The Flaws of Life360: Helicopter Parents Produce Sneaky Children

by Taylor Wallace ‘21

Parents these days are so quick to talk negatively about how new technology is ruining their children’s lives, yet use that same technology to invade their kids lives. Many parents have turned to numerous tracking apps in order to keep tabs on their kid’s location. One of the most popular is Life360. It is an app that enables parents to not only track their kid, but also monitor the speed at which they are driving. Parents can also set locations that their child must be at a certain time and if the child leaves that location, the parents gets notified. Evidently, it is a very detailed app, but is it truly effective?

On numerous occasions I have heard from my friends the creative ways that they have maneuvered around the app’s restrictions in order to go out. One of my friends told me that she left her phone at home before sneaking out so that her parents would believe that she was still at home. Essentially, she put herself in more danger by not bringing her phone with her just so that her parents wouldn’t be notified that she left. I’ve also heard of people connecting to a friend’s house’s Wi-Fi before going somewhere they aren’t supposed to in order to trick their parents to believe that they are at a friend’s house. It is clear that many kids have outsmarted the app. Parents, next time you check Life360 and see that your kid is safely at a friend’s house, they may just be halfway across the country. Another key point to keep in mind in the notion that the kids with the strictest parents tend to have worse behavior than those who have more neutral parents.

Life360 not only limits the child: it creates a false and temporary reality for the parents. One day their child is going to enter the real world and they won’t be able to track their every move. Therefore, tracking your high school kid will only make it harder for you to adjust to them living away from you in the real world.

The fear of not knowing where your kid is or what they are doing 24/7 is understandable, but tracking their every move is not the way to approach it. Instead, parents should instill a sense of trust and accountability in their kids from a young age. If your child grows up having a strong sense of right and wrong, while also being able to locate the line between fun and dangerous, there is a high chance that during their teenage years they will be able to experience and have fun while staying safe.

On January 5, 2020 the 77th annual Golden Globes celebrity awards show aired. This year’s show served as a platform for many up and coming actors/actresses to debut, but it also served as a platform for issue awareness. Despite discouragement from the host Ricky Gervais to mention politics, many stars such as Joaquin Phoenix, Patricia Arquette, and Ramy Youssef used their acceptance speeches to address real-world issues. Debates have since sparked about whether or not political agendas should be pushed at awards shows.

In a world with seven and a half billion people, it is almost impossible to have your voice heard. When it comes time to talk about serious matters, many people ignore protesters, turn off the news, and bury their heads in the sand. Nowadays, the most effective way to get your voice heard is to talk to the public anywhere and anytime you can, like on an internationally aired awards show averaging around 18.3 million viewers. The issues facing the world right now are stressful and discussing them may not be pleasant, but the fear these discussions induce can create change. It is better to have a society that is afraid and aware than to have one that is content and ignorant.

We live in a world where everything is easily accessible to us. We scroll for hours on apps that show us a new picture or video every couple of seconds, and everything is fast-moving and quickly rewarded to us. Daily news comes to us in a couple of words, and all of our friends are just a text away. It makes it so we have little-to-no time to reflect or analyze what is happening. But how exactly is this affecting us?
The National Centre for Biotechnology Information has claimed that the average human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013. Look at what’s happening around us — when we wake up, we check our phones. When we’re waiting in a long line somewhere, we check our phones. When there is a break in conversation, we check our phones. The problem is, that is our new social norm. This is what we are used to. We as a society need to retrain ourselves to rely less on our phones and more on ourselves. Whether it is a new no-phones-at-the-dinner-table rule, deactivating social media for a little while, or picking up a phone-less hobby, there is a lot we can do to change our ways and start living in the moment more.

“There are 30 of you, and only one of me,” many teachers say the first day of school, implying that it will take them a little while to learn names. That makes sense. Sure, there are always a few teachers who will know everyone’s name by the second day. But for most, it takes about a week. Maybe two. And other teachers … well, they never learn them at all. Some teachers have to call out names for attendance every day of the semester. Others lay out graded papers at the front of the class and let the students come up and collect their own because the teacher doesn’t know which name belongs to whom. Students who come in for lunch or email a teacher often feel the need to explain who they are.

It’s one thing to be bad at learning names. It’s an entirely different situation when teachers don’t put in effort to begin with. While having a more personal relationship with the students makes learning easier and more fun, it isn’t required to memorize names. Teachers that don’t bother to learn names the entire semester exude serious disrespect towards their students. It’s offensive to expect students to try their best in class when the teacher doesn’t even try to learn their names.

I personally do not have Life360 and my parents do not track me. I feel like I could say that I make good decisions in general. Now that does not mean that I never lie to my parents or maybe do something I am not supposed to but no matter what, I know where to draw the line and am smart enough to not do anything that could put me or others in harm’s way. From a young age, my parents made sure that my sister and I valued the importance of responsibility. Therefore, my parents have said that they see no reason to need to track us, considering they trust that we will make good choices without their constant surveillance.

Life360 is an invasion of privacy. It also is highly ineffective. Kids who are policed by their parents tend to act out more in rebellion. Instead of tracking their kids, parents should focus more on raising their kids to have strong morals and a good sense of judgment. Teenagers are going to make mistakes and do things they are not supposed to, but that is part of growing up. Our parents’ parents did not track them and most of them would say that they turned out fine. Therefore, kids should be granted the same right to live freely without the cloud of their parents constantly hanging over their heads.