Parents use technology to keep tabs on teenagers


The emergence of mass tracking technology and applications comes with the risk of error and inaccuracy.

BV parent Beth Dickey first downloaded Life 360 in order to track her newly-driving son, freshman Cole Dickey, and has been using it for a couple months.

“Cole was getting up early for football weight workouts,” Beth said. “I got up and checked my phone, and it looked like he did not make it to school.”

Beth said his location appeared to be in a river off the road.

“I panicked and sent his dad to go look for him,” Beth said. “But in the meantime I was waiting at home.”

While her husband Eric Dickey was gone, Beth was getting nervous and decided to go ahead and call 911.

“[The police] understood, and we talked about Life 360 and how it sometimes glitches,” Beth said. “That’s what ended up happening.”

Eric went to the location the phone was reporting to be at and found no phone.

“It turns out we think that [Cole] either shut [his phone] off at that point by the river or [Life 360] glitched and showed he was stuck at the river,” Beth said.

However, despite this experience with Life 360. Beth continues to use the application.

“I do think it’s very helpful without interrupting the driver while they’re driving,” Beth said. “But now I know instead of immediately thinking the worst, I wait to see if the app catches up with where they’re driving or realize that maybe it’s not always accurate.”


Students who are Tracked 

With new tracking apps, it is much easier for parents to locate where their children are at all times.

Multiple Blue Valley students, whose parents have placed a tracking app on their phone, feel that their parents don’t trust them and dislike the idea.

Junior Jane Ryan said her parents use the tracking app Find My Friends.

“They want to make sure that I’m not skipping school,” Ryan said. “It’s really annoying, and it makes me feel like my parents don’t trust me.”

Just because a parent tracks their child, doesn’t mean that they are fully under their microscope. Ryan said by turning your location off, the tracking app will be unable to identify where you’re located.

When students find ways to disable their parents from tracking them, they take advantage of the newfound freedom.

“I do more risky things,” Ryan said. “Things that I know I shouldn’t be doing.”

Although Ryan feels annoyed about being tracked, she still informs her parents her whereabouts in order to stay out of trouble.

“I’m pretty open with my parents about where I’m going,” Ryan said. “But if my friends want to go somewhere that I know my parents will be like, ‘Where are you?’ then I usually just text them ahead of time.”

Senior Sydney Stewart is also among the majority of students who are tracked. She said initially she was shocked by her parents, not knowing if they didn’t trust her or if they were just worried about her.

“Obviously I don’t like it, but it’s OK,” Stewart said. “I’m pretty trustworthy, and I tell my parents where I’m going all the time.”

Although she is tracked, Stewart said she still sees why her parents keep track of her location.

“It’s a pretty good system,” Stewart said. “If I didn’t trust my kids, I would probably use it.”

Stewart’s parents use Life 360. Stewart tells her parents where she’s going but is aware of the ways to avoid being tracked.

“I have found ways to get around it, but it alerts them as soon as I turn it off,” she said. “You can set your location to a place, and then you can leave it. Then you can put your location on again when you get to a different place, but it doesn’t work.”

Stewart does tracking of her own using the location feature on Snapchat called, Snap Maps.

“I do it to get to people’s houses if they don’t give me their address,” she said. “Also, I like to know where my friends are.”


Students who do not get Tracked 

On the opposite end of the spectrum are BV students who do not get tracked by their parents. One of these students is junior Vishnu Avva.

Avva said he does not get tracked by his parents because his mom has a lot of trust in what he does and where he goes.

“She says as long as I give her updates, she won’t track me,” Avva said.

With this, Avva’s opinion on parents tracking their kids differs from most.

“I feel like parents should be able to track their kids but not have a lot of strict rules on tracking,” Avva said. “But they shouldn’t harp on [their teenagers] wherever they go.”

Avva said his actions would not change even if he were tracked by his parents.

“For me, I don’t do anything bad and I always tell [my mom] where I go anyways — it’s just more of a confirming kind of thing,” Avva said.


guide to tracking apps


  • Monitoring software for parental control
  • Monitors calls, texts, gps location, and appsmonitors without child knowing
  • According to TopTrackingApps, mSpy can track them without their knowledge, which means that users can secretly view the call logs, text messages, apps, contact numbers, GPS location, and other information from your kid’s cellphone in a stealth mode.
  • $29.99 per month for the basic plan; $59.49 per month for the premium plan
  • “By installing mSpy, you confirm your intention to use this software legally, i.e. you install mSpy on your own device, the device of your underage child or the owner of the device agrees to be monitored.” – from mspy website


  • Remotely monitor Android Phone, Android Tablet, iPhone, iPad, Windows PC and Mac OS
  • More spying features than any competitors
  • Award-winning undetectable Spy Phone and PC Spy
  • Keep track of your kids and understand their world
  • Track and control your employees to protect your business
  • 10 days money back guarantee
  • Easy installation and user friendly web control panel
  • Free updates and remote upgrades

Life 360

  • View real time location of friends or family members on a private map
  • Receive real time alerts when friends or family arrive or leave home, work and school
  • Protect your family while they’re driving with our Crash Detection service, which shows shows top speed
  • Track a lost or stolen phone
  • Can receive notifications when someone in your circle leaves or arrives at home or school
  • Shows battery percentage at all times
  • Used by 17 million users around the world

The One Spy

  • Track children without them knowing
  • 3 types of bugging: Live audio, real live video, photos
  • Track, record, and listen to all phone calls
  •  Compatible with android and iOS


Are BV Students Tracked by their Parents?