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Life 360: Creepy or Crucial?

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Life 360: Creepy or Crucial?

Joey Chae, Staff Writer

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According to Google’s dictionary, stalkerish is an adjective that is “characterized by or displaying an obsessive and inappropriate or unwelcome interest in someone.”

The word also could be used to describe Life360, a communication app that families and other groups can use to track members’ whereabouts at all times.

Is this “1984”-esque technology comforting or unsettling?

Life360 functions by providing those who create a “circle” with a map that displays the location of each person’s cell phone — and the remaining battery life. This “family circle” is set up within the app by individuals who choose to form a group. The app is capable of notifying parents when their kids arrive and leave school, and when they arrive and leave their house. Users can also pay for extra features including stolen phone insurance, access to a live advisor 24/7, unlimited creation of “Places,” and emergency roadside assistance. Users have identified some problems such as signal drop and inaccurate location reporting.If that’s not an invasion of a high school student’s privacy, what is?

Freshman Sasha Schoettler acquiesced when her mother asked her to download the app. “It’s not that I go anywhere that I’m not supposed to,” Schoettler explained. “I just don’t need my mom to be notified everytime I walk to Starbucks to get a drink.

“My mom even thought that the app was super creepy. We downloaded Life360, and then my mom deleted it from her phone a week later,” Schoettler added. “No one in my family uses the app anymore.”

Although Schoettler and her mother decided to delete the app, many families still use it. Freshman Chris Clausen said that “my parents use [Life360] so they can know where I am or other people in our family are.” Other parents say they use the feature that allows family members to see others’ remaining battery percents. Freshman Lauren Dardashti explained, “I get the occasional texts from my parents when I’m out of the house, reminding me to charge my phone.”

Parents often use the app to make sure their children are staying out of trouble and away from danger. While this might be useful to the overly protective, it’s mostly just creepy. Few people would approve of someone knowing their every step, yet many parents are forcing their children to download this invasive app. In some cases, this kind of surveillance is justifiable, but these are the exception.

“My mom made me download Life360 because she had a bad dream of my brother and I getting kidnapped,” said freshman Sarah Daoud. In the unlikely event that something like this happens, Life360 could be helpful. But for the rest of the time, kids are stuck with an app that tracks their every move. While parents might have their children’s best interests at heart, they’re taking it too far.

When parents get a notification telling them that their daughter or son headed to the Garden Cafe after school to grab a boba, that’s an invasion of privacy. When parents open the app just to see where their 11th grader is, that’s an invasion of privacy. When parents use the app’s messaging service to let everyone in the circle know that they picked up a bottle of wart remover, that’s … oh, you get it.

Why would anyone think it’s okay to have this type of electronic surveillance available via a free download? Consider this: What type of information are the app makers gathering — and potentially selling?

It would be weird if you saw a parent following their 17-year-old around, right? So why allow them to do it with a smartphone?

Nonetheless, there are instances when crafty high school students have done a 360, uncovering a way to make the app work for them.

“I’ll use Life360 when I’m procrastinating on my homework by going on my computer,” said a student who requested anonymity. “Before my parents come home, I’ll check the app and, right before they get home, I shut my computer and start my work.”

Before Life360, the only people who were watched 24/7 were those in prison, but now high school students may find themselves feeling imprisoned because of this stupid app.

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About the Writer
Joey Chae, Staff Writer

Joey Chae discovered her passion for journalism in seventh grade where she became an editor for the Town Crier. Now in ninth grade, it’s her first year...

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Life 360: Creepy or Crucial?