Tracking Your Kids: Safety or Spying?

You probably remember that when you were a teenager and first got your driver's license, you had to have a long heart-to-heart with your parents about safety and responsible driving: not drinking and driving, not speeding, and so on.

Now, there's "Teensurance," a new service that uses GPS monitoring to implement a host of safety measures. There's a roadside assistance plan, for instance. The feature that's getting most of the attention so far, though, is the "Safety Beacon" notification.

According to their website, it will allow parents to set a perimetre that your teen can drive in. "Whenever the vehicle goes outside your preset boundaries," the website says, "you'll be notified instantly." There are also speed "reminders". If your teen exceeds the preset speed limit you've agreed on for more than 30 seconds, you'll receive a notification.

Teensurance is run by the Safeco Insurance company and is so far only available to US customers of the insurance company, but there are more and more of these types of services all the time, thanks to the proliferation of GPS-enabled devices. There are cellphones you can get for your kids that include GPS tracking technology which let you know where they are. There are even GPS-enabled school uniforms for the same purpose.

Is all this tracking a sensible way to keep kids safer, or is it creeping surveillance that discourages independence? And how long should kids be tracked: until they're 12? until they leave home? What do you think?


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