LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Teenagers who are being tracked by the popular app Life360 are throwing off the digital leash, and showing their fellow teens how to do the same.
Life360 touts itself as a way for a family to protect and connect with each other. Family and friends invited into a “private, invite-only” circle shows everyone in that circle a member’s location and can provide notifications when people come and go from their most frequented locations, like school.
But for some young people, the app is being used more like Big Brother.
“It’s kind of like going too far, like 24-hour surveillance,” 16-year-old Roman De Mann said.
Not only does the app track a user’s every move, it can also calculate the speed a person is driving and detect whether that person is texting. It’s one of the app’s ways of keeping tabs on teens that’s driving them crazy.
“We had a huge argument about it,” Roman said.
The first problem with requiring teenagers to have an app that will track their every move is the lack of trust from parents. Roman and his friends say they understand parents who want a check-in with a phone call or text.
“I think there needs to be implicit trust, not enforced trust,” 16-year-old Skylar Keefer said.
Teens may hate the app, but Life360 had 18 million users at the end of 2018, so the backlash is not doing much to make a dent in its usage. So they’re fighting back in the way that young tech natives do – hacking the app.
More and more young people are posting videos on how to beat the app on TikTok and other video sharing sites popular with teenagers.
Mary Meisenzahl with Business Insider said that parents who depend on Life360 should probably try to stay ahead of their teens looking to throw off the digital leash.
“Parents should probably understand how this works if they’re getting fishy results and something they should look into more,” she said.
Life360 says it is aware the app isn’t “teen proof,” and issued a statement that said:
“Our goal is for families to set their own rules of engagement and how they connect together on Life360. This can start with a conversation that sets expectations on why, when and how often the app will be used.”