Life360 breaks relationship of trust within families

Column by J1 Reporter Brooke Herdzina

Brooke’s Bite

Becoming a teenager comes with new responsibilities and freedoms. 

Teens are finally able to drive and have more control over their time and relationships. It also signifies changes within relationships of trust between parents and teens. 

There is more responsibility on the teen for their own independence and safety. Teens aren’t under constant supervision from parents and have the freedom to go where they please. 

Life 360 threatens the mere existence and growth of trust between parents and teens and emotionally harms both. 

Life 360 is an app that tracks exact location, the speed of the car the teen is driving, the amount of time spent in the car, other people present, the teen’s battery percentage on their phone, as well as other specifics, personal to the teen. The app currently has over 42 million users and affects teens all over the globe.

Parents are also able to fully control the presence of this app on their child’s phone. If the child tries to delete the app, an alert is sent to the parent immediately. 

To “solve” this issue, some kids opt to leave their phones at home. This does the complete opposite of what the app is trying to achieve.

Kids are putting themselves at more risk just to be given privacy but possibly putting themselves in danger. If an emergency were to occur, they would have no way to contact emergency services, or their own parents. 

The founder of the app, Chris Hulls, has expressed his sorrow over the abuse of the app by parents across the world and has made modifications to the app to try to prevent such an invasion of privacy into teens’ lives.

This modification called “Ghost Mode” allows the teens to showcase their approximate location to parents without giving as many specific details that overstep parental boundaries and are truly unnecessary to the safety of the teens in the first place.

Because teens try to fight against the app with their own means, like leaving their phones at home, the app completely negates its own purpose and instead of making teens safer, makes them much more at risk to harm and danger, with no way to alert others of it. 

Though this change could prove beneficial to the trust between parents and teens, most of the same parents that require this app on their child’s phone are seeking control over their child and are not willing to give up any aspect of it for the sake of their child’s privacy. 

This app shatters any relationship of trust between the parents and child involved. Trust is super important in the emotional development of teens and in its absence grows lying and sneaking. 

Without trust, there is a gaping hole in a child’s emotional well-being and their emotional growth is stunted. Children and teens who do not have good relationships of trust will likely carry these marred relationships into adulthood. 

It destroys any boundaries set up by the child and showcases to them that their boundaries are not to be taken seriously, which could also affect them negatively in future relationships. 

This app also encourages “helicopter parenting.” This is a form of parenting where parents are overly focused on their kids. 

Many helicopter parents abuse this app and use it to practically stalk their children, repeatedly looking at the app for any changes or updates. This can create a negative obsession for the parent and harms the privacy of the child. 

For the parents, they are reinforcing their own obsessive behaviors and refusing to let children learn from mistakes and life experiences. They are also negatively affecting their child’s emotional development and independence. 

For the teen, the only skills taught are to be more sneaky and to find ways around the app. 

For both, it completely eradicates trust. 

Life360 does more harm than good for the well-being of teens.

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