Driving Apps for Teens: An App Won't Save My Daughter, But Not Using One Could Empower Her by Holly Budde

Opinion Teens Parenting
5 years ago

Driving Apps for Teens: An App Won't Save My Daughter, But Not Using One Could Empower Her

I was recently having lunch with friends and the conversation turned to our teen drivers. A couple of apps became the focus of that conversation. Parents can use these apps to locate kids, know speed, hard breaking and acceleration. I was the only parent who either didn’t use an app or didn’t want to use one. 

After lunch, I thought about everything that was said and it still didn’t change my mind. So I thought about why that didn’t change my mind. Why don’t I feel this is necessary? I came up with these ideas:

  • Though I know it’s all in the name of safety, to me, it violates her trust. It’s helicopter parenting at best and a breach of trust at its worst.
  • Teens are biologically programmed to begin independence from parents. If I am smothering her, she will feel violated and therefore rebel. Our relationship, and the fact she trusts she can talk to me, will suffer.
  • How can I empower her while clearly demonstrating I don’t trust her to drive as safely as possible?
  • I expect certain things and she knows it. She does those things and more.
  • Just like when she began journaling, I said I would never read those unless she gave me reason to. If she was irresponsible with her time, work, grades or I felt she was breaking laws, I would hunt her down!
  • Teens are programmed to “outsmart” us. I never want to go to bed thinking her car is parked at someone’s house and she’s in the car with someone else because "what I don’t know won’t hurt me." 

I’m not using the parent drive app, and as of now, won’t! Not saying we should or shouldn’t. I’m saying as parents, we should evaluate our teen's behavior and decide individually. As long as I have no reason not to trust her, I don’t want an app scaring me to death.

What do you think?

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Elisa Schmitz
I'm glad I didn't know this existed when my teens were learning to drive. I don't think I would have wanted it, tho. I agree - sometimes too much information is, well, too much. You are right that mutual trust is important. If we treat our kids like they're not to be trusted, they will likely act that way. Excellent thought-provoking post, Holly Budde !
Holly Budde
I kept repeating to myself and thinking this over and I kept going back to what you just said “too much information is too much “ if someone tracked me I would be mad. I decided to leave well enough alone. And not tarnish what I believe is a great relationship w my teen
Meredith Schneider
Love this Holly Budde! Thanks for sharing. My son gets his license in March. I feel better that I'm not alone not wanting to track him either unless he gives me reasons to. The balance of having two teens and two little ones at 10 & 7 has been a roller coaster lately. But this tip make me feel better. xoxox :-)
Holly Budde
Glad it helped. I completely understand what you mean about balancing teens and tweens. It’s crazy sometimes. My little one is already a teen because of her older sister. !! With 4 I’m sure you have a lot of that :)

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