Should you track your child’s Halloween route?
I was watching FOX 2 Detroit last week when I saw a story about a new app for the Android phone. It’s called the Trick or Tracker and the description of it on FOX 2’s website is “Worried about your kids trick or treating alone? Android’s Trick or Tracker app allows parents to know where their children are collecting candy by sending them a text of their location. The Los Angeles Times explained that to use the app, parents must download it to both phones and set a password (each download is $4.99). Parents can also set up a “geofence” with the app to be alerted if their child ventures out of a specific area.”
For the news story the anchorman asked a handful of parents what they thought of an app that tracked where their children went on Halloween. Just about everyone interviewed said that they thought the app was a great idea. One father only half jokingly said that he hoped that someday they may have GPS devices on kids so that parents can always find them. Only one lady, and a teenage boy (go figure), said that they thought the app really wasn’t a good idea.
Honestly I was very surprised by the reactions of the people interviewed. I didn’t think it was a good idea as soon as it was explained what the Trick or Tracker was. I want to be able to protect my son, but how is he supposed to grow if he feels his parents are watching his every move. If a child is seen as old enough to go out trick or treating by themselves, then the parent should be able to trust them to do what is right.
When I told my husband about the app I found that he actually didn’t agree with me on the matter. His feeling was that it should be used to protect a child from evil people that had bad intentions. While I could see his point, I told him that no matter what you say the child likely won’t see it that way. Instead they will see it as his parents not trusting him. We live in town. By the time our son is old enough to trick or treat alone he also would be old enough to walk to school alone. Plus at that age I would allow him to ride a bike over to his friends house. Why then would we need to put a track on him in case on that one night something bad happens to him. For that matter, why would someone really pry on kids when there are so many people outside seeing things that are going on.
Now I’m not saying that I would release my son without ground rules. I would expect him to go with at least one friend. There is a reason that people say there is safety in numbers. Plus I would likely tell him the boundaries of where he is allowed to go, and I would give him a time he would need to be back by. Other then that I have to trust that he’ll not only do the right thing, but that he will know what to do in case something goes wrong. It is our jobs as parents to teach our children what is right and wrong and how to handle situations. From there, once they are old enough, we have to trust that our children will remember what we taught them.
Trust is so important in an adult and child relationship. If a parent gives their child their trust, then the child will honor it and give it back. The kids that rebel are usually the ones that have lots of rules set and parents that don’t trust them. My mother was not that way. She always trusted us, and because of it my brother and I always told her what we did. In fact she also knew a lot of what our friends were doing as well. Rebelling isn’t very exciting when you really don’t have anything you’re not allowed to do.
Personally I would never use the trick or tracker. If I felt my son was young enough to need tracking, then he’s not young enough to go alone. Halloween is a right of passage. First your parents take you right up to the door, then as you get older they wait at the end of the driveway, later they’ll hang back as you run up ahead, but they’re still there if you need them, and finally your free to go out by yourself. It seems like a sad day when we can’t trust our kids, or feel that they’ll be safe, to go around their own neighborhoods on Halloween.
So what are your feelings on the trick or tracker app?