• When my son went off to college, my husband and I couldn't agree if we should track his phone. 
  • I thought we should, but my husband said we shouldn't; we couldn't stop fighting about.
  • My son told me I could track him, so I did, but I realized I didn't need to. 

When my oldest son, Sam, joined his high school baseball team, I began tracking his location through Find My Friends on my iPhone. Seeing if was on his way back from an away game helped me know when to pick him up and if I should start or delay dinner. He appreciated it.

After he began driving, I liked having the option to locate him if he hadn't arrived home by our agreed-upon time. Watching that little dot on my phone approaching our house gave me peace of mind. Plus, it saved me a call or text.

Then the pandemic hit, and there was no need to track anyone. We were all together all the time.

As Sam prepared to leave for college in August of 2021, once again, I wanted to keep an eye on his location. He would be an eight-hour drive away, on his own for the first time, and the thought of knowing where he was—especially if I hadn't heard from him in a few days or in case of an emergency—brought me comfort.

But this time, my husband, Rich, balked, arguing that it invaded our son's privacy and defeated the purpose of going away to school and gaining independence.

The disagreement caused a fight between my husband and me

I should note that when I was in college in the early 1990s, my parents checked in twice a week, calling a payphone in my dorm's stairwell. My husband spoke to his family once a month. Given the difference in our upbringings, it's surprising that in our 19 years of parenting together, we'd never disagreed as vehemently until that moment.

"Imagine if your parents had tracked you?" my husband asked.

"Oh, believe me, they would have if they'd had the technology," I'd said, recalling how, years ago, my dad had asked if I wanted to share my location with him after he learned about tracking.

For nearly a week, Rich and I barely spoke to each other, as we couldn't come to an agreement, each failing to see the other's perspective. It escalated to the point that we canceled dinner with friends to avoid subjecting them to tense silence or forcing them to referee our ongoing battle.

I sought outside perspectives

I began polling friends and neighbors to ask if they were tracking their kids. Whether they had middle schoolers or college students, the overwhelming majority said yes. One mom of almost 20-year-old twins told me that if her sons turned off the tracking, she'd cancel their phone plans. Many cited safety concerns and the convenience of knowing where their children were if they failed to answer a call or respond to a text.

These parents aren't alone. According to Life360, more than one in nine families in the US use the location-sharing app. With more than 50 million active users, downloads of Life360 in the US have doubled since 2021 and tripled internationally.

Even armed with that data, I couldn't convince my husband.

I finally asked my son what he'd prefer

I realized I should've asked Sam how he felt about it first. I told Rich that if Sam didn't have a problem with it, neither should he. He agreed, and that became our compromise.

Sam said he was OK with sharing his location, and I felt relieved. I most often checked it early in the morning to see if he was making his way to his 8:30 a.m. classes, and he was.

After a few months, I found that I rarely looked at it. Then something happened — either one of us installed a software update or got a new phone — and the tracking stopped working. I didn't give it much thought. He'd gotten off to a smooth start in school, and that was all I wanted.

When he returned home for the summer, I didn't feel the need to monitor him again. Then, one Friday night, he didn't come home, and we had no idea where he was. I panicked.

When he called several nerve-racking hours later, he said his phone had died before he could text us. Even though he's technically an adult, as a parent in today's world, where we're bombarded with continuous horrific news, it's difficult not to imagine the worst.

After that, we returned to location sharing — with my husband fully on board.

I can absolutely see both sides of this. It's not something I check regularly, and if my son asked me to stop, I would.

Read the original article on Business Insider