Technology is a two-edged sword for parents.
Advances help us track our kids through ever-improving cell phones and other electronic devices.
But the enhanced ability to keep up with our kids can make us worry even more about their whereabouts. We want to know where they are all the time.
And we can drive ourselves crazy.
I saw an article that described five parental apps for mobile devices with GPS capability. With them, you can know almost every footstep your kid takes.
What’s next? Implanting hidden cameras and mics in kids’ clothes?
Today’s tracking technology can turn parents into the ultimate Big Brother. As parents, we need to teach our kids responsibility and try to keep them from harm.
But we must also trust them to make good choices without always peering over their shoulder. If we saw every dumb thing our kid did, we could easily become neurotic. Would we confront them about every action that alarmed us?
If so, family time could turn into a courtroom prosecution. How would we come up with enough forms of punishment for every misstep we witnessed with our cool apps?
Remember how your parents trusted you
Indulge me for a second as I remember the good old days. I’m 53, and I can recall walking several blocks to elementary school by myself. Imagine! Today, we wouldn’t let our youngsters walk 100 yards to school alone.
After school, as a pre-teen, I remember hopping on my red Sears bike and heading to a nearby drug store to buy baseball cards, then pedaling to a creek to walk up and down the muddy banks.
My parents didn’t have a clue where I was. I loved it!
I’m realistic. I’m not stuck in the past. Today’s world is much more dangerous than it was in the 1960s. There’s no way I’d give my 11-year-old son, Connor, free rein to explore far from home.
But I think parents can become too nosy in the name of vigilance. For instance, do you want to track your son’s every move on his first date? Do you want to know each stop he makes when he gets his first car?
Relax a little, parents. We need information on our kids’ whereabouts. But we don’t need to have them in our sight 24/7.
Be reasonable. Give your kids a cell phone so you can reach them at any time, and vice versa. But don’t download every new GPS app to try to enhance their safety and your comfort. You can’t guard against every danger, even with the most advanced technology.