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Is It Okay to Snoop on Your Kids?

GPS Tracking What the Experts Say

Installing a computer chip in a car or cell phone to track your child's whereabouts (or to get instant e-mail updates on the vehicle's speed) is just plain disrespectful, say the professionals. Not to mention counterproductive. "Kids react to this type of intrusion with increasing amounts of secrecy," says LeBow. "Spying is simply not a good way to create positive, open communication." Today's tech-savvy kids can probably circumvent your efforts anyway by disabling the GPS or leaving their cell phones behind.

What Parents Do

While many feel using GPS is creepy, one mother I talked to plans on installing it in her teenage son's car. "My philosophy is you have to trust but verify," she explains. "This way I won't have to worry about him; I can look online and see exactly where he is."

The Verdict

Leave computer tracking to the feds, except in dire circumstances -- the neighbors report they've seen your son drag racing, for example. "If your kids have gotten into significant trouble, explain that you'll monitor them until they've regained your trust," advises Dr. Schlozman.