Jamie Oliver has admitted to using an app which allows him to track his daughters’ whereabouts at all times.
Speaking to Woman magazine, the British Chef said he uses a smartphone app called Life360 to monitor the location of 16-year-old Poppy and 15-year-old Daisy.
“The older girls, Jools and I are all on an app called Life360, which means we can see exactly where everybody is and the route they’ve gone,” he said.
“So if one of the girls says, ‘I’m going to Camden Town’ and I can see they’ve gone to Reading, then we have a problem.
“They can check on me, too, and see how fast I’m driving. It’s brilliant.”
According to its website, the smartphone app is designed to “keep families and close friends connected” and allows users to set alerts for whenever someone leaves or arrives at their home.
The 43-year-old decided to instal the app after a burglary attempt at his north London home earlier this month, after which the celebrity chef allegedly chased the intruder down the street and pinned him down while waiting for police to arrive.
While tracking apps might be controversial, parenting expert Elizabeth O’Shea claims they’re fairly common among parents today.
However, they could pose problems down the line, she tells The Independent.
“When a parent tracks their child, the child feels monitored, spied-on and controlled.
“The child knows that parents are watching them, and doesn’t feel it’s okay to make mistakes.”
In order for a child to be street-wise and self-reliant, it’s crucial to establish trust between them and the parent, she adds, something which tracking apps undermine.
“Can you imagine how you would feel if your boyfriend put a tracker on your phone? Well, that’s how it feels to a teenager: intrusive and unwanted,” she adds.
Plus, if a parent uses a tracking app to catch their child out in a lie, it understandably may make the child resentful towards them.
If parents are concerned about their child’s whereabouts, the most important thing is to have an honest conversation with them. They should voice their concerns and be empathetic to their child’s response, O’Shea suggests.
“Ultimately, parents who have the best relationships with their teenage children are the ones who make time to listen to their teenagers without being judgemental or critical.
“They offer support and help them work out the solutions to their own problems, so the teenager feels able to go to them for advice.”
Obviously, when a child comes from a famous family like the Olivers, concerns regarding safety are amplified, she adds, which may warrant taking extra precautions.