The parents of today’s Generation Z teens are used to using technology to help them kee0 tabs on their kids. They have been able to monitor how much time their children spend on apps and games with eerie exactitude. They have been able to monitor their Children’s communications. And as their teenagers get ready for that rite of passage known as driving the family car—alone—technology confers parental supervision of that activity, too.
Teenagers of Generation Z have had their whole lives shaped by technology. They are both used to technological surveillance and savvy of ways to defeat it, especially if they’re known for sneaking out at night. Parents need to have a thorough understanding of how to implement GPS tracking for the teenage drivers in their family to make the system work.
First, remember why you want GPS tracking on your teen driver
Installing a GPS tracker for teens that transmits data on speed and location in the car your teen uses may seem like helicopter parenting, and it indeed does diminish your teen’s privacy, but not without a good reason.
Teenagers tend to drive fast, especially when they are with other teenagers. Speed leads to accidents, injuries, and tragedies.
There are about 15,000,000 teenagers aged 15 to 18 in the United States. That’s a little less than 5 percent of the total population of the country. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tells us that 27 percent of all fatal car crashes in the United States involve teen drivers between the ages of 15 and 18. Beginning drivers are more than 5 times as likely as the general population to be involved in a fatal crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also tells us that:
- 31 percent of teenage male drivers involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash.
- 17 percent of teenage female drivers involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash.
- 16-year-olds were one and one-half times as likely to be involved in a fatal crash as older teens.
- The first few months after a teen gets a full driver’s license are the most dangerous.
There is a very simple reason parents want to keep tabs on how fast their teenagers drive. They want to keep them alive. So, what’s involved in installing a GPS tracking device?
Choosing the Right GPS Tracking Device for Your Teen’s Car
Probably the best way to choose the right GPS tracking device for keeping up with your teenager is to familiarize yourself with the capabilities of some of the best GPS tracking units that will be available in late 2021 and early 2022.
SpaceHawk tells parents how fast their teen’s vehicle is going, where it is and where it has been, and every point along their way. Even better, SpaceHawk accomplishes surveillance without the teenager knowing it is there.
SpaceHawk is one of the smallest GPS trackers on the market. It’s just one inch by two inches. It has waterproof, magnetic housing that enables you to place it discreetly in a wheel well or on the frame under your car. Despite its compact size, it has excellent battery life, and it has the capacity to notify you when your teenager is speeding.
It is possible to buy a data plan for the SpaceHawk that updates speed and location every three seconds. The product comes with a lifetime service plan. There is also a SpaceHawk 2.0 that has no monthly subscription fee, but it doesn’t update data as frequently as the SpaceHawk. It, too, is easy to conceal.
If you and your teenager have discussed GPS tracking, and you don’t feel there is any need to conceal the tracker, you can install a “plug and play” GPS Connect unit in your car’s OBD (on-board diagnostics) port. The tracker will draw continuous power from the battery and send data to your IOS or Android phone. And because the tracker is plugged into onboard diagnostics, it will also send you data about harsh braking, weaving, swerving, and taking curves at high speed.
This model sends parents complete data only about every three minutes. But there is no monthly subscription fee.
If your teen drives from the United States on short trips to Canada or Mexico, the GPS Tracker you need is the Everlast GPS. This device can track your teen anywhere there is cell service in North America. And, as its name suggests, it has unusually long battery life. Everlast GPS transmits data for as long as 138 days on a single charge.
Everlast GPS also sends data to the parent’s smartphone through an app for iOS or Android.
Do you need to track your teen both while they are driving and after they get out of their car? The Mini Tec tracking device can help you locate your teen at all times. It’s convenient and small enough to be easy to conceal. Its pelican case makes it convenient to take on hikes, mountain bike adventures, and camping trips.
With the MiniTec you can set up geofence alerts that let you know when your teen has traveled outside preset limits. Some devices will send you an alert when your teen has left a preset radius of home, but others can be set to tell you when your teenager has traveled outside an area you draw on an electronic map.
There are GPS tracking devices that will only cost you their $100 purchase price. There are service plans for special situations that may cost you over $100 a month. The depth of detail you will need depends on the kinds of places your teen will travel, whether their car is prone to breakdowns, and whether they drive with other teens.
We recommend that you have a heart-to-heart talk with your teenager about the reasons you want to do GPS tracking. The simple truth is, it is much easier for you to help them if they get in trouble on the road if their car has GPS tracking. But every parent has a slightly different relationship with their teenager.