The 43-year-old chef said that he uses the app Life360, dubbed the “new family circle”, which is a family locator and messaging tool in one. This means his kids can also track him.
Oliver, who is dad to Poppy, 16, Daisy, 15, Petal, nine, Buddy, seven, and River, two, with his wife Jools told Woman magazine: “We use an app to keep track of our kids’ whereabouts. The older girls, Jools and I are all on an app called Life360, which means we can see exactly where everybody is and the route they’ve gone.”
Oliver went on to explain: “If one of the girls says, ‘I’m going to Camden Town’ and I can see they’ve gone to Reading, then we have a problem.
“They can check on me, too, and see how fast I’m driving. It’s brilliant.”
On the Life360 website, it states: “With hectic schedules and long to-do lists, managing the day to day for your family can feel like a full time job. Whether you’re making dinner plans, coordinating carpools, or just ensuring everyone arrived home safe, it gives you simplified communication and peace of mind.”
The site includes testimonials from parents, explaining why these apps have been beneficial from them and their families. One dad, named Curt, explained how he lives in a rural area and his daughter got lost coming home.
“Her phone’s navigation didn’t detect a bridge being out due to a storm, and she didn’t have a strong enough phone connection to re-calculate her way home,” he wrote. “It was late and dark, but with the help of the app, I drove right to her and led her home.”
“You are stepping into big brother territory if used to track the child."”
Tracking kids has been a subject of debate on many Mumsnet threads. “We all have Life360 on our android phones, it gives great peace of mind as I can track my daughter anywhere,” one mum has previously written.
Other disagree, with one parent writing: “They can make the child feel untrusted if used to track the child and not the phone. You are stepping into big brother territory if used to track the child and can cause a parent to become obsessed with checking it.”
Commenting on Jamie Oliver using the app, Cathy Ranson, editor at ChannelMum.com said the key here is consent. “If the kids know you’ve installed the app and are happy with it, then that’s mutual family decision which works for everyone,” she told HuffPost UK.
The fact that kids can also track their parents is key, she adds. “Younger kids love being able to look up where mum and dad are, and for older teens it shows you’re not asking them to do something which you wouldn’t do – and that fosters trust.”
Would you use a tracking app with your kids? Is it a way to keep them safe, or invading too much of their privacy? We’d love to hear your thoughts – let us know by dropping us an email on email@example.com.