Sitting in a cafe with my friends and having a normal conversation, I grab my phone and see that I have several missed calls from my dad. I quickly call him back and he answers right away, bombarding me with questions. “Where are you? Who are you with? When will you be back?”
As I got older and was able to have more freedom, my parents became more protective of me. It was minimal at first–they would give me a quick call and ask where I was and who I was with. Then, when both of my parents switched to iPhones, they learned about the “Find Friends” option and made me share my location with them.
The biggest milestone that any teenager could hit came along–I got my license. With my license came my very first car and a contract from my parents that included a list of rules I had to follow, such as putting aside a certain amount of money for maintenance fees. If I disobeyed a single rule, my car would be taken away for a maximum of 72 hours.
Knowing that my parents are able to see my every move makes me uncomfortable every time I go out. To them, this contract impedes my freedom with the car. On my end, it feels like they don’t believe I am responsible enough. My limitations make me overthink how I am acting in public, even when I’m just trying to be myself because I don’t want to disappoint my parents.
My parents are especially strict about hanging out at my friends’ houses because it’s hard for them to put their trust in others. Therefore, when my friends make plans at one of their houses, I usually have to decline them because of my parents which makes me feel left out.
Although the contract and my feelings about it may all seem negative and a little dramatic, I understand that my parents just want the best for me by making sure I’m safe. Sometimes I take them for granted, but I realize that they actually do put a lot of trust in me. Whenever I get frustrated with them, I take a moment to calm down and remind myself that I need to respect them for my own well being.
For the most part, this can be seen as excruciatingly strict, yet my parents do this out of love. I know tracking questions their thoughts of trust, safety, my right to privacy and autonomy. Not only that, but it gives me a sense of self-doubt and anxiousness. In the end, I understand that my parents want to keep me safe and maintain a loving connection while furthering my independence.
Do your parents track your location?