Everyone wonders where their kids are when they are no longer in sight. It's just what parents do. This being the free market and all, software developers have figured out a way to help parents, with kid tracking software.
If you wanted a job in espionage, but couldn't pass a security clearance, here's your chance. This software gives parents the super-human ability to know where their kids are at all times in both the physical and virtual worlds, reports The New York Times. So what are these tools and are there any legal ramifications?
There are two types of tools, the online tracking tools and the physical, GPS tracking tools. The software tools are those that you would need to download and install on your home computer and on your kids' computers and tablets.
One online tracking software is called uKnowKids.com, which tracks both the Facebook page and text messages of a child. The website claims that it will find your child's social networks even if they are hidden.
Another online tracking software is MinorMonitor, which also claims to search Facebook for dangerous sounding trends. It has a much more limited scope, only checking Facebook.
Both these services are free, and are certainly not the only ones out there.
As for physical tracking, there are a multitude of GPS tracking tools as well. Most of these require consent of the other user being tracked. This can be a hindrance when your kids don't want you knowing where they are going.
However, there are new services being offered by cell phone providers that will tell you where anyone on your family plan is located without their specific consent. These services are provided by Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T.
Now, you may wonder, is any of this legal? It must be for all of these companies to offer the services, right?
Well, there are some things you need to be wary of if you are using these products or services. Under Texas law, if you intercept someone's electronic communications without their consent, you are committing a second degree felony.
The twist here is that you are intercepting your child's communications. There are two ways that this is not a problem for parents.
The first is that you have a conversation with your child and get actual consent from them to install this stuff.
The second is the fact that you are the child's parent, and can likely give consent for them. The state gives a parent power to consent for the child up to the age of 17, specifically in terms of medical treatment, education, and marriage.
Therefore, go out there and pretend you're part of the NSA and track your kids wherever they may go. Just hope they don't turn their phone off.
- Need a Houston Family Law Attorney? (FindLaw)
- Senate Hearings Focus on Apple, Google Cell Phone Tracking (FindLaw's Common Law Blog)
- Warrantless GPS Tracking Unconstitutional, Supreme Court Rules (Huffington Post)