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Find My iPhone: Less About Helicopter, More About Heart

As the kids reach the late-teen to early-adult years, the parent-child relationship goes through a renegotiation phase. While the parenting instinct to protect stays strong, the child spreads her wings even wider. She does not want to be confined by house rules she no longer adheres to at college, including cell-phone privacy. As a dad I still cling to my controls, but for different reasons that she thinks.

It all started when Number 2 was in middle school – just a few years ago – and she got her first iPhone for her birthday. Cell phone in hand, she went out with friends on Halloween and thought she got tricked on her way to get treats. About an hour after she left, a neighborhood friend called to inform me that Number 2 was really upset because she thought she lost her new phone.

Before the steam started to pour from my furrowed brow, I remembered I had installed the “Find My iPhone” app on all the phones, including hers. I went to the neighbor, gathered up the sobbing teen, and after calming her down, showed her the app. Much to our surprise, the app lead us right to where the phone had fallen out of her pocket and into the grass. There was no sign of any damage! Crisis averted.

Luckily, I haven’t had to rely on the app too often. A few times it has come in handy when a child was late or forgot to tell me they had to run an errand across town. On a few other occasions, when my wife misplaced her phone in the house, I activated the “make a sound” feature to quickly locate it under some clothes or papers. For the most part, however, “Find My iPhone” is a great app you hope you never need. That was my outlook until recently.

You see Number 2 lately has become a worldly traveler with The Young Americans. She has a great opportunity to travel the world teaching and perform with and for kids who may never be exposed to the arts. Her last four-month tour took her to Germany and Japan and now she is back in Japan for four months with a short stay in Hong Kong China to kick off the tour.

I find myself living vicariously through her amazing adventures. This is where “Find My iPhone” comes in real handy! Any time of day or night, I can open that app, click on her phone and see where she is in the world today. This little app connects me to my daughter in a way I never thought possible. How could such a small electronic device take me right there with her? I don’t know but for me it does.

Fortunately, Number 2 does not mind that I like to know where she is. Number 1, on the other hand, allowed us to keep tracking her in the first few years of college, and then she got her own Apple ID and decided cut my ability to find her, even if my intent was good. After all, it was nice to be able to see that my daughter was safe and sound at night or enjoying a football game on a Saturday.

She has since turned that feature off to me. I guess we all need our freedom from our parents at some point in time. Today, she thinks I am spying in her, and maybe I am, but not because I want to control her every move, I just liked knowing, and somehow it gave me peace of mind, a connection, a bond that surpassed the miles between us and made me feel a whole lot closer.

Perhaps Number 1 will read this blog and realize it isn’t about me tracking her and more about me being close to her. I am hanging on and I still want to be connected, even remotely, as I encourage each child to spread her wings.

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