My son who just graduated from high school decided he was going to drive 630 miles by himself. Porter had never driven more than 15 miles by himself before, so I was a bit nervous.
But this last fall, he was driving from Indiana to Kansas to baptize a friend from high school who specifically requested that Porter come back to perform that ordinance.
I took some comfort in the fact that my son had just accepted my five month old invitation to join the family app that tracks GPS location. He didn’t want me to know that much about him. However, he was texting me several times a day, asking, “Mom, where are you and when are you coming home?”
I pointed out that if he accepted my invitation, then he could also track me!
When I mentioned on Facebook that I was monitoring my son’s progress driving through four states alone, an acquaintance commented, “Delete that app now! You are inhibiting his progress to adulthood.” She works professionally with adolescents and referenced her expertise in imploring me to back off.
I disagreed. Parenting is complex. At that particular time, I felt that it was appropriate to have him on the family GPS app.
Yes, he needs more independence. However, we had just moved from Kansas to Indiana, and he didn’t have a network of friends in our new state. I strongly feel as though individuals need to check in daily with someone—a neighbor, a roommate, a coworker. It’s an issue of safety. And until my son has a social support network beyond his family of origin, I don’t think it’s smothering for him to be on the family GPS app. And he can always delete me off the family GPS app if he feels I’m hovering. And he’s a recent high school graduate still transitioning from adolescence to young adulthood; he’s not 28 years old.
I don’t look at the app unless he’s late coming back from school, work or church. Checking the family GPS app prevents my calling him or texting him while he’s driving. I can just check the app. Or if it the roads are icy.
I am very careful never to make comments to him about his whereabouts. I never say anything if I see that he has left church right after sacrament meeting or in other ways is “off task.” I will point out that he’ll check the app and send me cheeky text messages such as “Tell Brooke ‘hi'” when I’m visiting my gal pal, or “We need milk” when he sees that I’m at the grocery store.
As an aside, I like knowing when my husband leaves work (pictured), and I like knowing when my 15-year-old daughter gets off the bus in our neighborhood.
What do you think are the pros and cons of adult children being on GPS tracking apps with their parents and underage siblings?