If you are a teenager living in today’s world, you have most likely heard of the app called Life360. Teens hate it, adults applaud it, and this difference of opinion has grown to be a barrier for many child-parent relationships.
Many of my friends who have the app think of it as an invasion of privacy, and I viewed myself as lucky that I didn’t have it.
However, a few weeks ago I finally got my license, and things changed. I was thrilled to have that newfound freedom: going out with my friends, making impromptu plans, and going where I pleased. My parents had a different plan, though.
They decided it was appropriate to download the app on my phone. I was upset, and argued with them, claiming that it was an indication that they did not trust me to be responsible or make good choices on my own. They told me it was to make sure I was safe, in case of an emergency. This difference in how my parents and I perceive the app is a common growing dispute throughout our society, as tracking apps become more and more popular.
Many kids in our generation see the app as an annoyance, as it can often cause distrust between kids and their parents. They view it as our parents being overprotective and even sometimes see it as a form of spying.
It is not that a majority of teenagers dislike the app because it prevents us from “sneaking out” or going against our parents wishes- it simply takes away the independence that we as young adults crave. The chance to go out, independent of our parents, and make our own choices and mistakes is something that growing up is all about.
By having an app that knows our location 24/7, it creates anxiety that there are constant eyes on us, watching our every move. Not only does it make us more dependant, but it also causes us to feel less confident in our own ability to figure things out
However, there is another point of view that we often overlook. The beliefs of our parents.
After my parents wanted to download the app onto my phone, I was really upset that I had not even gotten the chance to prove that I was responsible and capable of going out on my own without constant monitoring.
But there was one thing my parents did say that made sense to me- what would happen if I got stranded somewhere, or if I got into an accident? How would they be able to come help me?
The answer is they wouldn’t be able to. As annoying as Life360 can seem, it can also be extremely helpful in situations where we do need our parents. As independent as we want to be, sometimes we still need to rely on our parents to help us and keep us safe.
That does not mean that we cannot be self-sufficient for a majority of the time- but we are still young and learning. If my parents knowing my location 24/7 gives them the peace of mind that they are keeping me safe means a little less privacy for me, maybe that is something I am willing to compromise for.