This App Helps Parents Keep Track Of Their Kid's Whereabouts, But Has It Gone Too Far?

Getting kids to school, parents to work, and all of the practices, appointments, and meetings in between requires some top-notch communication and coordination. Luckily, an app helps parents keep track of their kid's whereabouts, in efforts to make those constant "where are you?" texts a thing of the past. Enter: the Life360 app. Available in the App Store and on Google Play, it might be exactly what your family needs to make the switch back-to-school a bit easier on everyone.

The Life360 app calls itself "your new family circle," and for good reason. Users — with the accepted qualifications and credentials — are able to see a map that shows all of their members' locations. But Life360 goes beyond user-initiated tracking — it actually can send automatic notifications when family members have made it to school, work, or any other labeled spot.

But is Life360 safe to use? You certainly wouldn't want your location information (or your children's info) to get into someone else's hands. Developers assure that it's secure as they "use bank level SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption and other military grade security protocols," according to the app's website. What's more, from a privacy standpoint, in order to add family members to your circle you must first submit a private numerical code.

If you've downloaded Life360, you'll first create a password, username, and email. Next, you'll need to enter an "invite code" to gain access to a "Circle" — code that can only be shared by the Circle's creator. From there, you're able to set your home, work, and school preferences accordingly.

Screencap courtesy of Cameron Norsworthy

Obviously, apps of this nature have existed before, but Life360 stands out in that it offers a "one tap check-in button" so users don't have to send any non-app texts to give updates. Instead, they tap, and a location notification is sent automatically within the app. Another special feature? The alert button sends an email, voicemail, and text message to each user in case an emergency occurs.

Some kids have argued, though, that the Life360 app invades their privacy. In addition to tracking and chat functions, it also "show[s] any phone activity while the vehicle is moving, to let [parents] know if their children are talking or maybe texting while driving." This, in addition to the fact that Life360 shares a phone's battery life with family members, has kids wondering if perhaps it's gone a little too far.

We're living in an age where fibbing about your whereabouts might be just short of impossible. To parents, this app might feel like a godsend. To kids? A potential nightmare. Sure, there should be no consequences if you have nothing to hide, but constant updates could quickly become something parents obsess over, perhaps straying away from monitoring safety and instead creating tension where it's not needed. But at the end of the day, each individual family will know if this app is right for them.