The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



Crash Landing: The Unintended Consequences of “Helicopter Parenting” are very real for SLOHS students


“Tracking.” Illustration courtesy of freshman Kaila Foley.

  It’s never been safer to be a child. Nevertheless, tracking devices abound. The net result is more harmful than helpful.

Students attending San Luis Obispo High School are being vigorously monitored, and it’s affecting their health.

  While students know and understand that safety is important, it is also important to recognize the fact that teenagers do make their own choices and should not be expected to have choices made for them at all times. 

  Teenagers aren’t stupid… or are they? 

  “Teenagers are the world’s dumbest age demographic, and yet, the overwhelming majority survive,” said father of a SLOHS student Timothy Foley. In the end, it doesn’t matter because it’s all going to change anyways. We evolve and “grow up.”

    That perspective comes from a parent who doesn’t use any location tracking or screen restricting apps. Even with the mindset that teenagers are not adept at decision making, he still believes that the level of parental control today is impractical.

  San Luis Obispo is a small town, and while safety is obviously vital, isn’t freedom the most important thing in the United States? 

  One of the most popular parental control apps in 2023 is “Life360,” an internationally spread platform with over 33 million users. One of the most commonly used functions of this app is the location tracking that it offers. 

  While this may seem like a great way to keep track of  kids, there are many psychological effects that this type of control has on teenagers. A local study from The University Of Florida proves that the mobile apps parents put on kids’ phones are counterproductive. It is very important for kids to be able to handle scary situations on their own, to know how to avoid danger, and how to assess whether or not something is safe. 

  It is even more important that this happens before kids have to grow up and experience these situations on their own.  Even though parents dread this, their kids will (most likely) become adults.

  While the idea of these apps is presented to be a way for kids to have freedom in a safe way, most kids still don’t get any extra amount of liberty from their parents. They have their normal routine, except they are being tracked and monitored.

  A variety of college students are still monitored by their parents, and some parents even go as far to threaten to stop contributing to their college tuition. .

  An aspect of monitoring teenagers that is not so often discussed is how these apps can be used with malintention. Some kids have parents who would use the knowledge of their location to cause harm. Not all situations are the same, but there are infinite ways in which this app can be very dangerous, not only for students, but for people in general. The app is not solely for parents.  Given the wrong circumstances, one’s  location could be shared and used by someone who is not a family member. This could be someone who one used to trust, or someone who used to have access to that information. 

  “I know it’s for safety reasons, but at some point it’s an invasion of privacy,” said senior Morgan Howland. 

  Teenagers do understand that the app can be used for safety, but some parents abuse the control that they have access to. 

  The students attending San Luis Obispo High School are at an age in which they can recognize the advantages of parental apps, however, they are also at an age in which they can handle important decisions and acknowledge a dangerous situation. 


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