Should Parents Be Tracking Their Kids’ Whereabouts?

1 in 5 parents track their children’s trips to school according to new research

What you need to know
  • 1 in 5 parents track their kids' trips to school electronically
  • 88% do so because it makes them comfortable allowing their kids travel without an adult
  • Experts warn against the impacts this could have on children learning life skills

Anybody who’s ever watched the show Cheaters knows that sometimes knowing the location of someone you love can be bad for a relationship.

New research conducted by the Royal Children’s Hospital has found that one in five parents have an electronic tracking device that they use to monitor their children’s location as they travel to school. Which means that presumably four in five parents hate their children.

The technology is pretty good too. Once downloaded onto a child’s phone or smart watch, it can show where they are at any given time. It’s kind of like watching your Uber as it comes near you, except the kid doesn’t twirl around on the spot and fly over buildings.

So why are parents doing it? The study found that 88 per cent of parents who track their children do so because it makes them feel more comfortable letting their child travel without an adult.

Many of these parents also believe that their children are happy to be tracked. 67 per cent of the parents who monitor their kids’ trips claimed that doing so made their child feel more secure.

Of course, 31 percentage of parents reported that their children don’t like it when they are tracked. To be honest, it’s surprising that number isn’t higher. Who are these 69 per cent of schoolkids who are happy for their parents to know their whereabouts every moment of the day? Part of growing up is learning how to lie to your parents about your whereabouts – it’s a critical life skill. “Sorry I’m late, mum. I was at Ben’s house studying, and definitely wasn’t egging the principal’s car. Why do you ask?”

According to the poll director Anthea Rhodes, it’s important for parents to remember that tracking your children doesn’t necessarily prepare them to be independent, self-sufficient adults. “We need to remember that just because we know where a child is… that’s not necessarily giving them the skills they might need to navigate difficulties,” she told the ABC.

Interestingly enough, 19 per cent of parents reported disagreeing with their partner about whether they should be tracking the location of their child. If you are one of those parents, just place a tracking device on your partner and avoid them at all times in order to avoid ever needing to have the conversation.