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Cars to get built-in chaperones

By Claes Bell ·
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Posted: 3 pm ET

General Motors is testing a new tracking feature, called Family Link, in its OnStar-equipped cars that would allow parents to monitor kids' travels in the family vehicle.

Available to an invitation-only group of 10,000 OnStar subscribers, the feature basically uses OnStar's built-in GPS and telematics to map a car's location on a website accessible to the car's owner. Owners can also opt to receive email or text notifications of the family vehicle's whereabouts at predetermined intervals.

According to the press release, if the pilot goes well, the automaker hopes to include more features, including a speed alert, an alert for when the car leaves a preset boundary, and an arrival/departure alert. The pilot program is slated to run until the end of 2011.

I'm a little torn on this. The killer app here seems to be tracking your child's travels in the family car, but it seems a little overbearing and creepy to be keeping that kind of constant, Big-Brotherish watch over a child. On the other hand, as a father, I know that when the time comes for my daughters to start driving, I'm going to be worried about all the possible tragedies that could befall them, and so a tool like this might be pretty tempting.

But in the end, if a kid is worthy of being trusted with car keys in the first place, parents should probably trust them to be honest about where they're going. If you can't trust them that far, then why trust them with your car at all?

What do you think? Should parents monitor their kids' movements in the family car?

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August 04, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I TOTALLY hate the idea of using this to track my child's every move, but the GPS locator is a great tool for safety. If you have not heard from your child and are concerned after not being able to reach them, you can check where the car is. Maybe it's in at the mall or maybe you see it's in the parking lot of an abandoned building! That may signal something is wrong...also, good for stolen cars (like LoJack).

I'll be honest, I would feel much safe using one of those GPS trackers in my kid!!