The Great Tech Debate: Would You Share Your Location?

The Great Tech Debate: Would You Share Your Location?

Imagine telling a Victorian-era child that in 2024 we will all have little metal devices that will tell people where we are, like some sort of black magic!

Sharing your location has become a normal topic of conversation. Some love sharing where they are and have their mates looking like Pokemon on a map, and others refuse to give even more data to the technology giants.

Sharing your location has been around for some time; Apple’s Find My Friends app was launched back in 2011. But for some millennials, like myself, sharing your location was introduced in cute Bitmoji form through Snapchat’s Snap Map also launched in 2011. Snap Map also was a great way to see if your friend was at their crush’s house.

For our inaugural monthly column, The Great Tech Debate, we’ve asked young Aussies: Do you share your location with your friends/family?

The responses were mixed. Some are obsessed with sharing their location, others do it because they’ve forgotten they shared their location, and others like to keep their whereabouts on the DL. 

See what people told Gizmodo Australia about sharing their location. 

Those for sharing their location

Allie, 24

I am a slut for find my friends. It is one of my most used social media platforms (yes, I view it as social media). I love tracking a chronically late friend before we meet up to see what their actual ETA will be, so I am not waiting for them for ages. I also love the security that comes from knowing people are looking out for me.

Jasmin, 27

I share my location with select close friends and my sister on Find My Friends. I didn’t for years. I thought it was weird for people to know where I was at all times but now it’s so handy. I pretty much only check it to see if my friends are close by when we’re meeting up. I can definitely see pros and cons to it, though, and admit it could be a dangerous tool when in the wrong hands. 

Charlotte, 26

I have about seven people on Find My Friends. Some of these were shared randomly at one point to find each other at events and never turned off, and then I use it with my partner and best friend to occasionally check where they are before calling them/asking how far off they are when meeting up.

Those against sharing their location

Ali, 25

I don’t like people being up in my business. 

Ben, 25

The security of it hasn’t been something I’ve ever really needed. It’s definitely a privilege to just get to say “Hey, I’m going out for this 10pm walk, be back soon” and not need to rely on sharing my location as a just in case. 

David, 39

My mother knows where I am — the same place I’ve always been. At home playing video games.

Jane, 25

I have had some instances of people seeing where I am and making some shady-ass comments, like if all our friends were out and one person wasn’t invited, it created drama. 

And some use it for specific instances

Fel, 30

Not continuously, but with friends and family, we typically share our live location before meeting up for things like dinner so we know a more accurate ETA. Also handy when your group scatters in a food market. Once-off location sharing is done frequently in family WhatsApp chat, but usually to find our parking spots (for big places like Centennial Park).

Pia, 23

Only temporarily when trying to time picking someone up, or finding each other when meeting up. I have some friends on Find My Friends permanently from when we were on schoolies for safety reasons, but otherwise, I don’t have my location permanently on with anyone else.

Mateus, 28

The only ‘share my location’ feature I use is the one built into FB messenger, and I probably only use that once a month if we’re meeting up somewhere new and someone gets lost. It’s super convenient to be able to say ‘turn this on and I’ll come find you’, and it’s generally unobtrusive (only lasts an hour, is user-activated), but I’ve never found any other occasion where this is needed and imo smart phones have already opened up the scourge of being ‘always contactable’ and I think a little bit of space is normal and healthy.

Do you share your location with your mates or do you want to keep up the allure of being aloof? Tweet us @gizmodoau

Note: Responses have been edited and condensed for clarity.

Image: Apple

Every month, Gizmodo Australia will dive into the minds and habits of young Aussies to see how they use technology and the way it shapes the world around them through our column The Great Tech Debate.

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