Texting and Your Teen: An App that Reports Back to Mom and Dad

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Texting while driving is horribly dangerous.

You can not multi-task when one of those tasks is driving a car.

AAA tells us that distracted driving causes 8,000 accidents a day in the US. You read that right. Eight THOUSAND a DAY. “Distracted” includes all distractions: eating, drinking, adjusting music, talking on your cell phone, reading and sending emails (email? really? while driving? good grief) and of course, texting.

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Public service announcements and other sources are doing a pretty good job of getting the word out that texting and driving don’t mix.

I found many images I could have used here. Bumper stickers, posters, billboards, all with warning messages. However, other horrible images came up as well. Cars bent in half, overturned, broken in two. Googling “texting and driving” does not bring forth happy pictures.

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It’s dangerous, destructive and deadly.

But, even though most people agree that texting while driving is dangerous, many people report doing it anyway.

Which brings me to the subject of this post….. teenagers. Parents warn them, they hear about the dangers in school and through all the public service announcements.

But does that stop these teens from making the wrong choices?

Probably some of them. But not all of them.

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So …. let’s imagine you are the parent of a teenager, and your cell-phone-toting teen is about to drive. You have “the” conversations, you share the warnings, and away they go.

Is that good enough?

What if you had an app that would report BACK to you about your teen’s driving/texting behavior? Would you use it?

You will soon have the opportunity to make this decision.

A new app (already available for Android) will soon appear in the app store for iPhone. Called Vehawk, it will track phone usage and text messages and send this information back to the account owner (Mom and Dad). It will also record how fast the car was going and where it was when the messaging or calling occurred.

You can read about it here.

Would you use it? Is it spying? Or is it vigilant parenting?

My kids are grown, so I don’t have to tackle this issue. But I can’t help but wonder how popular (or not) this will be ……..


26 thoughts on “Texting and Your Teen: An App that Reports Back to Mom and Dad

  1. I sent this to my daughter – her daughter is about to turn 16. If the kids know you’re checking, it might help. When I was a corporate trainer we had a saying for manager follow-up, “People do what you INspect, not what you EXpect.” Thanks for this post!

  2. The teen years are just that…….the teen years. Probably no matter the year from 0 — 2012 there has been a problem and a dilemma for parents to struggle with. Some are successful and some are not. With the internet at least we can read ideas about how to solve some of them.

    OH…not me. My teens are long gone too. YEAH!!! lol

  3. OOOh. I would’ve hated this as a teen, but that’s because I broke the rules. So..I’m wondering if a parent can install the app,what’s to keep the kid from uninstalling it? I read the site, but didn’t find much info. If it saves one life it’s worth it.

    • You are right. The child can uninstall it or simply turn off their phone. BUT …. I’m guessing the “rules” in the family would be to let it run, and considering that the parent is probably paying for the phone, AND the car, I imagine the threat of revoking either just might keep the app running. 🙂

  4. Maybe it’s because I’m an old fogey and usually not up late, but… I’ve never seen teens texting and driving – I’ve seen lots of adults using mobiles whilst driving. Why can’t the vehicle manufacturers build something into the lining of the car roof that blocks mobile signals, or a motion sensor in a mobile that detects travelling and disables use of the phone?
    OBTW – interesting article!! Very thought provoking!

    • Thank you. When I heard about the app, it made me think, too, which is why I thought I’d write a post about it. Interesting idea you have about blocking signals, but I’m guessing that wouldn’t work because of radios and navigation devices. Maybe the signals are all too similar? I have NO idea. And…. you are SO right about adults! I have witnessed dozens of close calls by distracted drivers with a cell phone glued to their ear. I know I can’t do both. If I get a call that I have to take, I pull over as soon as I can. Thanks for reading and commenting…. and thinking! 🙂

      • Yes – I agree!! Sat navs would probably be blocked, maybe the phone companies should start shouldering a bit of the responsibility too. Maybe the app you mention should just be on all mobiles and should patch through to the police! That might deter some!! 🙂
        Thank you!
        Very interesting blog!!

  5. Would probably be popular with the parents and very, very unpopular with the teens. Here in South Africa, the rules for cell phones and driving are extremely strict. In fact, you will get fined simply for having the phone in your hand whilst driving, let alone holding it to your ear, talking, or texting – may word, how can you possibly concentrate on driving doing that? Not saying that no-one does it but if the cops are around, you’ll definitely be pulled over.

    • Most states here in the US are passing laws about cell phone use, but it is rarely enforced. Lots of bumper stickers, billboards and public service announcements warning people to put the phones down, but it is a huge problem, here. 🙂

  6. Great post. I’ve seen too much bad driving lately thanks to texting. I’m noticing it more and more. I’ve also notice the influx of PSA’s on TV discouraging this behavior.

  7. I don’t have any children to worry about in this regard. Maybe something for me to get for my delinquent mother? 🙂 Seriously, I can’t tell you how angry it makes me when I see people texting and driving. The other night I told a guy off (if waving my finger at him passes as a telling off) because he was all over the road. When I passed him in his big fancy car, he was busy on his smart phone up on the steering wheel.

  8. I was surprised at the big drive to create awareness about this when I was in the States. I think it is very good as too many people create accidents or worse are the cause of other people dying. A friend told me that car companies are apparently looking into technology where a phone will be disabled for a driver so the driver seat will have some gadget that will interfere with signal so that you cannot call/text while driving. I watched an episode of Myth Busters a few years ago where they showed that driving while busy with your phone is more dangerous than drunk driving which is very scary.

    • When I was writing this blog post I read a lot of statistics, and you are so right, it is a HUGE problem. Everyone knows of cases or has witnessed or been involved in situations where a distracted driver was the cause. I’ve seen cars sail through red lights, stop signs …. all while the driver was using a phone. Disabling the ability of the driver to use a device sounds interesting … I wonder if they could do that without disrupting navigation tools, etc.

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