Even Though It's Against the Rules, More Parents Are Ordering Ubers for Their Kids Than Ever

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In just a few short years, Uber has grown from "novelty taxi cab alternative" into one of the dominant technology companies on the planet

Between the company's launch and July of 2016, an estimated two billion rides worldwide took place. The company currently offers its services in 450 different cities, adds about 50,000 drivers on a monthly basis, and Uber currently has an 84 to 87% share (read: stranglehold) on the "hailing" market in the United States.

So much of this comes down to convenience – if you can order a ride with a few quick taps of your finger in a cost effective way, it just makes perfect sense that you should do so. But some people are insistent on pushing the company to its limits, especially as far as its own rules are concerned. Many parents, in particular, are using Uber to order rides for their kids. This is great, but there is only one problem: It isn't actually something the company's Terms of Service allow you to do.

Uber and Your Kids: What's the Problem?Though it is not illegal for Uber drivers to pick up anyone under the age of 18, the company's own policies specifically forbid it UNLESS an adult is also present. According to the Sun Sentinel, however, not only are many parents ignoring this command – Uber's own drivers are, too.

The problem is that many drivers are willing to take any rider at all, as each trip puts money directly in their pocket. Likewise, it is believed that most parents don't know that this isn't allowed in the first place. After all, it is technically not in violation of any state rules. Put these two things together and you have something of a perfect storm of younger people taking rides back and forth between school, band practice, the movies, the mall, etc.

According to a spokeswoman for Uber, teens who open an account before their 18th birthday risk not only losing that account but also a permanent ban from the service. In order to hail your first ride, you MUST agree to the Terms of Service during the account creation process. Even if you don't read those terms, you still technically acknowledge that you did – meaning that if you're found to be in violation, Uber can cut you off at any time.

While Uber has said that they can and often do ban teens from the platform who are found to be taking rides without an adult, they would NOT say what happens to drivers who transport those underage riders.

One of the reasons this is so controversial right now comes down to the issue of safety. Many Uber drivers around the country have been accused of significant crimes against their passengers. One man in Florida who was working as an Uber driver was arrested in 2016, for example, after no less than three different women accused him of rape in three distinct incidents. This is the kind of thing that should have any parent stopping to think twice the next time they want to fire up the Uber app on their phone.

Safety-conscious parents should rest a bit easier, however, knowing that they can still keep a watchful eye on their kids at all times. The Uber app provides live GPS tracking, allowing you to see exactly where a car is at any point during its journey. However, this information is only available to the account holder – meaning that if a child orders an Uber from their own account, a parent wouldn't have access to that information.

If you are a parent who insists on ordering an Uber for your underage child, you should always do so from your own account. This gives you complete visibility into all aspects of the trip, allowing you to see exactly where they're going, when they get there, and more.