Life360 Leads To Overstep

Cooper Aitken, Staff Writer

Helicopter parents, while not a new phenomenon, are now far more skilled in the borderline stalking of their children than anyone could have ever foreseen in their worst nightmares.

Life360 tries to step out of its realm as a safety app, as it tracks the location of its users while also providing driving reports of the users’ speeds and length of driving trips. As an additional feature, it also notifies users when a group member’s battery falls below 10%.

These features, while made to encourage teenagers to make safe and smart decisions, have only caused stress and paranoia between teenagers and animosity with their parents.

Teenage years are– above all– a time for learning. Without taking risks and making stupid, and yes, sometimes dangerous, mistakes, teenagers would have no way to learn and grow into adults. These years are a time for exploring more freedom and growing as an individual, yet Life360 inhibits this growth. 

Letting go of children and trusting them to make the right choices can be very hard for parents, but it is an incredibly necessary step to make. Especially as teenager and parent relationships can become strained when the teenager feels as though their parent doesn’t trust them. 

Constant paranoia and fear over whether your parents are going to punish you through what they find from Life360 causes more stress for children than it alleviates for parents. Life360 and its invasive nature is not necessary for safety, as there are several applications where parents can see where their children are in need of emergency. 

For example, the FindMy app on iPhones gives information on the whereabouts of family members, but does not go to the extreme as to give notifications like Life360 does with information on battery life and driving patterns of its users. This offers a balance of parents knowing where their teens are in case of emergency and teens feeling more trust between themselves and their parent. 

Along with the detrimental extremities,  the app’s intrusive nature puts user’s privacy at risk when using the application. In January of 2022, the company announced that they would stop sales of precise location data to over a dozen data brokers they had been working with, meaning that anybody who used Life360 before January has most likely had their location data sold to companies without their knowledge. The company continues to sell precise location data to Arity and “aggregated” location data to PlacerAI. This data collection and subsequent sales has resulted in millions of users’ privacy being breached for the profit of the corporate elites. 

While Life360 means to be an app that facilitates the safety of teenagers in the modern era, its ruinous qualities allow it to be only that of an attempt. This cause is an honorable one, but Life360 didn’t achieve its goals in the way it was supposed to. Instead of facilitating safety, it has facilitated helicopter parenting and teenager paranoia. Life360’s features go beyond just tracking teens for safety reasons, and facilitates parents who wish to control every aspect of their children’s lives.