OnStar’s Family Link Lets You Keep Track Of Your Car As Well As Your Kids…

March 28, 2012

As parents, we all want to know where our children are, especially if they’re driving, right? Following an obviously successful test period, OnStar is rolling out its new Family Link add-on option to regular OnStar service that allows owners of OnStar-equipped vehicles to do just that.

As we reported during last summer’s test, OnStar sought feedback from parents about the kinds of features they found most useful, as well as those they might have considered a bit intrusive.  The resulting Family Link, which will be made available to a limited number of early adopters next month and rolled out to all U.S. OnStar subscribers by the end of this year, allows vehicle pinpointing in two ways.

  • Vehicle locate – Simply log in to the Family Link website to view a map with the vehicle’s location at any time. Once the vehicle has been located, a icon will appear on the map. According to OnStar, additional details of the vehicle’s location can be seen by “hovering” over the vehicle.
  • Vehicle location alert – You can also set up an email or text message alert to let you know where your vehicle is. You can specify day, time and frequency of the alerts. Location alerts will include the address the vehicle is near, as well as the date and time.

According to Joanne Finnorn, OnStar vice president of subscriber services, the more than 4,500 subscribers who took part in the Family Link test told the company “it provides them peace of mind by staying connected to their family when they’re on the road.”

Cost is reasonable

What does this add-on feature cost? In addition to the monthly OnStar subscription fee (which varies, depending on what level of the OnStar suite of services subscribers choose), Family Link will set you back a mere $3.99 extra.

That’s roughly the cost of a Starbucks venti cappuccino or latte, so it’s reasonable enough for the peace of mind parents can have.

2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

Enlarge Photo

The long view

There’s no question that Family Link can provide a useful service, but there are other considerations that some might have, including those voiced by our sister publication TheCarConnection.

Interestingly, during a press event in New York for the Family Link demonstration, the vehicle used was a 2012 Chevrolet Volt.

We’ll take the proactive long view that keeping our children as safe as we can, while still allowing them sufficient freedom to express their independence (within the parental boundaries we set), is a good thing. If pet owners can have an ID tag or chip to help them locate a lost animal, surely Family Link is a passive technology that can help us keep tabs on our own offspring.

What do you think? If you’re a parent and feel strongly one way or another about keeping track of your teen this way, let us know in the comments section below. Especially let us know if you already have OnStar and think you’ll add Family Link to your subscription when it becomes available.

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