This is a sponsored guest post.
What do you think about using technology to track your teenager’s location? That’s a question many parents face when they want to ensure the safety of the roaming adolescent. But there’s a lot to consider – issues of trust and safety, the right to privacy and autonomy for young adults, and the hard-truth that you always want to be part of your teen’s life.
What to Keep in Mind When Tracking Your Teenager
While most adults don’t support the idea of remotely tracking a teen’s location, a recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that a full 16% of parents track their teen’s location. Given that we can use phone tracking apps to monitor the whereabouts of our kids, parents must keep some of these things in mind when considering location tracking.
Make Your Teen’s Safety a Collaborative Effort
One of the best ways to ensure a smooth start when considering a Phone Tracker is to let your teens understand why it’s important and how it works. Hiding the fact that you’re monitoring them undermines trust. When done collaboratively, location tracking via a phone tracking app can play a huge role in ensuring adolescent safety.
For instance, if your teen just started driving, instead of constantly checking where your teen is, you can agree on checking their location whenever they’re running late. Giving kids some ground rules and allowing them to exercise their freedom is an integral part of parenting. When done right, location tracking can help create a safety net for your adolescent.
Understand the Limitations of Location Tracking
While phone tracking apps give you real-time views of your teen’s whereabouts, parents should learn not to make assumptions about what their teens are doing. Unless you have enough reason to confront your teen due to their words or actions, you should understand the limitations of location tracking. Work towards building an open communication rapport with your teen.
Keep in mind that knowing their location alone will not let you know what exactly they’re doing or who they’re with. Your parental approach to teen issues, including them, not always telling the truth and how you react, matters a lot. Having a healthy, working relationship with your adolescent, where they feel free to share their thoughts and feelings, is critical. Have a listening ear too.
Location Tracking is Only Temporary
Most teens want increased autonomy, but many parents are not ready to grant it just yet. With the right collaboration, you can use location tracking to establish a trustworthy relationship with your teenager, which leads to greater freedom. For instance, let them know you expect them to tell you where they’ll be, whenever plans change, and to respond whenever you reach out.
Also, let them know that you’ll confirm their location for a while when you need to check on them, but not all the time. An open-ended location tracking arrangement may not always augur well with your teen, but it gives you peace of mind as a parent. Additionally, it’s only for a while. Once your teen nears or reaches adulthood, you can trust them and stop tracking their location.
As teenagers mature, they want more freedom in making decisions that concern their safety and privacy. So, when your teen is nearing adulthood, ask them if they’re still okay with phone location tracking. This is especially true when they head to college, where it’s their sole responsibility to take care of themselves.
Parenting adolescents comes with its own challenges. You often don’t know where your teen is, who they’re interacting with, what they’re doing, and whether they tell the truth when you ask. Location tracking allows you to address some of these concerns. We all want to keep our kids safe while maintaining a loving and caring connection and fostering independence.