Life 360 creates opposite affect; breeds distrust between kids, parents

Sara Rand, Feature Editor

  Life 360 – yeah “ugh” is right. Life 360 is a tracking app created by Chris Hulls in 2008, but it has gained popularity among parents in the past few years. 

  Life 360 is a free to use app to track location, even when the app is closed, with the option to purchase special driving reports and crash detection. In settings the location can be turned off or changed to only be tracking while the app is open, but the app will alert all others in your circle that your location is off and that usually means an angry text from a parent to turn it back on. 

Users can create “circles” of people who are allowed to track each other, and of course, parents think this app is the solution to keeping their kids safe, when really it destroys trust and relationships.

  My life 360 has three circles. I have two circles for different friend groups and one for my family. I feel more comfortable with my friend groups tracking me than my own mother because I know they won’t make any comments on where I am, but they still know my location in case I am in an unsafe situation. 

  Most parents have good intentions, but this app only breeds chaos in the relationship between parents and children. I would consider myself a well-behaved child. I always tell my mom where I am going and who I will be with. She has never had a reason to question me, but she feels the need to track me. My brother is only six years older, and he has never been tracked in such a harsh way; she watched him through word of mouth or other parents watching him. 

  Our parents also grew up in a world without as much surveillance. They use the excuse that “the world was different back then” and “I’m not worried about you, it’s other people I’m worried about.” While that may be true, if parents believe they raised their kids well and that they are smart enough, they should be able to safely remove themselves from unsafe situations. 

  Kids on TikTok caused such a stir with their hate for the app that Life 360 sent out an email for an update on the app that was supposed to fix the problem with kids feeling so aggressively tracked or watched. This update created a feature to turn on a 10-mile radius bubble. The problem with this feature is that that bubble can be “popped” to give an exact location, and therefore does not change anything about the intent of the original features. 

   In addition, no matter how advanced an app is, our phones  can be detached from us. When kids start putting down their phones, how will they be tracked?A chip perhaps? That is what terrifies me the most. People under 18 do not have much choice with how their parents decide to control them. 

  The biggest problem is the lack of trust. Rather than rely on an app, parents need to develop more trust with their children. If parents are being truthful that their biggest fear is their children being put in an unsafe situation by others, then children should be given more control over when parents are watching them. Rather than watching them 24/7, parents should allow kids to turn off their location until they feel they are in an unsafe situation. Then they should be able to press a button and send their location to someone they trust, perhaps a parent. That way parents and children and working together to achieve safety while still allowing independence.