Editorial: Life 360 is a Negative Parenting Skill

Julia Grenoble, Reporter

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A child is sitting in the back seat of a car while a friend is driving, and they pick up their phone. As soon as the innocent action occurs, an alert is sent directly to their parent. A child’s every move sends a notification to their parent.  All parents worry about their children, but Life 360 crosses the line between being a protective parent, and being an overprotective parent who trusts an app more than their own child.

Life 360, a tracking app for families, causes kids to feel controlled and mistrusted by their parents, prevents teenagers from being independent, and can even lead kids to become more secretive. 

Teens are learning new tricks every day to avoid being tracked on Life 360, such as turning certain settings off in their phone, or logging into their account on different devices that they plan to leave at the location they are supposed to be at.

According to Wired, “Videos with the hashtag #Life360 have been viewed over 13 million times. In some of the most popular clips, teens share with each other strategies for circumventing the app, usually by turning off various phone settings.”

Even with the app, if a teenager wants to go somewhere without their parents knowing, there are many ways to do it, and teens may even just leave their phones behind completely, all because of Life 360.

This app also causes a major break in trust between the parent and the child. According to Phys.Org, a technology news source, “Social scientists have shown that trust is central to close relationships, including healthy parent-child relationships. It is necessary for the development of commitment and feelings of security. A child’s sense of personal privacy is a crucial component of this trust.”

A child with a ‘helicopter’ parent, who tracks their every move, can often feel trapped and controlled, which can lead to severe anxiety from their own parents. 

According to Wired, “Life360 can also add unnecessary stress; one teen asked WIRED to end an interview early because just talking about the app caused them anxiety.” For many people, the thought of being watched at all times can feel scary and unnecessary, even if the intentions are to keep them safe.

Life 360 also takes away the independence that teenagers need to develop. In an article by USA Today, psychologist Barbara Greenberg said that a large part of maturing involves learning from their mistakes, and that if children have a parent that is constantly watching over and protecting them, it can lead to a lack of confidence and increased anxiety. It is natural for teens to learn from their experiences, which is why its important for them to have the freedom to make decisions for themselves. 

According to Daily Mail UK, “Unless there has been a breakdown of trust, or they are being exposed to serious risk, constant monitoring is not good as it undermines the natural process of children developing autonomy.” 

Life 360 is causing teenagers to feel trapped, controlled, and untrusted. To contact Life 360 about your concerns, use Life 360 Support.