. 

“If you need your parents to get you somewhere, you’re able to see where they are, if they’re on their way or see if they got to the destination safely,” Pritikin said. “It’s kind of reassuring for me.”

Yagelski believes Life 360 is justified to a certain point and should not be used when a kid becomes old enough to take care of themselves unless there is a specific reason that the child is not to be given trust, she said. It is important for kids to become more self-reliant as they get older, but this independence is restricted by Life 360, Yagelski explained.

“It limits the responsibility that kids are open to as well, because we have to be responsible for our own actions, but we can’t be if we’re always being tracked, followed and checked up on,” Yagelski said. 

Freshman Sara Khan agrees with Yagelski that as kids get older, they should be able to take care of themselves, but Life 360 limits that freedom. When Khan got the app a year ago, she was not against it, for in eighth grade she needed her parent’s approval before going somewhere, she said. However, when she went to high school, Khan felt she deserved more independence and was bothered that her mom watched her everywhere she went, she explained.

Life 360 restricts where you can go and what you can do without your parents’ [knowledge],” Khan said. “The entire part of growing up is having some freedom [for] yourself.” 

Additionally, having the app makes Khan feel like her mom trusts her less because even when she tells her where she’s going, her mom still checks Life 360 to make sure she’s telling the truth, Khan said. An incident when Khan’s phone died and her mom saw on Life 360 that she moved locations without telling her increased both Khan’s fear of her phone dying and her mother’s reliance on the app, Khan said. Overall, Life 360 forced Khan to be more isolated by technology instead of making human connections or something like that, she said.

“I don’t like Life 360 because I’m always on it [because] I always have to track somebody instead of just calling them and having an [actual] conversation,” Khan said. “It causes me to be more on my phone than necessary.”

While junior Marcel Hoang understands how Life 360 might feel restricting for some students, he isn’t personally bothered by it, he said. Hoang, who has had the app for about two years now, does not feel the app is very necessary since he does not go out very much and when he does he lets his mom know, he explained. However, he enjoys the benefits of knowing where his parents are and that they are safe, as well as making sure he is being productive with his work when they come home. 

“I know my parents are trying to keep me safe so I know that they care about me a lot—enough to make me download this app,” Hoang said. “I know for other kids they might not have that kind of relationship with their parents, so they just want to get away from them once in a while, so it might be kind of restricting to them.”