From the October 2018 issue

Yes, Parents Should Track Their Kids’ Location and Activity for Peace of Mind

Metro Parent's senior editor and mom of one says that if tracking her child means he's safe then she's all for using technology to keep tabs on her kid.

parents should track their kids

When I was a teenager, I wasn’t always truthful when it came to my whereabouts (sorry, mom and baba). I won’t get into detail since both of my parents read Metro Parent each month. Because, honestly, even though I’m 31 years old with a husband and child – and those days are behind me – my baba, aka my dad, will still get mad, turn 10 shades of red and grind his teeth at me if I elaborate on my escapades.

So, I’ll just move on …

I wasn’t alone in this behavior growing up. In fact, I think it’s a rite of passage to lie to your parents about your location at one time or another.

But now that I’m a mom, I realize the importance of knowing where your children truly are at all times. After all, the world is a scary place where kids can go missing in minutes. In fact, in 2017 alone, there were 464,324 entries to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for missing children.

The use of social media has presented a slew of dangers, too. It’s easier than ever for online predators to contact and even track a kid’s location, which can lead to some seriously scary situations.

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That’s why it’s so important to not only track your child’s whereabouts, but also their online activity. And I think it’s particularly crucial to do so during those tween and teen years when your kid’s developing brain makes him less likely to consider the consequences of his actions.

When it comes to social media, the Pew Research Center found that in 2017, 61 percent of parents checked their teen’s browser history, 60 percent checked their teen’s social media platforms and 56 percent have friended or followed their teen on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. Another 48 percent have even looked through their teen’s call and text message records. However, not as many were keen on monitoring their location. In fact, only 16 percent reported using monitoring tools to track their teen’s whereabouts.

In today’s world, I’m actually shocked that so few parents are tracking their kid’s location. I will absolutely track my son as he gets older and goes places without me. When he hits the teen years, I know he’ll go places he isn’t supposed to go and hang out with people he isn’t supposed to hang out with – and I don’t think tracking him will stop that. But for me, making him wear a smartwatch or use a GPS device offers peace of mind that I can locate him at every minute of the day or night.

Because ultimately, it’s our responsibility as parents to keep our children safe, and if tracking their moves ensures they make it home every night, then I’m all for it.

Is tracking your kids with their technology just another way to ensure their safety? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check out another mom’s take and her reasons why she’d never track her kids.

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