GPS tracking affords parents peace of mind. To trust and know that your child is safe and to know their whereabouts is priceless. For many, GPS tracking is a necessity, for parents it is a godsend.
Even in Ireland, a country long considered one of the safest places in the world to raise a child, the market for child friendly GPS tracking technology is growing. Ireland’s unique border with Northern Ireland, it’s one of a kind relationship with the United Kingdom and its position within Europe are some of the reasons for the growth in this technology.
How easy for an estranged family member to cross a border with a child undetected and unbeknownst to family or authorities? How easy for a stranger to do the same?
GPS tracking technology gives parents greater peace of mind and control in a subtle way. Children don’t have to worry about their parents physically escorting them to their destination, either on foot or by car, and can simply go about their day without the imposition of phone calls or text messages.
A trust is fostered that can grow and be respected by both parties.
As children grow, their need for privacy grows and if this is not respected trust can break down.
If handled correctly, a balance can be reached from quite early on that can build trust, appease a parents` fear and respect a child’s need for privacy.
GPS tracking: A matter of compromise
Teenagers explore the world around them in more high risk ways than younger children, they push boundaries, always wanting to test theirs’ and their parents’ limits. These are perhaps a parent’s worst years – drinking, dating, later hours, travel – a child’s growth and development takes quite an emotional toll on a parent.
All parents worry about their children to varying degrees. Some enjoy these years of experimentation and freedom while others simply cannot.
For those who dread these years of burgeoning freedom, GPS tracking devices and apps can be the answer.
However, it is critical that the introduction of this technology in no way affects a child’s sense of independence and individuality. If handled badly familial bonds could be fractured, but as stated earlier a balance can very easily be reached that can build and maintain trust, protect a child’s privacy and independence, while all the while assuaging parental fears.
Discussion and compromise are keys in educating a child and allowing them to have their say on how GPS tracking might affect them.
Maintaining trust is critical. A teenager who feels their parent lacks faith in their ability to look after themselves and make sound judgements may well start to act out, determined to prove that they can survive in the world – only to make mistakes. A parent’s excessive need to care and nurture can have a reverse effect, chasing their teenager away instead of keeping them close.
Teenagers see learning to drive as a major step toward adulthood and full independence. If they believe their parent is sitting at home monitoring their every move, they can lose the sense of satisfaction this major step can give them and ultimately feel anxious about making mistakes.
Part of growing up is learning by trial and error, realising what your limits are and learning to accept them. Over-dependence from either the parent or child can leave both parties unable to develop as they should. Again compromise, discussion and honesty have their role to play. Today’s GPS tracking tools come in many forms, from downloadable apps to wearable tech. An option to suit everyone, and as with most things, knowledge is power. Teenagers are much more likely to respond well to being tracked if they are made aware of the advantages it can offer. For example, being monitored while driving gives them the peace of mind to know that if they break down or get lost, their parents can help them out.
Likewise, using GPS tracking can make a teenager feel that they are less of a burden on their parents: if a teenager is invited to a party, for example, there is no need for her to phone her parents when she arrives or leaves. They know Mum or Dad will be aware already and all will be safe and happy sharing that knowledge.
This technology can actually be an aid to teenagers’ independence, rather than a hindrance.
Any parent who wishes to use GPS tracking to watch over their child must make sure that their child is fully aware of its use. For teens especially, being monitored without their permission can be seen as a massive invasion of privacy and can leave them with long-term trust issues.
It’s vital that parents work with their children, regardless of their age, to show how GPS tracking is of mutual benefit. When implemented and utilised openly and properly this technology can help to strengthen the bond of trust for years to come, allowing both parties to learn from each other through mutual respect.