Ride-Sharing: Ride-sharing apps and services have changed the game of teenage freedoms. It can sometimes take precision-like logistics to get all family members to the appropriate place, at the appropriate time. In fact, ride-sharing apps are wonderful for trips to the airport, when a car breaks down, or to navigate times when your kids are double-booked yet no parents are available to get them to their required destinations. In other words, ride-sharing apps have viability within many benign circumstances. Ride-sharing, however, has done an excellent job subtly eroding the long tradition of young teens getting to-and-from social gatherings via their parents, and older teens responsibly driving themselves to and from social events. So, let’s take a few minutes to review the pros and cons of ride sharing.
- Makes a busy life more manageable
- Great for family logistics and multi-child problem-solving
- Provides supervisory data like real-time geo-fencing and location, pick up/drop off points/times, cost etc.
- Great for busy, working parents
- Reduces conflict regarding teens attending social events based on logistical limitations of parents or siblings
- Teen’s become unavoidably mobile—which is often too tempting and ends in trouble
- Curfews get pushed, tested and omitted more frequently
- Parents may become more social, less accountable and unable to support a teen in need based on their own unavailability
- The teen is more vulnerable than if they were being transported by their parent or the parent of a friend
- The ease of use generates a habit of use, and a credit card bill to prove it
Tips regarding ride-sharing:
- Use them responsibly, as needed, but avoid nighttime transport. A 3:00 pm ride dropping a teen at an appointment is very different than an 11:30 pm drop-off to a house party.
- Monitor your teen’s financial transactions for overuse or abuse. I knew a teen who had an account for 8 months prior to his parents finding out. His method was impressively strategic—frontload and follow-up trips with purchases of a comparable price...so they would seemingly blend-in on a credit card statement. And it worked! In fact, the only reason he was caught was after ordering an SUV for a trip to the mall and racking up a big charge which was immediately suspect on the credit card statement.