Tracking Your Teen: Where’s My Brand New Driver?
My 17-year-old son has a shiny new driver's license. He's my third child and my only boy. Parents who have children of both sexes know how profound that last sentence is. They are very different. He's an awesome kid, a statement most parents make about their offspring.
The only real reason he wanted his license was to escape the "horror" of having to ride the bus to and from school. Each day for the past two to three weeks, he's been home between 2:55 and 3:00. On his 17th birthday, November 5th, 3:10 rolls around, and he's not home. I didn't panic. The clock struck 3:15 and my stomach began to clench. My sister called and, ironically, needed something that was in the truck my son was driving. Immediately, as any good parent would do, I thought about either getting in my car and going to look for him or calling the police. Neither option at the time seemed over the top.
I tried calling his cell phone four times, to no avail. I realized that my son, who is an exceptionally responsible driver, would not answer if he was driving because he knows that's against the law. Just as I literally began to tremble with fear, I get a text from him that he is at my brother's house. That, of course, began the conversation about making sure I know where he is so I don't worry.
During this ordeal which was an ordeal in my head alone, I did think about AT&T Family Map. It's a feature you can pay for that allows you to locate the phone of someone on your plan at any time. I, however, do not have that service available.
Since then, I have checked out apps that would allow me to find him if such an incident should happen again. I found an app call Canary. It actually allows parents to do several things. According to their website, it shows their location, disables texting while they are driving, and keeps parents updated about their driving habits (i.e., speeding, talking on the phone while driving, going outside a predetermined area).
I also found something called Life360 which is actually a phone locator app. However, I downloaded it because it's free and am going to try it out.
For me, phone location is not about trust. My son knows I trust him. He will let me know where he is, most of the time, and does. He also knows his mom worries way too much because she loves him a whole bunch.