Life 360 is a tracking app created by Chris Hulls in 2008. The app has gained popularity throughout the past couple of years and has posed numerous pros and cons within the lives of college students.
The tracking app allows for constant location sharing between a group of people, even if your phone is off. Special options can be added into the app’s features such as driving reports and crash detection. Within the settings, a user can turn off their location sharing, but doing this will alert the members of your party that you’ve done so.
The app allows users to create “circles.” This feature allows for a user to create separate groups of people that have the ability to track you. These different circles can allow students to not only have a circle with their family, but also with their friends.
Since freshman year of high school, I have had Life 360 downloaded on my phone. My parents had my household all under a circle due to safety concerns. From a viewpoint of being a parent to four teenage girls, I understand the appeal that this app presents and why my parents had us get it.
From a safety standpoint, the app is a great asset to have on your phone. Personally, I have a circle with my friends, and we utilize this app to make sure we get home safe from parties. If one of us gets stuck in traffic, we can see where the other is on the highway. If I ever feel unsafe, I can hit the SOS button on the app and it notifies my circle and emergency contacts.
Being in college, the app has been both a blessing and a curse. When walking from campus to the parking lot, I feel safer knowing that my roommate can see where I’m at. However, I do not like how my parents can see if I am not in my dorm at midnight—mostly because they text me to go back. I am in college to be away from my family. I do not need them to know my whereabouts while I am hundreds of miles away, learning how to live on my own.
The debate of whether or not the tracking app is necessary has been a prevalent topic on social media platform TikTok. Kids like myself feel the app tests the trust between them and their parents. Furthermore, many kids leave their phones at home to avoid being tracked, which can lead to a plethora of dangerous situations. Without a phone children become vulnerable to trafficking, kidnapping and more with no lifeline to the outside world.
Ironically, the Life 360 app gives me both peace of mind and anxiety. I enjoy being able to depend on the app if I find myself in a tough spot. However, in a way, I feel that, as an adult, I should not be tracked like a delinquent child by my parents.