If you could track your daughter’s whereabouts, would you? A new app for the IPhone allows you to do just that. I was contacted by the gentleman who created it. He claims it gives parents peace of mind, and I am sure it does. You simply ask your daughter to be receptive to allowing the gps in her phone to pinpoint her location and you can see it on Google earth. You know she is where she said she would be and you can feel better. But…
I’m not endorsing the product just yet. I want parents to first think about a few things before they rush out to download it.
First, teens brains are wired to take risks. Teens sleep cycles change to more nocturnal. Translate that into teens like to stay out late and push the boundaries a bit. This generation is no different than all the ones before it. But we as parents have become terrified of the real or imagined dangers in the world. We get so caught up in building barriers to protect our children from the world that we forget to build relationships with our children.
An IPhone app won’t tell you what your daughter is doing when it locates her. Only she can do that. Will she trust you enough to tell you who she really is? Are you building that type of relationship with her?
Is technology going to replace parenting? I hope not. I truly hope not.
Our girls need their parents more than ever in this world full of real and imagined dangers. But I am not sure that an IPhone app is going to keep them safe. It might deter them from lying about where they are going, but they are teens! They are going to find ways to take risks, to explore the world, to try on things we as parents wish they wouldn’t. One study showed that teens who didn’t take risks were not as successful when they grew up.
If you do use the IPhone app, I hope you won’t let it take the place of good parenting. I hope you will work hard to establish a great relationship with your daughter. There is no technology in the world that can do that. That’s still a people job, thank heavens.
If your daughter goes ballistic when you tell her you want to locate her position on Google earth from time to time, don’t be surprised. How would you feel if your spouse suddenly wanted to keep track of you when you were away from the house? My hunch is you’d feel that he or she didn’t trust you. I will bet your daughter will feel the same way. Be prepared to deal with that issue. It can be a huge challenge in a relationship.
I just want you to be aware that an IPhone app isn’t going to solve all your parenting issues or keep your daughter 100% safe. I assume she is in someones car to get to where she is going. Teens die every year in car accidents. And I don’t think they have created an app that protects them from that yet.
I’ll share the link to the app in my next post. If you have any questions on how to introduce it to your daughter or how to deal with any negative fallout, I’m here to help. I want for you and your daughter to have an amazing, life long relationship built on mutual respect, trust and a deep abiding love. That comes from learning the Four L’s… look, listen, learn and love. More on that too.