When I was a kid Four square was a game we played with a ball and four squares. Now Foursquare is a way for people to let their friends — and weirdos—know exactly where they are at any point in the day.
They “check in” via their cell phones and leave details about what they are doing there. In theory it’s supposed to be sort of a guide to a location. For example, you could check in at Sally’s Ice Cream shop and tell the world that the Mocha Pecan ice cream is to die for. Then others in the area might check out Sally’s ice cream as well.
Here is a video teaching you how Foursquare works.
While I can see the attraction of location-based technology for consenting adults, the mother in me is TOTALLY creeped out by the idea of teenage and college-age girls broadcasting their locations!!
Foursquare isn’t the only location-based service. Twitter offers TwitterWhere and apparently Facebook Mobile also lets you identify where you are posting from. At least on Facebook only your ‘friends’ are seeing where you are. With Twitter and Foursquare your location and quite often your itty-bitty cute photo are out there for the whole world to see.
An AP story yesterday talked about how much teen phone use has increased (75 percent of teens have them now compared to 45 percent in 2004) and also how their parents use them. It said that 48 percent of parents use the phones to track their kids whereabouts, some with the internal GPS and some by calling them.
Verizon has an ad where the mom is sending her daughter off into the mall with her friends but she can now track her through her phone like a dog with a microchip in it. I always wonder what she will do when she tracks her straight out of the mall and finds her cell phone dumped in a garbage can and her tween daughter missing.
So what do you think? How do you feel about location-based social media that your teens are probably using to reveal their locations to the world? Am I paranoid? Does it worry you? Do you think it increases their chances of getting hurt while they’re out and about?
Do you use your tween or teen’s GPS function to track them when they are out? How secure does it make you feel? (I guess it’s better than nothing??)
Would you as an adult like to use a location-based technology? Does it seem fun, interesting, useful or annoying?