Crushing the Teen Dream
GPS tracking is not just for weirdos. Concerned parents may be tempted to enlist the technology to keep track of their children's whereabouts.
This is fine if the goal is to be able to rescue your child in the unlikely (think odds of getting struck by lightning) event that a stranger kidnaps them--or for that matter, if you warn your child about the tracking setup in advance, and everyone treats it as a safety measure rather than as a spying operation--but what about surreptitiously snooping in on your teen when she gets behind the wheel? A 2006 article in the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Paige White, then 17, was busted by her parents for going to a party after she had told them her destination was a friend's house. Her parents had installed a CarChip in her car, which logged the routes she drove, her mileage per trip, her driving speed, and her driving tendencies, such as sudden stops and fast turns.
Under normal circumstances mapping and GPS technologies are safe, fun, and helpful for sharing data, simplifying navigation, and planning meet-ups with friends and family. But if you suspect that you have a stalker on your hands, it's important to take safety precautions and to notify the authorities about what's going on.
In the meantime, pay attention to privacy settings in your digital profiles, don't allow strangers to add you to their Google Latitude list, and watch out for creeps.