When your child grows into a teenager, it will become increasingly difficult to know where they are. You could call them, text them countless times, but it’s more than easy for them to just avoid calls and ignore texts.
Unless, of course, you have this handy app.
In this day and age, when our smartphones are more than just phones, it’s a shame not to make use of the technology at hand – or in your pocket.
Folr is the very app that allows you to keep track of anyone with a smartphone – children who are out past curfew, your elderly mother who has a tendency to wander off. It’s a terrifying yet useful technology.
According to The Next Web, Folr founder John Fearon assures that the service is entirely permission-based, with the aim of giving you peace of mind about the location of those you love, rather than stalking people.
Folr’s website also says that it can also be used on an institutional level, like for checking school attendance, or for social purposes, much like perpetual Foursquare check-ins. “If merrymakers wander from the pack, their mates will know where to reunite. This makes it much easier for buddies getting and staying together.”
Using Folr is simple. After downloading the app from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, you activate location-based services for Folr in your devices’ settings menu. Then just create a Folr account and log-in. You can do this on as many devices as you’d like to track.
At first glance, the technology sounds as simple as tracking a lost device. But other than telling you the current location of the smartphone – and in extension the smartphone owner – Folr also gives you real-time, detailed information on the location of your loved ones, as well as detailed location history.
The up to date location tracking shows how easy it is to stalk someone with the right technology. As long as you’re armed with a smartphone, and you’re used to happily leaving your location-based services on, it is very possible for anyone to stalk you. If you’re not convince that this is scary, check your Google Maps Location History, that maps where you’ve been at any point of time over a course of days, weeks, or months. Think about what happens when this information gets into the hands of that creepy guy who gave you the stink eye on the bus today.
With Great Power…
If used to keep an eye on children, Folr could have two very different effects on teenage-parent relationships.
First, parents could be more at ease knowing that their children are safe, and will only check the app when they are late for curfew or in emergencies, therefore respecting their child’s space and independence. Or, they could become obsessively addicted to keeping track of their children, checking the app every few minutes and calling the moment their child’s location changes unexpectedly. It could possibly provide possessive girlfriends the means to keep a literal eye on their boyfriends’ locations every time.
Ultimately even apps like this need to be used with a level of respect and discretion. After all, who is to stop your teenage daughter from turning her location-tracking off?
The value in permission-based tracking is undeniable, especially when taking care of children. But there are also risks in keeping your GPS tracking on in your phone when it is obviously able to track your movements. As long as the app is used in a controlled and mature way, there’s not much harm in it (except to your phone battery life). It could even improve the way you communicate with your loved ones.
We’ve only have to worry about human nature.