(NaturalNews) Some parents of today’s youngest generation of drivers might think that General Motors’ new app, “Teen Driver,” is great because it allows them to monitor their children as they drive and even control their behavior.
According to MTV News, the app is being billed as a “safety system” that permits parents “to cap your speed, see where you’ve driven, set a maximum volume for the radio and even receive a ‘vehicle report card’ when you’ve been driving dangerously.
“Think of it like a V-chip for your car: Your parents get to set up a PIN that allows them to drive the car normally – at whatever speed they want – but you have to drive like you’re on probation,” the report says.
To be fair, GM is not the first car maker to put so-called interventional technology in its vehicles; Ford’s “MyKey” system also allows parents to control speed and other features in vehicles being driving by their children.
However, even if the technology exists, is using it such a good idea? Do we really want our kids growing up to accept that they are constantly under surveillance? Isn’t this the same thing as listening in on a child’s phone calls, putting tape recorders in their rooms or following them wherever they go?
Sure, we want to keep our kids safe, but do we want them monitored 24/7?
As you might have guessed, automobile makers are playing on parents’ natural fears; the systems are being sold as safety enhancers. From a Ford press release:
There is perhaps no bigger worry for parents than their teens’ safety, including when they get behind the wheel this summer vacation season.
Parents’ concern is more than just instinct – the numbers back it up. Ford’s analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows teen driver fatalities increase every month beginning in May before declining in September. So who is there to remind teenagers to buckle up when their parents aren’t around? How will they know when the radio is a distraction, or to slow down?
What “reasonable” parent could decline this pitch?
As for the “con” side of the argument, MTV News is completely missing the boat by playing to its younger audience. The music television site’s “con” is that “meddling parents” will only become more meddling in the lives of their kids:
If your folks are already judgy and nosey, Teen Driver will help them to double down on their annoying ways. It sucks enough when they harangue you about hanging out with certain friends or love interests, but it’ll suck that much worse when they can point to how many times you’ve driven to that person’s house.
Conditioning the next generation to voluntarily surrender privacy
Even while admitting that parents might be doing their kids a favor by limiting their speed and that it’s “natural” for them to want to keep their kids alive, the complete whiff on the privacy angle is saddening. In another “con” section, MTV News warns young drivers that the technology might “collect data that could be used in court” – a realization that might prevent parents from using the technology because hey, only they should be able to punish their own child, right?
Perhaps the worst part of all this is the fact that this sort of 24/7/365 monitoring of our activities is conditioning us to accept NSA-style constant surveillance as “normal” and to become so used to it that we eventually view anyone who thinks the Fourth Amendment means what it says is abnormal or even dangerous.
A spot of good news: Not all car makers are convinced this technology is a good thing. While Toyota is still developing similar technology, officials at Subaru are not even thinking about developing it. A company spokesman told MTV News that Subaru was focusing on making safer cars.
Of course, there is always iTeen365, which uses GPS to track your kids’ movements as well.
Written by J. D. Heyes
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