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Mom Irate After Ex Helps Teen Daughter Evade Tracking Software She Put On Her On Phone

Teen girl looking at cell phone.
The Good Brigade/Getty Images

It’s practically second nature for parents to worry about their children.

As a result, when their children start to become old enough to go out and do things on their own, many parents like to know where they are, and what they are doing at all times, forcing their children to check in with them every so often.

While the children no doubt find this annoying, they grudgingly accept it, knowing it comes from a place of love and concern.

For some parents, however, a check-in here and there isn’t quite adequate to put their minds at rest.

The ex-wife of Redditor Expensive_Peanut9270 always needed to know where her family was at every given moment in explicit detail, which ultimately led to their divorce.

As their daughter grew to be a teenager, the original poster (OP)’s ex-wife became equally controlling and possessive about her whereabouts at any given moment.

And when the OP tried to intervene, his ex-wife made no effort to hide her displeasure.

Wondering if he did anything wrong, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for letting my daughter have a second phone without tracking?”

The OP explained how trying to respect his daughter’s privacy ended up putting him further at odds with his ex-wife.

“I am the father of a 17-year-old girl, Anna.”

“Her mother and I got divorced because she started being very obsessive about knowing the details of everything.”

“Where I was going, who I was with, when I expected to be back.”

“I had to check in every 10 minutes or she would freak out and call the cops.”

“It got to be too much and we divorced.”

“Anna was very young when this happened and because of some prior criminal charges, I got full custody.”

“I did however allow my ex to have Anna one weekend a month.”

“Anna’s first phone broke about a year back and my ex offered to buy her a new one.”

“I was more than okay with that because it’s a free phone, what’s the downside?”

“Well the downside is that my ex is doing the same thing to Anna now.”

“If the tracking software shows she’s anywhere but my house, work, or school [before it let out for summer], she will panic.”

“Anna told me about this and how annoying it gets.”

“I talked to my ex and she said she would stop but Anna said that never happened.”

“So I got a new phone for her without the tracking software.”

“She leaves her moms phone at my house and will occasionally call or text her mom on it, but if she’s going out with friends she won’t bring it.”

“That was fine for about 2 weeks until they ran into each other at target and my ex figured out what was going on.”

“She blew up at me, but I told her this is the reason we got divorced, and I don’t want her to drive her own child away too.”

“She is claiming it’s negligent and it’s dangerous if she doesn’t know Anna’s safe because she could be dead, which seems like a bit of an overreaction in my eyes.”

“I get safety, but she gets obsessive very quickly.”

“So, AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for giving his daughter a phone without tracking software.

Everyone applauded the OP for giving his daughter her fair right to privacy, agreeing that his ex-wife’s behavior was worrisomely obsessive, with many wondering if she was suffering from more serious problems and needed help.


“You got full custody, you are the one to legally decide if that tracking is on or off.”

“Morally… Anna is 17. She’s nearly an adult.”

“Tracking her is just plain invasive.”

“You are right that this is the same pattern from your ex as what you went through.”- brisemartel

“Your ex learned nothing from the failure of your marriage.”

“Don’t know if the criminal charges were relevant or not, but if they involved breaches of privacy or outrageous anti-social behavior, they didn’t do the trick either: two for two.”

“Tell your ex that you are the parent with custody, you called the shot, and if she doesn’t like your call, she can always ask a family court Judge to review the matter.”

“That oughta fix her little red wagon.”

“Then read up on AirTags and any other device that your ex may plant among your daughter’s possessions, and also any settings on your child’s phone that may allow her calls/texts to be monitored on another ‘paired’ device.”

“And look for them, and remove them, because I’m betting that will be your ex’s next move.”

“NTA to protect your kid’s privacy, OP.”- little500HondaCBR

“NTA, you are the hero your daughter needs in her life.”

“’Tracking’ has to be consensual or it’s wrong.”- FP11001


“You’re teaching your daughter how to enforce boundaries and protect her autonomy through example.”

“Good for you.”- CuriousTsukihime


“Honestly I think your ex clearly has a mental illness, maybe PPD or even schizophrenia.”

“I think the real issue here isn’t the phone. It’s your ex.”

“She really needs to get help for her condition as otherwise she might get worse, with it becoming dangerous for her to be left alone with your daughter.”

“There have been cases where people with paranoid delusions take their children and go on the run as they think other people are out to get them.”- RobynStellarxx

“Easy NTA.”

“You’re protecting her mom’s paranoia.”

“The irony here is pretty thick: her fear of threats to her daughter is the threat to her daughter.”-BetweenWeebandOtaku

“NTA no one deserves to be tracked like some kind of animal it is invasive it shows a complete lack of trust an it can even be used to be abusive which is kind of what it sounds like your ex is doing to your daughter, it’s not right an you shouldn’t allow it.”- Striking_Pipe_7194


“I’ve not heard a single story about someone being saved because their parents have a tracking device on their phone.”

“I can see it possibly with younger kids getting lost but generally it’s not going to help prevent anything.”

“It’s horrible to say this but if something were to happen, she wouldn’t know about it until too late anyway.”

“The best way to keep your daughter safe is to teach her safe behaviors & part of that involves trusting her to do them.”- Valuable-Wallaby-167


“NTA at all, as I’m sure you know.”

“Did the divorce proceeding include this monitoring junk?”

“Now that it has been shifted to your daughter, maybe your ex can be legally banned from this nonsense.”

“Although in the meantime your daughter could die or worse, run off with a rock musician, and how would your ex know?”

“Your ex has a lot of spare time, it seems.”- Veblen1


“Your ex-wife is going to stifle any trust your daughter has for her.”

“Tracking someone 24 hours a day is NOT healthy in any respect.”

“She needs therapy for her obviously overwhelming anxiety, not more trackers on your daughter’s person.”

“Whether she will or not, sadly, isn’t within your control.”

“You may have to start checking your daughter’s things for air tags too, and be prepared to support your daughter if/when she decides she’s no longer going to entertain her mother’s presence in her life.”

“Unfortunately, this seems like a likely outcome.”- Panaccolade


“Your ex suffers from severe mental illness.”

“This is the issue.”

“You know this.”- NoReveal6677

“There’s a reason she doesn’t have custody.”

“This is a symptom of it.”

“You’re the primary parent, and you fully get to decide this.”

“NTA – don’t indulge crazy.”- JurassicParkFood


“This sounds like some form of mental illness at this point. It’s not healthy for anyone.”

“She is 17, she is making her own way, and you are the primary parent here, so you have obviously assessed the situation.”- hausofmc

“NTA, she’s almost an adult she should be responsible enough to not need tracking.”

“Sounds like you made the right call with your ex.”- Urbanyeti0


“You’re the custodial parent who made a parenting decision.”- ChickieD


“One of my friend’s parents did this in HS also. Their relationship is strained to say the least.”

“I think you did the right thing. My parents tracked me for all of a month until it messed up and said I was across the country when I was clearly at school.”

“They trusted me to be where I said I’d be, even if I was lying (as teenagers do).”

“They need their space and privacy, and you’re giving it to her, showing you trust her.”

“Which I’m sure she very much appreciates.”- AladeenModaFuqa

One can’t fault the OP’s ex-wife for worrying that her daughter is safe.

However, when children reach a certain age, they are entitled to privacy and don’t deserve to have their every move tracked.

One can only hope the OP’s ex will find someone to help her with this problem and that it doesn’t ruin her relationship with her daughter the way it ruined her marriage.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.