Gen Alpha Parents Use Location-Sharing To Balance Safety with Independence

The Vast Majority of the Digitally Native Generation is Growing Up with the Locator Technology, Helping Parents Curb Anxiety

Two children with backpacks skipping on a suburban sidewalk.

Gen Alpha, the youngest digitally native generation that has been immersed in the digital world as long as they can remember, is now reaching the cell phone age and incorporating new technology into their everyday lives. As this generation grows up, their parents – more prone to anxiety as they confront an increasingly uncertain world – are integrating digital tools like Life360 to balance safety and independence with their kids. These tools have given rise to “periscope parents,” or parents who are choosing to forgo physical proximity for more indirect digital supervision, allowing them to have a safety net while maintaining healthy boundaries. While Gen Z came to embrace location-sharing as teens, Gen Alpha is being raised on it.

A person riding a bike with a stat stating that 58% of Gen Alpha parents are more anxious than theirs were.

We conducted a survey with 1,000 parents of Gen Alpha

in the US and found the driving factor for using location-sharing was to maintain safety and curb parent anxiety.

In fact, 58% of Gen Alpha parents describe themselves as having more anxiety than their own parents did when they were kids, which is, in turn, affecting how they’re allowing their children to navigate today’s world unsupervised

While 69% of respondents said their parents left them home alone or let them travel without supervision at least occasionally, Gen Alpha parents are less likely to allow their children to do unsupervised life activities before their teenage years, showing an overall increase in anxiety among today’s parents. However, apps like Life360 are helping balance concerns with independence and are being used regularly between Gen Alpha and their parents.

Location-Sharing Apps Are Becoming Pervasive as Gen Alpha Grows Up with this Technology

Survey results showed that among parents whose children have cell phones, 91% confirmed they actively use location-sharing, and 62% said they always do.

Plus, a staggering 88% plan to adopt it once their children have phones. And it seems like families with Gen Alpha kids won’t stop using these apps for a while. Most parents (79%) say the cutoff age at which they’ll no longer require location-sharing is 18 or older. However, 22% say they do not foresee their families halting at all in the near future. As they grow older, Gen Alpha will likely continue sharing their location with friends and partners, similar to Gen Z.

A boy sitting on the ground by a car with a stat stating that 91% of Gen Alpha Parents use location sharing apps.

“As younger generations get their first cell phones, we’re seeing location-sharing technology establish a new norm of connectivity, making Life360 a rite of passage for Gen Alpha and their families. Our app provides a sense of security while fostering trust and peace of mind with parents, and allows our youngest generation to explore the world with confidence.”

A boy and girl sitting on a curb laughing next to a stat stating 83% of parents feel more comfortable with location sharing apps, allowing more freedom.

Location-Sharing Facilitates Early Independence & Trust Between Gen Alpha and Their Parents.

Location-sharing apps like Life360 are helping parents feel more comfortable allowing their kids to become more independent. The availability of location sharing makes parents significantly more likely to allow children to do major activities like being home without adult supervision (83%) and traveling to school without supervision (84%).

1 in 5 parents whose children have cell phones say location sharing was the very first app downloaded on their child’s cell phone. Apps like Life360 are the most commonly reported method of location sharing, reported by 70% of parents whose children have cell phones, and anticipated to be used by 62% of parents whose children do not yet have a phone. As anxiety in parents is curbed by location-sharing, children have the opportunity to practice independence, which experts say is crucial to their development.

“Now that the oldest of Gen Alpha are tweens, they need to have opportunities to practice unsupervised independence,” said Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D. and author of the book iGen. “Doing things on their own, like making their way to school or a friend’s house, is key to learning the life skills they need for adolescence and adulthood. Today, when kids are tempted to stay at home on their devices, it’s more important than ever to give them the freedom to be outside and to see their friends in person. Studies have shown that children who engage in independent activities are higher in well-being and more likely to feel in control of their lives. Even though we live in an uncertain world, it’s important for parents to give their children the freedom of independence, and apps like Life360 are a very useful tool to help bridge that gap while still offering parents peace of mind.”

Safety Benefits of Location-Sharing Outweigh Other Concerns for Most Gen Alpha Parents

In a world of ever-present war, school shootings, and general instability, it’s no surprise that safety is the driving motivator for Gen Alpha cell phone use, specifically location-sharing. Location-sharing offers Gen Alpha parents peace of mind, especially if emergencies arise, and allows for more connection, even when they’re away from their children.

A boy wearing headphones at his desk next to a stat stating 1 in 5 parents of kids with phones downloaded location sharing first.

While parents worry about phone usage at school, 75% say they would still like their children to have a phone at school in case of emergency, and 94% express support for their children using a product or phone app that, utilizes location sharing for enhanced safety during travel, including features such as real-time location updates, lost item assistance, crash detection, roadside assistance, and medical assistance. Plus, “always having a phone available” is the #1 most common safety measure parents use to ensure children’s safety when home alone, reported by 59%.

As the vast majority of Gen Alpha grows up with location-sharing, it’s clear that Life360 is an indispensable tool providing safety, connectivity, and peace of mind for kids and their parents. With modern families integrating digital tools into their everyday lives, survey data shows that apps like Life360 are curbing anxiety for Gen Alpha parents and will continue to see enormous growth in years to come.  

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