Life360: Asset? (Or pain in the asset?)

When we turn 16, we all look forward to getting our license. The freedom of being able to go wherever you please without having to get your parents to drive you. But what if you couldn’t do any of those things without your parents keeping a close eye on you without actually being there? Now you might be asking yourself how is that possible. The answer is really simple… Life360. Life360 is an app parents get for their teenager’s phone that allows them to keep track of their child’s location as well as how fast they are going. The app gives notifications including “Mia has arrived at home” or “Excessive Speeding by Mia”. 

Life360 provides users, including parents, a variety of data on drivers in their circle (design by Audrey DeAngelis)

So what’s the big deal?

The app is basically a spying mechanism that parents can use to keep track of their children 24/7. The app shows where their child is at any given time, the speed of each trip, whether or not the child used their phone, as well as other infractions. 

One of the foundations for having a healthy relationship between parents and children is trust. The Life360 app promotes kids being consistently monitored by their parents and causes mistrust between the two parties. Another issue with Life360 is preventing the child from gaining their independence. When a child reaches the age to get their license, it is the start of their journey to becoming an adult. This is when a teenager typically gets a job and has the ability to make their own money and some of their own decisions. Life360 stunts this self-reliance by creating this atmosphere where the teenager has to feel like they have to lie all the time and come up with ways to get around Life360.

Life360 also has some benefits to the situation. The app has crash detection technology where if your child gets into a car crash, the app automatically sends a notification to the nearest emergency stations, getting help the fastest way possible. It also tells you the locations of nearby hospitals, police stations, and fire stations. The app can also be used to communicate between family members by sending voice files as well as text messages. 

An instance I had with Life360 was when I got into a car crash in early 2021. The other person claimed that I sped up to cause the car crash. Luckily, I had Life360 to prove to the insurance agency that I did not in fact speed up and he was found 100% liable for the crash.

All in all, the app really gives the teenagers the short end of the stick because, other than the crash detection technology, there really isn’t any benefit of them having the app. I believe Life360 should not be enabled on teenagers’ phones because it is an invasion of privacy and degrades the trust between parents and children.