US mum sparks backlash by revealing she puts Apple AirTags on her kids, 'trains' them to come when it beeps

Screenshots from the video showing the children with their AirTag bracelets
The parenting method has proved divisive on social media. Photo credit: @stevensfam / TikTok, @vadastevens / Instagram

A mother-of-two has sparked fierce backlash after revealing she makes her young children wear Apple AirTags to keep track of their movements - even training them "like dogs" to come to her at the press of a button.

North Carolina couple Vada and Grant Stevens have amassed a following of more than 1.3 million on their TikTok 'The Stevens Family', where they share sweet clips of their two daughters, Stella and Serena, and document their life as a young family of four.

In a clip shared earlier this month, Vada, 24, explained how she has started using a parenting technique she saw elsewhere on TikTok that "trains your kids to come [to you]" using Apple AirTags. 

In the video, which has since been viewed over 1.7 million times, Vada said she saw a TikTok where a fellow mother put the tracking devices inside specially designed AirTag wristbands for her children, allowing her to monitor their movements - and "train" them to come to her on command. 

"I saw a TikTok about a mom who puts Apple AirTags in bracelets on her kids and I thought it was the coolest thing," Vada said in the clip. "You can find them [the wristbands] on Amazon and you can track them and make a beeping noise, and you can train your kids to come when they hear the beeping noise [sic]."

To demonstrate, Vada presumably used the Play Sound function to emit a noise from her daughters' Air Tags, prompting Stella, four, and Serena, two, to come happily running into shot.

"You beeped for us," both girls announced, with one asking: "What did you need?"

Captioning the clip, Vada - who is currently eight months pregnant with their third child - wrote: "Today we are dog training."

The method has proved highly divisive among their followers, prompting backlash from a number of viewers. While some have praised the technique as "genius" - with many agreeing that they also use AirTags to keep tabs on their children - others branded it "scary" and similar to "shock collars".

"Pagers for Gen-Z babies," one viewer joked in the comments, with another adding: "So like a dog? No hate, I'd do it."

"Just recently put an AirTag on my grandpa (he leaves his house on his scooter and gets lost). He thinks it's just a fancy key chain," one fan of the tracking method weighed in, with a fourth deadpanning: "Does this work for husbands?"

"Kids are not animals, stop tracking them with tracking devices - wtf [what the f**k] dude? Just look for them normally!" one less-than-impressed viewer commented, with another adding: "Yikes, this is scary!"

Vada has since responded to the criticism, defending her decision to use the tracking bracelets as a "protective" measure to ensure her daughters' safety. 

In an interview with Today, the 24-year-old said: "I am extremely paranoid about everything safety. I thought the bracelets were genius. My two-year-old doesn't pay attention and runs off so if she happens to get lost, [the AirTag] is a perfect way to find her. It just takes one second to look away from your kid and they're off in a crowd somewhere.

"In this day and age, you can't ever be too protective. People think I'm a crazy mom - one even said I needed to sign my child up for therapy... I'm doing this to prevent my children from ever being taken or lost. I'm going to do my best to know exactly where they are."

Addressing the negative feedback, Vada claimed that parenting has become something of a competition on social media, with other mothers, fathers and caregivers giving unsolicited advice and opinions based on their own methods of parenting.