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.
Looking for more ways to protect your family? Check out our:
To get all of our updates make sure to click the link below!