Talking Points: Should parents be allowed to track their children’s whereabouts using the GPS on their mobile phones

Talking Points: Should parents be allowed to track their children’s whereabouts using the GPS on their mobile phones

Hate it when you can’t talk back? Well, you can with Young Post. Have your say and share with students around Hong Kong

Ady Lam, 13, Island School

I don’t think parents should be allowed to track their children’s whereabouts via their mobile phones. Firstly, it shows that the parents don’t trust their children. If a relationship isn’t built on trust, then what is it built on? Secondly, at one point or another, young people have to learn to be independent. They can’t exactly do that with over-protective parents breathing down their necks. Finally, parents – especially tiger parents – could end up putting extra unnecessary stress on their children.

Arella Ng Hoi-ying, 13, International Christian School

Although children may complain about being watched all the time, they don’t realise that it’s for their own safety. Using a tracking app can let parents give their children the freedom to go out on their own, while still making sure they are safe.

However, to many teenagers, it sends one message: “I don’t trust you”. If parents and teenagers discuss the issue and come to a mutual understanding, hopefully parents will only use such apps in rare cases of emergency.

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Cheung Tsz-kin, 17, Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School

I understand that parents are concerned about their child’s safety, but is it necessary to invade your child’s privacy to ensure their safety?

Tracking their child’s whereabouts is a huge violation of privacy. What’s more, it’s one that some parents might abuse, and use to limit their child’s freedom. This feeling of being watched all the time is bound to have a negative impact on young people.

This lack of trust is also likely to make the relationship between parents and children worse. Showing your child you trust and respect them will encourage them to make smart choices by themselves, and they will respect you in return.

If parents want their children to be safe, it is not that hard to simply build a good relationship so that children confide in their parents and tell them what they are up to.

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Wylok Wong, 14, King Ling College

Of course it’s a good thing that our parents care about us, but sometimes they take this concern too far. Tracking someone’s location using GPS is an invasion of privacy. We aren’t children anymore; we are teenagers who are capable of thinking for themselves. If my parents tried to track me, I would feel deeply uncomfortable. But there is a fairly simple solution for teens: just switch off the GPS on your phone!

Hannah Faith Chak, 17, Po Leung Kuk Wu Chung College

Definitely not! Tracking people without their permission is extremely disrespectful.

Parents should respect their children’s privacy. If they want to know their child’s whereabouts because they are truly concerned about their welfare, they should simply ask them. If parents are afraid that their child may lie, then they need to build a healthier relationship with their child and gain their trust. That way, children will most likely tell the truth and parents will not have to track them.

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Carina Cheung, 14, King Ling College

No matter how responsible we are, it’s natural for our parents to worry about us. Being able to see our whereabouts can give them peace of mind.

Teenagers can help their parents by telling them where they are going, so that parents only have to check if they start to get worried.

Even though we aren’t children, we don’t have the same life experience our parents do, and could find ourselves in an unsafe situation. Until we are adults ourselves, we can always use a helping hand from our parents.

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Toby Fung, 18, Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School

I don’t think parents should be allowed to track their children’s whereabouts via their mobile phones, because it robs young people of their freedom and cause them to resent their parents. Why can’t parents simple call their children to find out where they are? I am sure that their children would tell them the truth. Parents and young people need to learn how to communicate with one another.

Kathy Li, 14, King Ling College

In my opinion, parents should not be allowed to track their children’s phones. Doing so would make teens feel uncomfortable, and it’s bound to cause arguments, too. If children tell their parents where they are going in the first place, why do they need to be tracked? Everyone has the right to privacy, including kids.

Hilary Lee, 14, King Ling College

I think it’s okay for parents to track their children’s whereabouts because they have more life experience than us, and can help us if we are in trouble. I think parents should also be allowed to track our online activity, because the internet can be a very dangerous place. Parents can also find out whether their kids are spending an unhealthy amount of time online.

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Helen Liu,17, Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School

Some people may think that using a GPS tracker to track your child is a violation of privacy, but I don’t think so. These things always have advantages and disadvantages. As far as I am concerned, I think this is a good way to keep children safe. Sometimes young people stay out late without telling their parents, and parents need a way of making sure their child is okay. I think safety is more important than privacy.


In our next Talking Points, we’ll discuss:

Should cyberbullying be treated as a crime?

We are now accepting your answers for this topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age, and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it’s not blurry), to yp@scmp.com by lunchtime on Monday. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Talking points: Should parents be allowed to track their children’s whereabouts via their mobile phones?

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