Expert Psychologist's Opinion on Child Tracking

January 17, 2023

We all love our kids, but we surely have different opinions on how to best raise them from infancy to adolescence. The new digital spy tools including kids GPS trackers present parents with a quandary.

Many parents hate the idea of monitoring their children, while others go to the extreme with apps such as mSpy which gives a parent a chance to spy on their children. The app allows parents to see text messages, photos, videos, app downloads, and browser history. It is easy to say this mum is terrible, but in her case, she experienced digital bullying herself and is scared of today's technology. We are not here to judge, we are here to better understand this difficult topic.

Mum and dad wlkign with their daughter
Monitoring kids is not the same as tracking them

Family therapist tells us that children do better when parents are engaged

There’s a fine line between protection and obsession. Michael Ungar, Ph.D., family therapist, agrees: “ Our children do better when they know adults are watching,” and points out that: “ an age of cell phones and GPS tracking, we may confuse tracking our kids with monitoring them. Tracking them is intrusive and teaches them irresponsibility (don't think they won't lie to you or find ways around your surveillance). But monitoring is about relationship building.”

Tracking - NO; Monitoring - YES!

Monitoring tells our children "I care" and that as their parents, we want to teach them how to keep themselves safe. Tracking says "You are incapable of looking after yourself". There's a big difference between those two messages. This is very important to understand! A healthy relationship with younger kids and adolescents is all about communication and genuine interest in their activities:” where are they going, what friends are there, what special things are they doing, what are your friends doing in general”. This means that you care. If you are doing it you are very probably a great parent. Relationships can be certainly built with or without using the GPS tracker.

Kid with a GPS tracker
Monitoring kids during the start of secondary socialization or adolescents is much different

GPS tracking for young children vs. Adolescents

While adolescence is a critical time in kids’ lives, when they need privacy and a sense of individual space to develop their own identities, children at the start of their secondary education (elementary school) are getting to know life basics and starting to be independent. It is our strong opinion that GPS trackers if communicated well to younger children, are very useful. For adolescents, it is completely different and we believe it should be used only in extreme cases (i.e. self-abuse, etc.).

This truly is one of the most difficult parenting topics.

Read more on the topic:

Parents opinions about children tracking

GPS Tracking Kids is not the Same as Monitoring Them

by Michael Ungar Ph.D., a family therapist.

Here are a few more articles you might find interesting:

How to monitor your kid with a GPS tracker the right way?

Timid or Assertive Kid? Can a GPS Tracker Help (OR NOT)?

How to choose the best kids tracker for you

Tracking your kids? Are only bad parents doing it?

3 main issues of monitoring and tracking people

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