General Etiquette > Techno-quette


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These days it's not uncommon, with smart phones, to be able to "track" your friends and family via GPS (and indeed Apple has an app for this very purpose). You can't track someone without their knowledge and consent: you both have to sign up for the app. I'm interested to know whether people feel it's intrusive/strange to track a) a spouse and b) a nearly adult child?

My husband and I track each other all the time. It's entirely normal for us. It's very useful for things like, putting the dinner on or the kettle on at just the right time, knowing how long it will be before someone is going to be home etc. There is absolutely no issues with trust in the relatio***p. My elderly mother also tracks us - she finds it very reassuring to know that we are home safe from journeys, etc. I also track her and likewise, find it reassuring to know that she's safe. I also track my son, although he doesn't have a particularly interesting life, he's either at school or at home. Again for reassurance I'd like to continue to do so when he leaves for university, but I would only do so if he was fine with it.

My sister thinks this is rude and bizarre. She says she cannot imagine ever consenting to someone tracking her, or would not ever do it to someone else, even with their knowledge and consent. She is divorced and her husband was unfaithful multiple times - I think in their relatio**ip it would have had many different connotations and he would never have agreed to it!

Obviously in the end this is between the two people concerned, but do people think it (in general) is rude and intrusive between family members or just a practical use of tech?

unless there was a safety/health issue (e.g., an elderly parent who has some memory/mobility issues, a family member traveling on their own in a remote/dangerous area), i find this extremely intrusive. I can't say it's rude, exactly, because as you say both sides agreed to it. But it is certainly intrusive and I, for one, would not be comfortable with this.

ETA - i realized you also wrote that this helps with knowing when someone will get home, put the kettle on, etc. i guess - maybe because i'm not living with a spouse/SO, i don't really do this. But even when i was married, i didn't need to know *to the minute* when someone was coming home. today i live with my adult son and we usually get home *around the same time every day* so I do notify DS when i'll be late (because he otherwise freaks out/panic attacks) but I don't need to call someone to put the kettle on or get dinner ready.

I've been married 30 years and I'd be most upset if I found out my husband was tracking me!  The kettle boils quick enough I don't need to be followed electronically so I can have a cup of tea.

I guess the problem might be that people might 'give in' to the request, fearing that their spouse/parent/child would think the worst of them if they didn't agree, even if they found it intrusive. Or I can just imagine what an abusive spouse, or boundary trampling parent, might do with information like this.

I don't think I'd like it - and there's no trust issues in our relationship either. There might be all kinds of legitimate reasons you don't want to be tracked every minuute of your day. First and foremost, it's just none of anyone's business, even my spouse, what I do with every minute of my day. And it would drive me completely batty to be having conversations about why I chose X route instead of Y route to the shops, or what friend and I talked about for 45 minutes when I went to drop something off at her house.

And things might change - OP's son might not lead a boring life once he leaves home, and in fact might find that he doesn't want his mother knowing what he was doing downtown until 3am, even if he can't imagine that when he agrees to be tracked at age 17. To be honest, if I discovered that a boyfriend was being tracked by his mother, I'd find it pretty offputting.

My husband and I use it, because he used to tell me that he would be leaving work at X time, I would prepare dinner accordingly, and then an hour later the food would be cold and I'd get a text saying that he was caught in a meeting. So now, when I start to prepare dinner, I glance at the app and see whether he's actually left or if he's staying put. It's helpful to us because often in these meetings, he wouldn't be able to answer a phone call or text from me.

If I had to guess, I'd say he almost never checks where I am, and I only check him for two reasons - the dinner situation mentioned above, or if he's really late getting somewhere and hasn't responded to a phone call or text in a long time.

I do have another friend on the app - we added each other when she was getting late into her pregnancy and she was having some medical issues - her husband was traveling for work regularly and it was important to them that we be able to find her if something went wrong and she couldn't answer her phone.

As both parties have to accept in order to allow tracking, I have to say that I don't see how it could be intrusive. Intruding is, by definition, "putting oneself deliberately into a place or situation where one is unwelcome or uninvited." And you have to be invited to use the app in this way.


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