Should Parents Track Their Teens?

Mother and daughter, Denise and Romi Barta, are close.

"She's a good kid," says Denise.

But when it comes to the brand new Sprint "Family Locator" cell phones that allow parents to keep track of their children's every move, there's a generation gap, reports CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker.

"I think that's a violation of my privacy, personally," says Romi.

"If there was an emergency, if there was an earthquake, I would know where she was. I think that would make me feel better," retorts Denise.

CBS News asked Denise and Romi to try the phones. Romi went out with friends while Denise followed their trail from home. When mom wants to check on daughter's whereabouts, she hits family locator on the phone. Her daughter's phone with a built in GPS chip sends a signal to a satellite and back to mom, who can see her daughter's exact location on a map from her phone or even her computer.

It's not exactly spying. The phone lets Romi know every time her mother checks in.

Sprint says it gives parents peace of mind.

The company states: "To locate a child just to know when they're at soccer practice. And it is not in any way a surveillance program."

You might be surprised to know that every new cell phone is equipped with some kind of tracking device, so 911 operators can locate you. Still, privacy experts and children wonder if parent tracking isn't going too far.

"People are excited to get a new cell phone, but if this is like 'Happy Chanukah or Merry Christmas, we're going to track you,' I don't think that's very exciting," says Romi.

"If she really thought it was an invasion of her privacy, then I think I would respect that," says Denise.

So buyer beware that technology intended to keep your families together doesn't pull it apart.
  • William Vitka

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