Life Built Around 360


Ashton Nanke

An inside peek on the life360 app. Edited by Ashton Nanke

A technology driven society has shaped the lives and behaviors of Gen Z, as well as the lives and behaviors of their parents. 

The method of parenting and the way we stay connected has shifted from ‘be home before dark’ to ‘make sure your location is turned on at all times.’

Patrick Cory, a teacher here at Kennedy High School and a father of three explains that the biggest difference in parenting now compared to the past is the technology that is available.

 “When I grew up we all had to plan that ‘I’m going to be down at the creek’ and my parents would say ‘this is the time you need to be home’,” Cory said.

Instant monitoring of communication and location is just a click away. Apps such as Life 360 and Family Time allow families to track each other’s real-time whereabouts. 

Parents have instant access to location, estimated time of arrival, crime reports, crash detection and the driving reports of their children.

“It comes from good intent. There’s no parent that I am aware of that says ‘I can’t wait to catch my kids messing up or lying to me.’ It started with the intent of just ‘if something was to happen I’d like to know,’” Cory said, “The result though could be extreme parenting through minute by minute micromanaging, and that can be unhealthy at times.”

Concerns have been raised in regards to the possible unhealthy relationships that this micromanaging could cause. 

Dayton Hasse, jr. Edited by Ashton Nanke

Officer Charity Hansel, Kennedy’s School Resource Officer and a major advocate for the Life 360 app was quick to shut these concerns down. She explained that juveniles in the state of Iowa have no rights, and therefore should not be expectant of privacy and independence as a teen.

“There is no such thing as manipulative behavior in parents,” Officer Hansel said, “Phones, cars, all those things are privileges not rights.”

Officer Hansel argues that a parent’s job is to parent, not be your friend. That involves monitoring your behavior, location, and social media.

“The problem with social media and phones for your generation is that you can not unplug,” Officer Hansel said, “You guys do not have enough self control because your frontal lobe is not developed in your brain to know that ‘I need to unplug’.”

These apps are important safety tools in the modern world, but can easily be taken too far as parents walk the fine line between safety and micromanaging. 

Maddie Fitzgerald, jr., and her family have been using the Life 360 app for the past couple of months.

“I obviously did not want to have Life 360 because it feels like an invasion of privacy,” Fitzgerald said.

 Over time Fitzgerald became less skeptical and more accepting as she realized her parents’ harmless intentions of safety rather than the obsessive monitoring. 

“It’s more geared towards safety, which is a good thing obviously, but some people start using it to basically stalk their own kids,” Fitzgerald said, “It doesn’t really affect my life that much, but I’d still rather not have it just because of the principle of it.”

This technology needs to be used as an establishment of trust and safety between parents and their teens. High school is a critical time period for teenagers as they develop independence and self-image. Gen Z is being robbed of their ability to make mistakes and develop those important traits as they enter into the harsh reality of adulthood and responsibility.