MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — School lets out and students hit the road. A moment of freedom for the kids — and a moment of panic for parents.

“The hardest thing I’ve ever done as a parent is give them the keys to the car and let them drive,” said Ericka Heid. “Honestly, the hardest thing.”

That’s why she’s glad she has a new iPhone app that lets her track her son’s driving, through his own phone.

“This just seems to work,” she said, “because he’s always got his phone with him anyway.”

It’s the brainchild of Nathan Ooley, president of the iPhone Group.  He has a 16-year-old driver of his own — and a bright idea.

It’s called SIPS, for Safety and Information Protection System.

If the child has a smart phone, and they’re paying a data plan, he says, “for $10, the parent can have piece of mind.”

Here’s how it works. The parent downloads an app for free and a different app on the kid’s phone for $9.99. Then it’s time to set up boundaries for how far and fast the kid can drive. And if the kid breaks them, the parent’s phone is notified.

“What happens is once they go outside the boundary or are speeding, the parent keeps getting alerts,” he said. “So it’s not just one alert, it’s multiple alerts until the child has come back into the area.”

Unlike other trackers, there’s nothing attached to the car. This app tracks the phone instead, and parents get instant notifications, instead of checking a website.

“What difference does it make if they did it an hour ago?” he said. “As a parent, I want to know if my child is speeding right now. I can actually see that, give her a call, and ask her what is the reason?”

And what about kids who complain about being tracked by big brother? Or in this case, big mother and father?

“If I give her the car keys and I give her a $500 device,” he said, “why wouldn’t she respect me and give me that piece of mind as a parent?”

Right now, the app only works from iPhone to iPhone or Android to Android. But they’ll introduce an upgrade in about a month that lets it work between types of smart phones.

To learn more about the apps, visit http://itrackmychild.com/

Comments (16)
  1. michellefrommadison says:

    Too intrusive and perhaps even illegal in some states.

    1. Victim Du Jour says:

      I agree, creating a prison of safety with electronic devices sounds depressing.

      1. Laura Blockey says:

        Do you know what sounds really depressing? Is the fact that driving is the #1 cause of death of teenagers. If you had to bury your child you would think that is a little more depressing. If you had the technology to allow your child to KNOW they are constantly SUPERVISED, why wouldn’t you do that???? (not to mention the thousands of innocent people (adults and children) who are buried every year that are killed by teen drivers.

  2. ssid says:

    any kid who really didnt want to be tracked would just delete the app off there phone

  3. Tom says:

    Parents, don’t do it! Trust your kids.

    1. nancy drew says:

      ? duh leave your phone somewhere so they cant track you.

    2. Laura Blockey says:

      Trust your kids? Trust your teenagers???

      Great idea!!! I bet you could have been trusted when you were a teen ager???

      You only get notified if your kid breaks YOUR RULES! so its trust, with notification.

  4. Pat says:

    Or “peace of mind.”

  5. mom says:

    What is the one thing kids have been told and is being rammed into their heads, no cell phones in the car so now we are going to have this where parents can call and tell their kid they know they are speeding insane!!!! If you can’t trust your child enough to think they are responsible and sensible to know what a responsibility it is to be driving a car then maybe you shouldn’t have given them the keys. My sister’s son was not responsible at 16 so guess what he didnt’ get his license until he could prove to her that he was responsible to handle that big of a responsibility. Driving isn’t an entitlement it is a right so if you can’t trust your child maybe instead of getting this little application you just skip the whole driving thing for a while!

  6. Debbie says:

    I think this is what a fifteen thru sixteen year old needs, it’s not about trust and being responsible it’s about experience behind the wheel. Look at the stats on how many teenagers are killed in car wrecks every year and you might change your mind. On leaving their phone how many kids leave their phone any where they don’t.

    1. No Debbie No! says:

      Debbie is depressing me. I wish there was an app for that.

    2. Laura Blockey says:

      You are right Debbie. You can trust your child, and this will ONLY notifiy you if your child does not follow your, own, personal rules. I have downloaded the app and I love that I can customize it for each child. If they choose to NOT follow my rules, then I will know (and they will know that I know) and new boundaries can be established.

  7. Victim Du Jour says:

    It would be better if auto makers had this feature installed to the car, and kept track of the parents driving habits too and emails a speeding ticket.

    They can just make it so it automatically takes the money out of your checking account.

  8. Acashia says:

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