Need To Keep Tabs On Your Teen? OnStar Could Soon Help

August 2, 2011
OnStar Family Link

OnStar Family Link

Parents of teenagers have it rough -- the backtalk, the defiance, the growth spurts. Perhaps worst of all is having to worry about young, inexperienced drivers, but General Motors is working on an update to OnStar that could put parents' minds at ease.

GM is testing a new OnStar service called "Family Link" that would allow users to pinpoint the location of a particular vehicle. As it's currently configured, Family Link allows subscribers to locate the vehicle on a map, or to receive emails and text messages as to its whereabouts. Additional Family Link  features notify subscribers if a vehicle leaves a certain area or if it tops a particular speed.

Regular readers will probably notice that Family Link bears a number of similarities to Ford's MyKey, which is also targeted to parents of teens. The major difference seems to be that MyKey is fairly active -- limiting speed, radio volume, etc. -- while Family Link is reactive, alerting parents when their kids break the rules, but not preventing them to do so in advance. Given the popularity of MyKey, we're guessing that parents prefer the active approach, but OnStar could easily roll in some of those preventive features before all is said and done.

The Family Link trial is being conducted with 10,000 current OnStar subscribers, and it should wrap up this September. At that time, GM will evaluate feedback from participants to gauge if/when Family Link will roll out to the public.


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