Rant with Randi: Uber parenting — welcome to 2015!
This may seem unlikely, but lately, Uber seems to be making its way into conversations I have with friends for reasons that might blow your mind. It turns out that Uber has become the new “norm” for shuffling teenagers around town.
My niece hung out with a friend last summer, and one day she pulled up to her house and got out of an Uber ride. My sister had no idea that her daughter had “Uber’d” home with a friend. Apparently, that’s how she gets around when her mom can’t drive her (which begs the question, why didn’t my niece call my sister – but that’s no fun). One friend told me that she was out of town for a week ... so naturally she downloaded the Uber App onto her daughter’s iPhone, and that’s how she got to all of her after- school activities. “Hmmm,” I thought to myself, trying to remain cool, calm and collected, as if that’s something that I’d honestly consider, “that’s one way to do it.”
I think it takes a pretty sophisticated and somewhat street-smart teenager to be able to rely on Uber for a week and have no problems getting around. I was impressed. When you have more than one kid, and they need to be in two different places at the same time, what’s a mother to do? It used to be that you asked a friend for help and carpooled, but in 2015, just call Uber.
But this whole concept is taking on a creepy tone. This has also become the new norm: You allow your teenager to go to a party, but you also have dinner plans, so they take Uber home. Now I don’t know about you and your parenting style, but this does not sit well with me.
Someone recently asked me, “Randi, what if you are out drinking with friends, wouldn’t you rather have an Uber driver take your child home?” To which I answered, “Hell, no. If my freshman is at a party, then I won’t make plans to go out drinking on that particular night because I want to be the one to bring them home.”
What ever happened to that “in-between step” where you pick up your child from a party, kiss them on the cheek and check out their condition to be sure everything is cool? That’s a huge step that kids get to bypass when you add Uber into the equation.
Not to mention, the car pool is where you gather at least 90 percent of your information on what’s actually going on in your child’s life. Now that’s gone. I can (sort of) understand the need for a service during the week when you are juggling different kids who have to be in different places at the same time, and you have an impossible schedule. But having Uber drive your kid home from a party ... Really?
Let me ask you this question: Whom are you going to call to complain? Uber is a technology company; it’s not a physical address where you can go and speak with someone in person about a bad experience. Its function is strictly to arrange for its customers to get from point A to point B. By the way, I have no beef with Uber or their drivers. I’ve never personally used the service, but I think that we as a society are so preoccupied with convenience that we have no problem giving up our privacy. While I love technology, it’s starting to get uncomfortable.
Everyone wants what he or she wants, when they want it. This is Direct TV. Who watches live television anymore? With the touch of your finger, you can literally have someone at your physical location, within 15 minutes.
An Uber driver knows where you live. They know that a cute 15-year-old girl lives at X address, and they have her cellphone number. That’s entirely too much information about my children in the hands of strangers that I’m not willing to give away for convenience.
What say you? Are you an Uber parent? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.