This post originally appeared on The Washington Post in August, 2015.
Parents who want their kids to succeed more than anything are now being sold a high-tech solution. Class 120 is a $199-a-year smartphone app that tracks your teenager and alerts you if the kid isn’t in her scheduled class, and, according to figures provided by the company, 4,000 subscribers are enrolled for the upcoming fall semester. For the more budget-minded parent, surveillance apps including “My Mobile Watchdog” ($44.95) and “Sygic Family Locator” ($24.99) can perform similar surveillance duties from an iPhone or Android.
Attendance is a great predictor of college grades, even more so than scores on standardized admissions tests. If grades are good predictors of graduation, and if a parent is paying for college, isn’t it a great idea for parents to track whether their young adults are in class?
In short: No. This is a terrible idea.