What to tell a teen being tracked…

frontpage, teendrivers on July 14th, 2010 No Comments

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few month talking to parents and imagining a future conversation with my kids when they start driving about why they will be monitored. I’m not sure there is a perfect method for broaching the subject. Some of the parents I’ve spoken to intimated that they would avoid telling their teens about the units. Other parents are considering a more direct approach of telling them. I think the latter will prove to be the most effective for families. Here are some reasons why:

First Year Driver

First Year Teen Driver

1. The Track What Matters (www.myteenmatters.com) GPS tracking service works best as a deterrent to bad driving behavior. I had breakfast yesterday with one of my pals from high school who told me a story for the first time about him and another buddy racing each other down 635 in Dallas at speeds up to 140 mph! I asked him the question with the obvious answer, “is there any way you would have driven that fast if you knew you dad would find out?” of course his immediate answer was “never”.

2. Trust is a huge thing with teens. I remember asking my parents why they didn’t show me more trust. The conversation never went well when I had recently broken their trust. It is my thinking that trust might well be a benefit of the TWM system when the subject is properly approached by a savvy parent or two. Consider what breeds trust. The easy answer is the demonstration of trustworthy behavior. When it comes to driving, in the past, trust had to be given in blind faith by parents to kids that didn’t have wrecks or traffic tickets to show for their poor driving habits. Or, if a teen truly was a cautious driver, they might still carry unwarranted restrictions since their parents were unable to verify the teen’s good habits. Thus, when broaching the subject of tracking, a motivation to a teen (not that I am advocating giving a teen a choice) might well be that your teen could experience greater freedoms more quickly with TWM installed on his or her car accompanied by examples of good driving habits.

3. Trust is a two way street. Did you trust your parents? I can say that I did, but in so many ways, my teen years were lived in a simpler time. Back then (I am 34) they kept tabs on me by talking to the parents of my friends and attending school events. However, though it was just 16 years ago, the world is a completely different place. When I was in high school, the Internet was 9 years from starting to become mainstream. Everything done on the Internet was boring text and was of little appeal to most teens. Though we still managed to download a very long list of blonde jokes (I found these highly offensive and would never condone the practice of making fun of this upstanding group of people whether they were of natural membership or synthetically included :) ). The point here is that today, since it is easy to create community online, a great number of concerned parents are monitoring their teen’s Internet activities to be able to more quickly identify problems in behavior and association. In light of recent school tragedies, and statistics, this can only be viewed as a wise practice. But how does this establish trust between teen and parent? It only does if your relationship is honest. By this I mean that you tell your teen that you are going to be monitoring his or her activities because you care for them and desire to protect them from the many negative influences that are out there today. This is the chief justification I see in teen tracking.

What about Big Brother? Well, Big Brother doesn’t work at Track What Matters. Neither is TWM an agent of any governmental authority. Your privacy and safety are our chief concerns. We will never sell your personal information to an outside entity or give it to a governmental agency without your written consent. My slightly governmental paranoid personality won’t allow it.

So, rest assured that you can put restrictions on you teens and it will never kill them. On the other hand, had I been left to my own conscience as a guide through my teen years, I might not have survived them.

Take care,

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