(WCNC) - It’s not uncommon for parents to track their child’s activity on social media these days. But a growing number of parents are actually tracking their kids by using a phone’s built-in features or downloading apps specifically for GPS monitoring.
Critics argue it amounts to spying on your kids and damages the parent-child relationship. Moms say there’s more to it than that.
"I trust my girls wholeheartedly, I don’t trust everyone else, period," mom Janna Watt told NBC Charlotte.
Janna uses a GPS tracking app on her daughters' phones as a safety net.
"Just a little bit of peace of mind for me," Janna explained.
Ella and Ava see it a bit differently.
"I’ve got nothing to hide, it’s just weird," said Ava.
"I like the idea of it, but i think there’s a very fine line between going too far and having a nice balance," Ella added.
Janna finds the tracking app especially helpful when the kids catch a ride home, walk to school or are just hanging with friends.
"If they are using a cell phone, most likely parents are paying for that cell phone, so it’s their cell phone technically," Janna said.
Susan Wind helps parents understand the digital world their children live in. She encourages not only tracking your kids but telling your kids about it like Janna and her husband did.
"With that responsibility, there should be some type of agreement and conversation about what the expectations are."
That includes consequences if the child forgets their phone or shuts it off to disable the tracking ability.
"I feel like we should treat our kids like young adults and give them some responsibility, but we also can’t just let them set the rules."
You don’t have to wait until your child has a smartphone to track them. For smaller kids, you can get a smart watch with a tracker.
Some parents argue tracking your child adds to surveillance creep; the idea that government and corporate intrusions into our privacy are growing at an alarming rate. But these moms say they just want to protect their kids.
"People will be like, 'We went out and stayed out until the dinner bell rang or the streetlights came on. I did, too, but you know that was a whole different world than what our kids have," said Janna.
"I don’t want to beat myself up saying i should’ve done that i should’ve known where they were," Susan said.
Jana uses Life 360, because it was the least invasive app she found. The whole family is on it now. The girls have even used the app to track their mom and dad.