Disclosure: This blog does not contain affiliate links – just a honest review of an oft debated product that I use and love.
Realizing this is a very controversial topic, I decided that MAYBE, just maybe, I would be brave enough to reveal a secret. I LOVE Life360. We here at Sandwich Smarter thought a conversation about how I use it would be helpful to remove the stigma. Maybe this tool could be useful for your family too.
In case you are unfamiliar with Life360, I pulled this basic overview from their website:
“Life360 is an app that helps families and close friends stay connected by creating a “Circle” of loved ones. For some peace of mind, you can get real-time location info on each other, seen on a private map, and even opt for automated alerts whenever someone arrives or leaves a destination. You can also communicate with each other in a group chat, based on your Circle, inside the iOS or Android app.”
Some criticize this type of application as a version of “helicopter” parenting. I understand that it could be conceived as this, but when used the right way I rather like to view it as “watchful” parenting.
That said, I used this app in a very not-healthy way at first. When my youngest daughter started driving, watching her leave my driveway – in a car – by HERSELF was terrifying. It felt as though a piece of my heart was leaving each time she drove away. I would start watching her Life360 location the minute she left the driveway and yes…..I would watch it the whoooooole time until she reached her destination. I know……you don’t need to say anything – I understand the ridiculousness of this.
Gradually over time I lessened my unhealthy habit and started just periodically checking in on her drive. Eventually I was shocked at myself when I didn’t check on her drive even once and rather got a notification that she had completed her drive and I had been blissfully unaware of her travel.
Ok – so now that I’m done being brutally honest about my mis-use of this app I am going to explain how I feel it can be used in a way that is advantageous to all parties involved. Everyone in my family has this app on their phone – drivers and non-drivers alike. This way I can use it for my 16 year old non-driver too while he is on the move with friends.
When my kids are supposed to be home at 9:00 (ok maybe 10:00 because they negotiated – ha!) and the time is approaching that I know they should be leaving, I may check in to see if they have left. If it’s important that they get home at a specific time so that they can do that thing that all teenagers hate (GO TO BED!), I will make sure they are on the move towards home at the right time. They know that they can expect a phone call from Mom that they had BETTER answer to give me an update on their departure time. Knowing this has created a situation where I am likely to get an update phone call before I even have to reach out
I have designated places that will give me notifications when they have left and/or arrived at these spots. School, home, work, specific friends’ houses – all examples of places I have used. This has been helpful in a few ways:
It’s also useful to be able to check their location. For example:
I truly do not watch them continuously any longer – realizing that this was an unhealthy habit on both sides of the coin. I also avoid looking at their driving summary. They need some autonomy and I need some sanity!!
Funny enough…..my kids use this app to “watch” me sometimes too! I have gotten many a phone call inquiring about my location.
The list is endless…apparently I can’t get away with anything either!
So there you have it – my secret is out in the world! I love Life360 and how it works for our family. I hope that by sharing my confession with you it will help to remove the stigma.
Click here if you want to check out Life360 for your family.
Looking for more ways to protect your family? Check out our:
To get all of our updates make sure to click the link below!