Blown To Bits

Tracking your teen

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008 by Harry Lewis

In Blown to Bits, we write about the various reasons we willingly surrender our privacy. Promises of convenience, economy, and safety all make practices acceptable that would once have been offensive.

Enter Teensurance, a mashup of automobile insurance and global positioning systems aimed at parents of teenagers. With the GPS installed, Mom and Dad can: locate the car instantly; find out instantly when Johnny is exceeding a 60mph; find out when Johnny has driven more than 10 miles from home; know whether Johnny actually arrived at Sam’s house; and get a phone call or email if Johnny is driving after his midnight curfew. The company reports lower accident rates in families using their service.

Whatever its lifesaving merits, getting young people used to such a way of life accommodates them to a new and different understanding of civil liberties. And it is another step toward the infantilization of teenagers, a phenomenon about which I have written in another book.

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