To track or not to track, the pros and cons of tracking your child

07 Dec 2023 10:00am
The use of location-tracking systems has both advantages and disadvantages. Knowing if, when, and how to utilise technology to track your child's location is not a simple decision - Photo: AI generated by Sinar Daily
The use of location-tracking systems has both advantages and disadvantages. Knowing if, when, and how to utilise technology to track your child's location is not a simple decision - Photo: AI generated by Sinar Daily

Remember the days when you did not know where your children were and just sort of trusted them when they informed you of their location? Today’s children, tweens and teenagers no longer have the relative independence we did as children, thanks to cell phones and location tracking. On the plus side, we as parents are less likely to go through the terrifying experience of not knowing where our children are.

In general, do you think parental use of location trackers is a good use of technology? Does it make children safer and relieve parental anxiety? Does it make teenagers behave more responsibly? Or, does it negatively affect children’s sense of freedom and independence? There is the question of if you can monitor your child's every action, should you? The use of location-tracking systems has both advantages and disadvantages. Knowing if, when, and how to utilise technology to track your child's location is not a simple decision.

The Pros of Location Tracking Your Child

Here are a few of the potential benefits of tracking your child’s location:


If your child is in danger, knowing their exact location would allow you to reach them more quickly. If they are in a car accident, for example, GPS monitoring allows you to send emergency services more precisely. Location tracking also allows you to confirm that your child is where they say they will be. You'll also know if they go somewhere you consider unsafe.


If your child is aware that their whereabouts are being tracked, they may be less likely to participate in risky behaviour due to the higher likelihood of being detected. It also allows you to follow up with them if their location leads you to believe they are not following your regulations.

Related Articles:


Modern parents must deal with an onslaught of concerns. Getting "where is my child?" off your mind is a big plus.

The Cons of Tracking Your Child

Although the benefits of tracking your child's whereabouts are evident, there are some crucial drawbacks to consider:


Teens and tweens, on the other hand, are excellent at outwitting their parents when it comes to technology. Just know even with the most advanced settings, some tracking devices can be manipulated. You can use parental controls to require a password before altering location settings to prevent your child from just turning off their location so you can't track them. From high-tech solutions like installing anti-spyware software to low-tech solutions like leaving their phone at a friend's house, there's typically a way. In this case, it's useful to recall the tactics our parents employed to keep track of us. If you believe your child is not where they claim to be, or if their location is unavailable, don't be hesitant to contact their friends' parents to learn more. Don’t be afraid to reach out to their friends’ parents to find out what they know. Better yet, start by contacting your child directly — it’s easier to click a button to turn off location services than it is to outright lie to your parents.


Trust is a two-way street. In order to get trustworthy behaviour from your kid, you need to give them room to earn it. Tracking your child’s every move could signal that you don’t trust them before they’ve given you any reason not to. Tracking your child's every move may indicate that you do not trust them before they have shown you reason not to. If you choose to track your child's location, consider limiting when and why you look at their location. Find ways for them to show you that they can be trusted.


Although GPS often gives astonishingly accurate real-time position information, parents should take into account that it is not something that is flawless. Various factors like signal strength, atmospheric conditions, and physical barriers might reduce – or even entirely hinder – location tracking accuracy. While this isn't a reason to avoid using location tracking, it is something to consider. Before you jump to the worst-case scenario about where your child is or why their location is momentarily unavailable, keep in mind that there could be a perfectly valid explanation: The GPS signal might not be operating.


As parents, our ultimate goal is to develop our children to be self-sufficient adults. As difficult as it is, giving kids more freedom as they get older is critical to give them the skills they will need to be self-sufficient someday. If you opt to utilise location monitoring, talk to your children about it and explain that it is just temporary. Encourage them to exhibit their independence by making mature, responsible decisions, like checking in with you when they arrive at their destination and keeping you updated on when they are expected home. You can reduce location tracking as kids get older.


It is all too easy to rely on technology at the expense of other parenting skills. Because technology isn't flawless — and because children can outwit it — it's best not to rely solely on location tracking to keep tabs on your youngster. Old-fashioned communication is still essential.


The adolescent years are a time for developing independence. It's a vital stage of maturation. If your child feels too tracked, they may strive to avoid location tracking and engage in unsafe behaviour while off-the-grid. Allowing them some freedom will reduce the likelihood that they will rebel.

The bottom line is while parental controls allow you to track your child's whereabouts without their agreement, it is better to not do so. If they discover you've been following them (and they almost certainly will), it will erode their trust in you and harm your relationship. How you approach the location-tracking topic with your child might help teach them about consent in the future.

Explain to your children why you want to track them. Include them in the discussion about what tracking entails. This will respect their freedom while also demonstrating that you respect their boundaries. This is not to say you should put your child in charge. You have the last say as the parent. However, the more you can involve your child in defining the parameters of your location tracking, the more likely it will give the benefits you seek. Be honest and straightforward about it.

Perhaps you merely check their whereabouts to ensure they arrived safely at their destination. If they are honest about reporting their whereabouts and have earned your trust, you might agree not to look unless you have reason to fear something is wrong.

Some children require more supervision than others for a variety of reasons. Every parent has a different level of comfort when it comes to granting their child freedom. Finally, you must make a decision on location tracking that is appropriate for your family.

Tracking your child's whereabouts has both advantages and disadvantages, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Open communication and clear expectations are essential for utilising it in a way that promotes, rather than hurts, your connection with your child.

More Like This