This article comes from a driver that has been online with Uber and Lyft since 2016, and meets the “qualifications” to drive teenagers on Uber. Both a driver and a customer at times, he feels this is not going to end well.
The introduction of teen accounts on Uber has been met with mixed reactions. While the service promises convenience and safety, there are some potential issues and risks associated with it.
- Safety Concerns: While Uber’s platform does vet its drivers via background checks, it’s important to remember that drivers are not trained childcare professionals. The fact that these drivers are essentially strangers poses a potential risk. Moreover, the effectiveness of background checks isn’t guaranteed; there have been instances where drivers with concerning histories have slipped through the system.
- Risks of Misuse: The ability for teens to order rides at their discretion opens up the possibility for misuse. This could include skipping school, visiting prohibited locations, or even facilitating risky behavior. While parents can track the journey, they may not always be able to intervene in real time.
- Privacy Issues: With live tracking features, there is a risk of infringing on the teen’s privacy. This might also contribute to a sense of mistrust between parents and teenagers, creating potential for conflict.
- Lack of Emergency Support: The small print in the policy states that in the event a guardian needs to make a 911 call, the dispatcher will see the parent’s location, not the teen’s. This could potentially delay response times in an emergency situation.
- Financial Control: The parent’s payment information is attached to the teen’s account, so there is potential for misuse or disputes over what constitutes necessary travel.
- Implication on Independent Mobility Skills: Relying on ride-sharing services could potentially undermine a teen’s development of independent mobility skills, such as navigating public transportation, walking, cycling, or even driving, in the future.
It’s important for parents to consider these factors when deciding whether to create an Uber account for their teen. Each family’s context and needs are unique, and what works for one may not be ideal for another.