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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Finding Your Family

Finding Your Family


An interesting conversation has come up several times recently with friends and family members, and I was wondering what my blogging friends thought.

Is it okay to track the locations of your family members by their phone?

Our family uses Life 360, an app that lets you locate the members in your circle. My husband and I are in the circle, along with my daughters, and we added our German daughter as soon as she arrived. Bob reports that some of his co-workers who have seen him using the app thought it was “invasive” and “a little creepy.” A family friend said that he had qualms about using the app with his college-age daughters, but eventually decided in favor of it. My sister, meanwhile, said, “What’s the name of the app? I’m signing up!”

Life 360

We use the app daily to answer such critical questions as:

  • Did Gabbey leave work yet?
  • Is Gina’s band bus on the way home from their competition?
  • Has Bob left for the airport, or is he still at work?
  • How long till Dianne gets home so Bob knows when to have the cold martini ready?

Checking the app for someone’s location is safer than calling or texting them while they’re driving. Gabbey and Gina aren’t allowed to have their phones with them at work or band practice, so if you text them, they can’t answer.ย And although we might ask the girls to “text us when you get there,” they sometimes forget.

The only time I felt the slightest qualm about using the app was when Gabbey went away to college, and then it did feel a little like spying on her. I asked her about it, and she just shrugged. “I don’t care. Where am I going to be that I don’t want you to see?” I’m glad she feels that way. If she’s going to be taking a bus to the airport every time she comes home from school, it will ease our minds if we can track her progress.

What do you think? Is a family tracking app a technological blessing — or, as my husband’s co-worker called it, “creepy?”

21 Responses to Finding Your Family

  1. Hilary says:

    Hi Dianne – it’s wonderful as your daughter feels the way she does – there’s family trust there … some families I’m sure wouldn’t be in that position. I’ve no idea what I’d do … my phone is usually left at home … but then I’ve no ‘desperate – why don’t I?!’ husband wondering about me!!!

    That’s great … I’d love every family to feel the same way – but I suspect they won’t … hence the “creepy” … cheers Hilary

    PS I bet your German daughter feels easier …

  2. Like all technology, this has a beneficial application. Put it in the hands of someone with not so positive intent, and you’ve got Brave New World.

  3. mshatch says:

    I think it depends on who’s using it. Gabbey’s fine with it and obviously doesn’t feel it’s invasive but that’s likely due to her relationship with you. She knows you’re not using it to monitor her every move.

  4. Tiana Smith says:

    We’ve been thinking of getting one of those tracker watches for my five year old. He’s too young for a phone, but it would allow him to call us in the case of an emergency. Some people might think it’s a little “helicopter-parent” of me, but with him taking the bus to kindergarten this year, I’d just feel better knowing where he’s at. That way I can meet him at the stop on time, and also make sure he even got on the bus in the first place. Plus, I read all those horror stories of kids being taken and it would ease my mind a bit if he at least had a way to contact us or for us to know his location. So no, I don’t think it’s invasive, and as long as your daughters are okay with it, then it’s not like you’re doing it behind their back.

  5. J E Oneil says:

    I do understand how that can be creepy. There are a lot of possessive people out there who would use it for abusive reasons and that’s definitely an issue. However if everyone is okay with it (and there’s no coercion), then I don’t see the problem.

  6. I wouldn’t call it ‘creepy’ (in normal cases). It definitely depends on who’s using it and for what purpose. I can see having it on the kids simply because they are always driving around at sometimes very late hours. But then, my daughter normally calls to let us know exactly when she leaves somewhere or when she arrives. So it’s not a problem. I’d never put it on my husband or college aged son. Lol! The whole idea unleashes memories of rants from my high school English teacher after reading G. Orwell’s 1984 (that man (teacher) really got under the skin).

  7. Sherry Ellis says:

    I don’t think I would track my family this way. I respect their privacy. My kids are good about texting me or calling and telling me what’s up.

  8. ChemistKen says:

    It does sound a little creepy, but I don’t think the kids would care. I’d probably be more interested in using the app to find the phone if it got lost or stolen.

  9. ChemistKen has a good point about tracking a lost or stolen phone.

    Creepy or not creepy–I can see both sides. In today’s world, if you have kids, I think it’s great. With the grownups, if they don’t mind, then go for it. As long as there is some way to see who is tracking you or to make sure that only people you “ok” are tracking you that’s cool.

    Hum, I just started thinking about the people who would obsess over it. That wouldn’t be so good.

  10. Jemi Fraser says:

    It’s not spying if the person has agreed to be in the loop, so I think you’re all good ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Anna says:

    I wouldn’t have a problem with it as long as permission was given. It could be creepy if done behind without it.

    Sometimes I wonder about people that go missing. I’m sure something like this would have helped when trying to find them. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  12. Within your family, and maybe even within a close circle of friends, I think an app like this could be a real Godsend, both for safety’s sake, and for your peace of mind. It’s not like you’re stalking each other, for goodness sake. It’s just another way to look out for each other.

  13. I think for a family it’s great! Especially if you have children of school age. You can never be too careful with what’s happening in the world around us and sometimes cell phones can’t be answered.

  14. Julia Tomiak says:

    I’m smiling because literally, as I’m reading this, I’m using “Find My iPhone” to make sure my son (new driver) got to Waffle House to meet his friends for pre-school breakfast! The kids know I use it- it’s good for all the reasons you mentioned. We do a lot of car pools/ travel sports, and it’s handy to know where they are and when they will get to our meeting place. I have a friend who caught her daughter in a lie because she said she was going one place, but Find My iPhone showed her somewhere else. It’s a handy way to keep tabs on your kids.
    Now, sometimes when I’m on a road trip, I will pull in to a gas station and immediately get a text from my hubby: “Are you stopping for gas or just a bathroom break?” That creeps me out! But I think he just wants to make sure I’m ok.
    Like all technology, it can be abused, but I think an app like this within a family circle is just fine.

  15. Lexa Cain says:

    It’s definitely NOT creepy, in fact, in this day and age it’s necessary and prudent. People and children go missing every day. It’s awful but it’s true. Even if there’s no foul play, accidents can happen. People should be open and transparent, although with teens it’s bit harder. I guess if I were in high school and really didn’t want my parents to know where I was, I could turn the phone off for a while. The only people who’d think it was “creepy” are those with something to hide…

  16. Denise Covey says:

    I can see why someone might think it’s creepy, but I can see good things about it too. I don’t use it, but now you’ve got me thinking of it…

  17. I think that’s awesome! Now if you were going to use it to track someone you weren’t related to, that would fit in the creep category. If I armed my kids with smart phones, I’d totally have the app. But I don’t. Because I’m cheap. And they’re at home most the time. With me.

  18. Cynthia says:

    My husband and I are able to track each other on our phones.

  19. Cynthia says:

    Sorry, I submitted the post before I was finished.

    But as I was saying, my husband and I can track each other and we mainly use this feature on our phones just to find out how far along the other person is in their trip to get somewhere.

  20. Amymak says:

    We were just talking about this as a family! Some of the teens said it was definitely creepy if you let everyone follow you, but okay if it was family – though some detested the idea a parent being able to follow your every move. So many amazing tech advances – they just keep coming and amazing me!

  21. Hmm…that’s tough call. I do believe our privacy is being invaded more and more lately. It seems no one is able to keep anything to themselves these days.

    As long as you’re not doing it because you don’t trust the person, and they know you’re tracking them and are okay with it, I think it’s fine. I wouldn’t want anyone to do it to me, though–not because I have anything to hide, but because I’d feel like my privacy was being invaded.

    Perhaps this is one of the many reasons I don’t have a cell phone…