We recently asked TrueMotion Family parents what their top concerns are for their teens. Their number one concern – by a long shot – was texting and driving. Phone addiction for teens is a problem outside of the car. Teens 13-18 use their phone 9 hours per day. 59% are so addicted they can’t give up their phone.
But how are they dealing with this issue – especially now, with kids back at school and college? To find out, we asked TrueMotion Family parents why they downloaded the TrueMotion Family app, how they convinced their teen to use it, what the consequences are for driving distracted, and what advice they have for other parents with teen drivers. Here are our findings and what parents say in their own words.
Why did you start using TrueMotion Family?
We asked parents why they wanted to use TrueMotion Family. Most parents said they wanted to track their teen’s location and their driving behaviors.
“My teen son got his driver’s license and I wanted to track his driving habits. We also made him sign a contract.” — TrueMotion Family parent
Some parents adopted the app in response to a speeding ticket.
“Our teen was driving 20+ miles over the speed limit several times while we were in the car. We installed TrueMotion Family with a promise of consequences if he continued. He asked that we install it for ourselves as well, and that has been a great discussion point for all of us.” — TrueMotion Family parent
Others downloaded the app to improve driving safety for the whole family.
“We downloaded TrueMotion Family to hold our family accountable. My teen had no idea she had gotten into the habit of using her phone when it was not safe.” — TrueMotion Family parent
“We downloaded TrueMotion Family to help all of us be better drivers and more aware, and especially for our teenage son.” — TrueMotion Family parent
How did you convince your teenager(s) to download a safe driving app?
Getting your teenager to download any app can be a chore. So we asked how parents convinced their teens to download an app that reports on their location and driving behaviors. Many parents said there was no discussion – they simply forced their teen to use the app. No app, no driving.
“Download it or don’t drive. Simple as that. There was no discussion. His safety comes before his privacy.” — TrueMotion Family parent
“Using TrueMotion Family was non-negotiable. Either it’s on when he drives or he is off driving.” — TrueMotion Family parent
“What’s wrong with parenting these days? No convincing needed. It is a stipulation of his being able to drive. Driving is a privilege… not a right!” — TrueMotion Family parent
The reasoning behind choosing to force the app on their teen varied, from “I pay for your phone and car” to a straight up “dictatorship.”
“As long as I pay for the phones and cars, the app needs to run.” — TrueMotion Family parent
“There was no discussion – full dictatorship.” — TrueMotion Family parent
Other parents used a softer approach. They explained the dangers of texting and driving to encourage their teen to use the app.
“We discussed how easy it is to text “just once,” which leads to a habit. We started using the app to get an accurate picture of our habits. If it wasn’t corrected, the keys would be pulled.” — TrueMotion Family parent
One parent framed it as a challenge to be the safest driver.
“I told her it was a contest to see who could get the better score. She likes the concept and also the proof that she’s a good driver.”
What do you do when you discover your teen has been texting and driving?
Teens will inevitably slip up and text and drive. What do parents do when that happens? Most TrueMotion parents take away their teen’s car, phone, or both. The time ranges vary, from one day to two weeks. Other parents get more creative with the penalties.
“I make them Lyft on their own buck for a few days.” — TrueMotion parent
“They have to use the prepaid flip phone I have for them.” — TrueMotion parent
“I make them watch videos of distracted driving crashes.” — TrueMotion parent
“I made my son write a research paper on the dangers of texting and driving.” — TrueMotion parent
“I make them pay for their own insurance.” — TrueMotion parent
What advice would you give to parents with teen drivers?
Tackling the problem of distracted driving is hard for everyone. But for parents who are confronting it with teen drivers today the challenge is particularly scary. TrueMotion Family parents have been actively thinking about how to reduce distracted driving with their teens. What advice would they give to other parents? It varies. Many recommend using an app like TrueMotion Family to monitor their driving behaviors. In fact, 88% of TrueMotion Family parents think more parents with teen drivers should use an app like TrueMotion Family.
“Get a tracking app of some kind. For their safety and your peace of mind!! Ask them about where they’ve gone, but don’t hound them. Share your driving scores with them. Try to see who is a better driver.” — TrueMotion Family parent
Others say you need to have frequent discussions with your teen about the dangers of distracted driving.
“Keep talking about the risks involved. Tell them stories of how kids’ lives are changed because they make a bad choice – not paying attention while driving.” — TrueMotion Family parent
Some TrueMotion Family parents say it’s simply a matter of rules and consequences.
“Be tough and consistent. Driving’s a privilege and not a right. A car is a deadly weapon and driving needs to be taken seriously.” — TrueMotion Family parent
“The teen and parents discuss and agree to driving habits with consequences and then stick to the plan even if it’s the parent who is at fault.” — TrueMotion Family parent
“Have rules and hold them accountable for not following rules.” — TrueMotion Family parent
Some parents say you need constant vigilance.
“Be all up in their business.” — TrueMotion Family parent
What do you think? Which comments resonate with you? Let us know on chat.