New Car Technology Does the Parenting for You

Filed under: In The News, Weird But True, Behavior: Teens

car keys picture

Your trust your teen to drive, but can they really make their own music choices? Credit: Getty Images


It is an all-too-common scenario on our nation's highways.

An 8-year-old wants to hear dirty sex talk on the car radio. He leaps from the backseat and takes control of the dial. A scuffle ensues. The car careens into a busy IHOP. Countless breakfasts are destroyed.

Better just to give the kid what he wants in the first place. Ultimately, there is no way for an adult to control what is heard on a car radio.

Really? No way?

You might not think it's a real problem, but the Detroit News reports Ford executives have a solution anyway. The automaker now offers technology that enables you to block nasty satellite radio content.

"Ford wants to give parents peace of mind that their kids are following practical household rules in the car," Graydon Reitz, Ford's director of Electrical and Electronic Systems Engineering, tells the Detroit News.

Wait a minute. This means the technology is aimed at kids in the car without their parents, kids who are at least 16 years old. And they can't be trusted to be alone with the radio?

Maybe Ford engineers need to come out with an automated family counselor.

Give them time. Existing technology can already turn your car into a virtual nanny. The same tech used to censor the radio can already be used to control the radio's volume. It can also be programmed to mute the radio until everyone is safely buckled in.

Still no peace of mind? You can even limit how fast the car can go. It's like some sort of bizarre crossover between "Knight Rider" and "My Mother, the Car." (It was a real TV show, kids. Google it.)

The Detroit News reports the latest version of Ford's MyKey technology will be standard next year on the new Ford Explorer as well as the Taurus. It will eventually be available on a number of Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

(Yeah, as if these young hooligans can be trusted with a new car.)

"Parents obviously like this type of feature, and many teens are OK with it when they hear parents may give them the keys more often if the car comes with a technology such as Ford's MyKey," Reitz tells the paper.

And he has the poll numbers to back it up. Ford commissioned a survey, where 60 percent of parents said they liked the idea of being able to censor the car radio. No numbers are available on how many cackled fiendishly when they said it.

Some 45 percent of teens said they the were cool with restrictions, provided they could use the car more. Again, no hard numbers available, but it's a safe guess that at least 80 percent of them rolled their eyes and said, "Whatever!"

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.