Where's Your Kid?

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Where's Your Kid?

I was doing my regular news surfing this morning and came across a new iPhone application, iCurfew, that boasts a simple interface, allowing kids to check in with their parents via email, sending Mom or Dad an un-editable link that maps their precise location.

The app utilizes the iPhone's GPS capabilities to generate a link with precise coordinates - and when parents receive the email, they click on the link and a map is displayed with the location of the phone.

A positive aspect of this application is that it doesn't spy on the kid and generate the email automatically, but rather depends on the kid to identify their location (which generates the link) and then send the email.

My mind immediately wanders over to some lousy ways this application could be used by parents which could damage trust between them and their kids.

Also, I'm thinking that because many kids today are extremely tech saavy, if using iCurfew, they could pretty easily figure out ways to circumvent the purpose (the kid leaves their phone with a friend at the movies, who sends the check-in email, while the kid goes somewhere else, for example.) And, it seems reasonable to think that kids will come up with hacks to the application to send a false location.

So, in terms of a parent's overall goal of keeping track of one's kids, iCurfew, might not be a good option, especially for those who are having problems and trust issues with their kids.

But, in some circumstances, where parents and kids have an overall healthy relationship it might be a positive tool, not only for keeping track of where kids are, but helping to build accountability and responsibility in a teen's life.

The app also has some other benefits outside of the primary purpose of checking in. For example, helping parents with precise information on where to pick up their kid, and where to meet one another, let's say when on a shopping trip at a big mall.

In fact, I'm thinking of all of the uses it might provide for me in connecting with my wife. Like sending her my location when I'm out fishing local rivers on my own. Could provide some piece of mind for both of us. Seems like it would be well worth the $0.99 to download and use it myself.

The application is only available for use on the iPhone.

Source: HomeWord / Center for Youth and Family at APU