Readers: It seems like in ancient times — that is, pre-iPhone — nervous parents just had to suck it up. Now, they create apps. The latest is an, “I’m on board the school bus!” alert, the brainchild of Manhattan mom who, according to this article, went into a “panic” when her 10-year-old son’s school bus was half an hour late one day in the second week of school.
Now, I understand that not knowing your kid’s whereabouts can be a miserable moment in parenting. But if you’ve been around the block (or your kid has!), you know that at the beginning of the school year the bus drivers haven’t gotten the hang of the route yet. Some of them take the long way home. It’s annoying, but does that mean the kids on the bus are in danger? Or that this new app does anything more than give the worried parent a new GPS’d dot on a map to obsess about on a daily basis?
My worry is that this app will go from novelty to must-have in a matter of years, and once again we will have a new layer of parental supervision that will start to FEEL necessary, though in reality, it isn’t. It’s just a new twist on the current cultural notion that if a parent somehow has his or her eyes on a kid, that kid is magically protected from everything bad. And if the parents’ eyes are NOT on the kid at all times, well, that indicates a bad parent. I still believe you can be a perfectly good parent and not track your kid like a shipment of plutonium (that happens to ride the school bus). — L.