If being a teenager weren’t hard enough already, now the years when fledglings want the most to flee the parental nest and begin to flap their wings have one more obstacle to freedom:

It’s called the “exit boundary alert.”

Yep, parental units who get their car insurance from AAA can now get a device they can install in the family runabout that will tell them where it is and when it got there, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Which is to say, teenage Johnny and Joanie may have their own set of car keys and their own money for gas, but they no longer will have the one thing money by itself can’t buy — independence of adult oversight.

What the evil geniuses at AAA have done is create a GPS device that parents can install in their vehicles that will tell parents not only where the car is at any time, but also will alert them via email or text when their offspring move outside preset boundaries. Parents can program those boundaries through a password-protected website.

Thus, the exit boundary alert: If Junior told you he was going to a dance and he ends up at the East End Beach, an accounting will be due when he comes home — or sooner, if he has his cellphone turned on.


Needless to say, this is not the world’s most popular invention with teens, who, usually being more tech-savvy than adults, normally would be expected to accept new technology easily. Not this particular version, we guess.

And that’s not the worst of it: For AAA insureds, the device is free. It costs adults nothing — zip, zilch, nada — to have it installed, so there’s no barrier whatsoever to adopting it.

The devices have been available for about a year in California, and recently were introduced to Texas and Missouri. Northern New England is next on the list.

The association has about 4,000 of the devices in cars now, and hopes to have 10,000 installed by the time New Year’s Eve rolls around this year.

Drivers age 16 to 19 are more likely to be involved in accidents than any other age group, so there are reasons to worry that go beyond just “deceptive driving” by teens who mislead parents about their destinations.

While there are privacy concerns — not about the teens, who shouldn’t be lying to mom or dad, but about the use of the data for insurance ratings and proof of law violations — AAA says it won’t do that with the information it records, and hopes to be able eventually just to pass it on to parents without retaining any of it.

And kids, there’s one more bit of bad news: Any attempt to deactivate the tracker also will send a message home. You’re stuck, and that’s a fact.

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