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Google and Apple Know Where You Are

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Location-based tracking is becoming more and more common due to the ever changing technological advances in the world today. Gone are the days where no one knew your location unless they were physically with you. Today, location-based tracking seems like the new trend in society with companies such as Foursquare and EchoEcho. Some wonder what makes a person use services like this to share with the world. That question may never be answered, but what is known is that some individuals use it to share their favorite restaurant, bar, and hangout locations while others use it to pinpoint the location of their children.

Cellular phones have evolved from the bulky and large devices to a slimmer and sleek design. They are no longer used for just talking but now can be used just like a mini computer or smartphone as most are now called. Smartphones are based on operating systems that allow them to run various applications. They are equipped with many different features such as cameras, GPS, and messaging. Some may wonder why a cellular phone needs GPS. With the creation of Google Maps, you can use your cellular phone just like a paper map and route your travel or get directions when lost. Location-based tracking services are growing faster and faster and many individuals are intrigued with the use of it and they are more advanced with the invention of more improved smartphones and digital devices. The question then becomes, how much do you use location-based tracking on your smartphone? The typical iPhone 4 user has three to five location-based service apps and may use three of them frequently.

The most common location-based apps are Facebook, Groupon, Maps, and Weather. Most consumers use Facebook the most and are constantly updating their Facebook status, playing games, marketing businesses, or chatting with friends. The location-based services does not have to always be activated when in use, and individuals should practice not turning the service on. Maps come in handy when consumers are trying to get driving directions to a specific location or finding the quickest route for travel. Groupon is also available for use when looking for discounts and coupons to hotels, restaurants, and department stores. How many individuals can honestly say that they have ever fully read the privacy policy of any technological tool? Not everyone does but should so that they are aware of what information is being collected and how that information is being stored. Most privacy policies are long and tedious and consumers usually just click the tab that says “I agree” so that they can continue on with their activities.

According to Google’s privacy policy, an individual has to give their consent before Google will use information for anything other than what is stated in their privacy policy. It also states that they have the right to share your information with outside companies or organizations, if they feel the information is necessary because of any legal implications or to protect their rights and safety (Google Privacy Policy). GM’s OnStar is equipped in over thirty different models and is highly respected by its users (Onstar). GM vehicle owners are very comfortable with OnStar and its ability to pinpoint their exact location in case of an accident, by providing emergency officials their exact location to ensure a quick and accurate response time. OnStar can give them brief information about their vehicle and its performance, driving directions if they are lost, and even place phone calls through their vehicle (Onstar). What’s not to love about all that OnStar provides? GPS systems have become the norm and they are heavily relied upon for most drivers.

Between OnStar, GPS, and Google Maps, the need for paper maps has disappeared and not many individuals will admit to purchasing one in this day and age anyway. Helicopter parents are parents who over parent and hover over their children. In an article by Rachael Rettner, helicopter parents are causing their children more harm than good by over parenting. The report claims helicopter parenting makes kids more anxious, self-conscious, and vulnerable (Rettner). It also shows they are less likely to embrace change and fear the unknown (Rettner). There is no crime against this type of parenting and all parents have the right to parent in their own way.

These parents have to be aware that they may hinder the child’s success if they are not giving them enough room to grow and learn from their mistakes. With that being said, there are ways to assist parents in monitoring their children without overcrowding them or keeping them in their eyesight. Location-based tracking apps do provide parents with a sense of relief by allowing them to know where there children are at all times. More and more each day you are seeing children under the age of 18 being abducted and location-based tracking can help with that. Parents are held responsible for knowing the whereabouts of their underage children and that is one way to assist them when they are away from home. It also can give the child a sense of assurance or awareness and know that they should be mindful of their surroundings at all times.

Bibliography

Google Privacy Policy. (n.d.). Retrieved September 30, 2012, from Google: http://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/privacy/ Onstar. (n.d.). Retrieved September 30, 2012, from Onstar: https://www.onstar.com/web/portal/ Rettner, R. (n.d.). ‘Helicopter’ parents have neurotic kids. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37493795/ns/health-childrens_health/t/helicopter-parents-have-neurotic-kids

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