GPS Systems, are they a good idea for teen drivers? As a parent and an owner of a driving school, my answer is yes, for some families. I know most teens hate the idea of having their whereabouts tracked, but as a parent, it is a tool to help us keep our kids safe. There are times when I think a GPS system would be particularly useful. For example, if you have a teenager that finds it difficult to obey rules, this is a way to monitor if they are following your rules and the rules of the road. These kids need boundaries, they don’t need unlimited freedom at the age of 16. They need to understand that if they want to drive, they will have to play by the rules, one of them being there will be a GPS tracking system in their vehicle. I recently came across an article about the GuideDog tracking system and there are others on the market. At this point we are not endorsing any particular system, we just think they are a good tool for some parents.
As the cartoon suggests the question of “trust” comes up. I don’t want my teenager to think I don’t trust them.” While this is a valid point, I would err on the side of caution and tell my child, “this will help me feel better about having you out there driving on your own.” At some point, if the teen exhibits trustworthy behavior, then the need for the GPS system can be revisited. There are too many temptations for young people to make poor choices – speeding, talking or texting on a cell phone, drinking and driving, showing off for friends, going places that are off limits. GPS tracking systems help us monitor most of these behaviors. There are even applications you can put on cell phones that create a “fence” for your teenager – restricting where they can drive. While this may seem “over the top”to some, I would prefer to have my teenager alive and a little unhappy than injured or worse yet, dead. This is a blip in time in their life. All too often we “glorify” the high school years – “this should be the best time in their life.” It is also the most dangerous time in their life. Consider the use of tools to help them stay safe.