“How to Protect Your Child From Abduction” Fearmongering Advice From Parenting Magazine

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This mini-rant comes to us frorm Tara Lazar, a mom of two and children’s book author. Her website is taralazar.com.
Dear Free-Range Kids: I tweeted this Parenting Magazine online article to you a few days ago but wanted to follow up because it has me so upset: “5 Safety Tips to Protect Your Kids from Abduction.”
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The author is from a child-tracking GPS company, so of course it’s in his best interest to bend the truth. The article begins:
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“According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, roughly 800,000 children are reported missing each year, more than 2,000 a day. Even though the vast majority of these cases end with the child found safe, and never having been in danger, the sheer number is still shocking.”
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So 800,00 is not accurate, but he flaunts the number like all of us should be shackling our children. The number includes runaways, parent/relative disputes and mistakes.
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The real number of abductions by total strangers is more like 500 annually, right? [115, actually — Lenore] A far cry from 800,000. In fact, it’s misleading parents to believe that abductions by strangers are 160,000% more common than they are!
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This article is written by a completely biased source, a man who wants to sell more kidsport GPS! It angers me that he’s passing on this misleading information, and that Parenting allowed it, too.
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These kinds of things bother me so badly because I see our neighborhoods and playgrounds: empty. There are no kids riding bikes, playing outside, enjoying some freedom. As a children’s book author, I love kids and I think their development into strong, independent adults is so important. We’re not granting them the tools they need.
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I know some of the “outdoor ghost town” stems from technology, but the other part is sheer parent fear. My generation is spooked senseless. Common sense has gone out the window! And articles like this one are fueling the fear.
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Just had to get that off my chest! — Tara
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So I went and read the article and here’s the part that makes ME maddest:

When I was a kid, my friends and I spent our hours after school meandering the neighborhood. Mom and Dad had no idea where I was or what I was doing, and they didn’t worry about my safety. In summer, I was gone at sunup. I was a racecar pulling in for a PB&J pit stop around noon, and dinner was just a distraction. I was gone for hours upon hours, and it was no big deal.

Today, it’s a different world. My daughter is almost 10. If she is three minutes late from a bike ride, her mom and I are freaking out. If we lose sight of her at the park, we panic. When we’re on vacation, I’m not only playing with her, but I’m also a CIA agent scanning the crowd for suspicious characters.

NB: The evidence the author gives for times being more scary “today” is that…he is scared. Somehow he was allowed to enjoy a carefree childhood, but today’s parents should be terrified at that thought.

To me, it’s scary how little it takes create a “different world” simply by injecting it with fear.- L

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Thank you for saving me from that fear-mongering article, Daddy!

Thank you for saving me from that fear-mongering article, Daddy!

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59 Responses to “How to Protect Your Child From Abduction” Fearmongering Advice From Parenting Magazine

  1. BL September 29, 2015 at 8:40 am #

    “To me, it’s scary how little it takes create a “different world” simply by injecting it with fear.”

    Not a big fan politically of FDR, but …

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

    A lot of truth to that.

  2. Doug September 29, 2015 at 9:01 am #

    FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real

  3. Ann in LA September 29, 2015 at 9:27 am #

    Children’s books show us how far our modern life has come with respect to respecting our kids abilities. From The Boxcar Children to Harry Potter, kids are the focus of books in which they are shown as capable, adaptable, and smart. There’s so much dissonance between the fiction that kids read (Rick Riordan’s books, “Hunger Games”, “Harry Potter”, etc.) which is filled with kids doing daring things, and their building-to-car-to-building lives.

  4. Warren September 29, 2015 at 9:33 am #

    Of course, at the bottom of the article, the author is credited with being a dad and the innovator of the gps tracking device mentioned in the article.

    FEAR SELLS!

  5. Mark Davis September 29, 2015 at 9:38 am #

    The quote you gave sums up the helicopter-parenting attitude perfectly. Summarizing the salient points in the last paragraph:

    “Today, … her mom and I freak out. … we panic… scanning the crowd for suspicious characters.”

    With no explanation why, whatsoever.

  6. lollipoplover September 29, 2015 at 10:05 am #

    “Mom and Dad had no idea where I was or what I was doing, and they didn’t worry about my safety.”

    Way to call your parents uncaring assholes!

    Most parents didn’t worry about safety because they had other things to do than read paranoia-infused parenting articles. Kids played outside freely because this is a basic right of childhood.

    The author of this article is still here with us today despite his horrific upbringing of being unsupervised for long periods of time. What’s different now is that these articles are published with clear conflict of interest to push Child Stalking GPS on the safest generation to exist for your own selfish needs. Confront your paranoia and excessive worry like the mental condition they are. Don’t push your Boogeyman agenda on the rest of us.

  7. lollipoplover September 29, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    And in other fearmongering news:

    http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Highland-High-Photo-Cars-329914841.html

    Men in cars, with phones.
    Alumni or dastardly demons?

  8. MichaelF September 29, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

    It’s almost comical that of the 5 points he mentions the longest is the script about his product.

    Looks more like a carefully crafted ad than an actual article for a magazine, and of the comments attached most call the magazine out on this. Including Tara.

  9. Hannah Pazderka September 29, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    The irony is, crime rates are steadily DECREASING.

    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/10/17/article-2219212-158D3049000005DC-997_634x702.jpg

  10. Hannah Pazderka September 29, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

    Or another…

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/38/Rapes_per_1000_people_1973-2003.jpg

  11. SKL September 29, 2015 at 12:30 pm #

    The author of that article needs a psychologist.

  12. John September 29, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

    Articles like this just piss me off and shame on any parenting magazines that publishes crap like this!

  13. ann September 29, 2015 at 12:38 pm #

    What I don’t understand is when/how parents with this fear-of-everything attitude allow their kids to become adults. I have friends who have said things like, “I would NEVER let my 13 year old go to the mall with friends.” I have to wonder… what about when she is 16 and has her driver’s license or when she is 18 and goes off to college? She can go to the mall with friends then. Why can’t she “practice” a little at 13? or 15? It seems like kids will be going off to college with little to no experience with being independent, making their own decisions, or assessing risk on their own. That sounds a whole lot more scary to me than a 13 year old wandering the mall for a couple hours with friends. And a 10 year old being 3 minutes late from a bike ride? Maybe she found a cool bug on the sidewalk or stopped to pet a dog. Good grief!

  14. Glen September 29, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

    I have been teaching kids about personal safety for 10 years, and educating their parents about the reality of our news industry and the mindless/baseless use of numbers to scare parents. I understand Tara’s anger, I feel it too. However, I don’t agree that the fact this person is in business selling GPS equipment is bad on its face, but I do take issue with his numbers.

    My kids have been outside kids, in spite of the fact that one of them was confronted by a creepy man in a car several years ago. Additionally, a girl was abducted and murdered in our community. I’ve taken these incidents in stride and applied rationality with a dose of healthy caution which every human being possesses.

    What bothers me most about the current state of our culture is the fact that parents have checked their brains at the door (on many topics, not just this one) and don’t rationally think through what we passes through the ears and into the brain.

    If there really were 2000 missing kids per day, don’t you think there would be uncontrolled Mommy riots in the streets?

    I’ve said it here before. Our kids do need to plan for personal safety when they leave the house, and it is our job to give them options and dare I say, to practice or role play those options. This gives me some peace of mind knowing I did my job and on the smallest of chances they run into a bad situation, they can get out of it on their own. This way I can save my helicopter fuel for sight-seeing.

    I believe this is true for teaching them to clean their rooms, brush their teeth, when they drive a car, when they go for a job interview or when they reject someone pushing drugs. It is good old fashioned parenting. I hope Tara isn’t mad at me for making money bringing balance back to the process, but I like to think I have changed some minds and eased fear brought on by our out of control culture.

  15. Havva September 29, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

    @Ann in LA,
    I like looking at what child literature that appeals to kids says about childhood. And while Harry Potter certainly portrays kids as smart and capable (though with limits of knowledge and experience) … it also rather cunningly speaks about our time. While books of old with kids acting independently may come off as completely foreign to the modern pre-teen, I think a lot of pre-teens can associate with Harry Potter right from the first.

    In book 1, in the first chapter where we meet 11 year old Harry Potter, his aunt and uncle are arguing about what to do about not being able to get a babysitter for him. And Harry, is mentally planning out what he would do if only he could stay home alone, and begging to be allowed to stay home alone. This of course the aunt and uncle strictly forbid. Though in his case they just flat say they don’t trust him, rather than dissembling about safety. In ever clearer lines they draw out that Harry is safe at ‘home’ and in danger in the wizarding world. And yet…

    If there is any clear theme running through the whole series it is that no matter how grave the danger that comes with freedom. Freedom and the tools to self protect, are preferable to being safely restricted.

  16. Maxine September 29, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

    I found your website after contemplating letting my 12 yo ride her bike to school (maybe a mile away). We practiced and she did great. Mind you she learned to ride a bike over 6 years ago and we ride together occasionally. For my own sanity I subscribed to Life360 to track that she’s made it safely. After the first week she told me that it’s not as scary as she imagined and that we made it seem like something bad was going to happen.

    A month in now she’s tired of riding her bike. My first thought was to revert to driving her on my way to work. Reason took over and I told her this is her new mode of transportation to get to school. My aha moment came this morning when I realized that I’m giving her the steps she needs to grow into a proper adult. Meaning we have to do things in life that we want to do but it’s these times that mature us.

    She’ll be 13 in November. This past weekend my husband and I got permission from her to go to a Jazz Festival while leaving her home alone. We were gone for seven hours well into the darkness of the night but I couldn’t totally enjoy myself because I felt guilty. When we got home close to 10pm. She was happy and content. The silliest part is that we have security cameras surrounding our home, reinforced doors, security screen doors and a dog. And we called ever hour to make sure she didn’t want us to come home.

    The saddest part is that I’m scared to tell anyone in fear I will be judged a neglectful parent. My eyes are opening that in reality, I’m raising an aware and secure adult.

  17. Andrea D. September 29, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    Boy do I feel sorry for that guy’s daughter.

  18. angeleyes1307 September 29, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

    Today my co-workers were discussing that they need to take 2 days off in Nov for voting, because the polling place is at the school and the school is CLOSING DOWN FOR 2 DAYS. I made an offhand comment about how dare we subject out kids to actual people voting. I was inundated with a flood of comments about all of these “unvetted” and “uncontrolled” people near their kids. Don’t I understand what could happen? There are bad people out there who would go to voting just because it was at a school so that they could molest kids in the bathroom and/or kidnap them from the school! No amount of logic would penetrate the wall of fear. It is epidemic, and heartbreaking.

  19. karin cassidy September 29, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

    Summer is over, I drive by 3playgrounds daily not once all summer did I see any kids playing riding bikes or walking, anywhere. It is a sad time that even my co workers do allow their teenagers to get summer jobs like babysitting or mowing lawns around the neighborhood. I know growing up I was allowed& encouraged to run our boat, mow the lawn, babysit etc. I raised my own children that way, all three of them have held down 2 real world jobs at the same time & can be counted on to work hard be honest and exception young adults

  20. Katie September 29, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

    It should be noted, and hopefully most parents are hip to this, Parents magazine, along with plenty others, are basically advertisements with “articles” written to sell the advertisers’ products. Plenty of great magazines are not that way. (I’m not talking about Nat’l Geo., or Atlantic, here.) But look at, for example, any beauty magazine, with it’s Top 10 foundations, etc. Any chance the list isn’t stocked with advertisers’ products? Not really.

    So, I think the fact that Parents magazine is usually free, and/or given out at the pediatrician’s office, even mailed to you without you asking for it…this is not a publication to take seriously. They exist to sell products. I recommend that we all stop reading this drivel.

  21. sigh September 29, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

    Katie is right. “Advertorial” is about all you will find in there. And some recipies… wait… the food is probably all sponsored by corporations, too. Note the brand-names in the ingredient lists…

    One big ad. The whole thing.

  22. Aimee September 29, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

    @Maxine – you have a fortress of a home. Your daughter is old enough to be babysitting other children (Red Cross babysitting class is for kids age 11 and up). You’re doing the right thing. (Although I’d be careful about “asking your child’s permission” to do things – that sets up a strange dynamic. I think it’s very courteous – and models a healthy behavior – to inform her in advance of the evening, and talk about what she might want to snack on that night, or maybe does she want to rent a movie or something, but YOU decide if you go out for the evening!)

  23. AmyO September 29, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

    I stopped reading Parenting because it was so crazy. They are trying to sell ad space. The final straw for me was this article warning people about the dangers of leaving your child alone to use the bathroom, because one woman wrote in about her son getting himself injured when the toilet seat slammed shut on himself. The mother gushed that she never let him use the toilet alone now, and the magazine cautioned parents to be mindful of this danger. Craziest advice I ever read. Parenting magazine is a joke.

  24. Vicki Bradley September 29, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

    Aimee, you read my mind!I

  25. Jason September 29, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

    Fear-mongering like this is rampant. Just yesterday in the news, there was a story about a young child molested in a store by an out-of-state sex offender here in SoCal. At the end of the article, a police spokesperson reminded parents to always keep their kids in sight while shopping lest they be molested.

    That kind of warning, coming from an “authority”, implies that your child is likely to be molested whenever he or she is out in public unless you’re scanning the crowd like a CIA agent (which is a pretty stupid metaphor to begin with).

  26. GRS September 29, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

    I saw the Parenting article/advertisement. Talk about a big pile of crock–and I say crock instead of a 4-letter word that would have a parent in another day wash someone’s mouth out with soap!

    Idea: Take the comments you have made here, go to that Parenting article, and add comments disputing the article. Then get others who agree with you to do the same. To quote Amy Goodman, “Go to where the silence is and say something!”

    @Aimee: I took Maxine’s “asking permission” comment “tongue in cheek” as opposed to literally. 🙂

  27. lollipoplover September 29, 2015 at 2:15 pm #

    “When we’re on vacation, I’m not only playing with her, but I’m also a CIA agent scanning the crowd for suspicious characters.”

    Heaven forbid a parent ever enjoy themselves on vacation. I both play with my kids and husband and spend time alone on vacation. All are healthy. It’s actually very good to role model behaviors like reading a good book while your kids build sandcastles. I “guard” my kids too, especially in water, but more for dangerous conditions and less for suspicious characters.

    The suspicious characters we should be guarding our kids from are not who you think. Our local community at least 6 murder suicide/domestic violence massacres in the past 6 months. Some were especially deadly and violent and way too close to home. Our children have learned the danger is not some stranger in the dark alley, it’s the person walking through the kitchen door.

  28. James Pollock September 29, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

    “The real number of abductions by total strangers is more like 500 annually, right? [115, actually — Lenore] A far cry from 800,000. In fact, it’s misleading parents to believe that abductions by strangers are 160,000% more common than they are!”

    Devil’s advocate: The original story author didn’t say there were 800,000 abductions, he said there were 800,000 children reported missing. When you don’t know where your child is, and you panic and start imagining the worst, you spend time thinking about “what if the child has been abducted?” even though little Susie is playing happily in the neighbor’s backyard. The sooner you know little Susie’s playing happily in the neighbor’s backyard, the sooner you can relax… even without any actual abduction.

    Not very many houses burn down, either, but selling insurance to deal with the cases where it does happen is still a service, even to the people whose houses don’t burn down.

    I don’t think I would have purchased this product (I’m an empty-nester now) nor recommended it to anyone. But I’m not as offended by the attempt to sell it as Ms. Lazar is. The pitch seems mostly honest and straightforward to me.

  29. hineata September 29, 2015 at 3:49 pm #

    Would CIA agents really scan crowds in an obvious manner looking for crims? I thought they were supposed to be the sophisticated types. And usually off destabilizing foreign governments and interfering in the affairs of sovereign nations.

    Actually. …that sounds pretty much what this guy is doing. He’s interfering in the processes that will make his kid an independent citizen, taking away her right to a little individual fun. So maybe the CIA analogy IS a good one.

  30. Maxine September 29, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

    @Aimee- asking permission was wrongly worded I intended to imply as to whether or not she would be comfortable home alone, especially with it being the first time at night. I consider it respectful to make sure she feels safe no matter what the situation is; at home or out in about.

  31. Emily Morris September 29, 2015 at 4:07 pm #

    “”I stopped reading Parenting because it was so crazy. They are trying to sell ad space. The final straw for me was this article warning people about the dangers of leaving your child alone to use the bathroom, because one woman wrote in about her son getting himself injured when the toilet seat slammed shut on himself. The mother gushed that she never let him use the toilet alone now, and the magazine cautioned parents to be mindful of this danger. Craziest advice I ever read. Parenting magazine is a joke.””

    I’m probably a horrible person, but I can only think of one way a little boy is getting injured when a toilet seat unpredictably slams down… and it makes me laugh hysterically. It’s a good thing I’m not a mother to boys, because if that happened to my son, he would never live it down and that’s the opposite of writing in about toilet dangers.

  32. Papilio September 29, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

    Speaking of Harry Potter, BL, don’t worry, that lesson about only fearing fear is also in there 🙂

    @Maxine: “comtemplating letting my 12 yo ride her bike to school (maybe a mile away). We practiced and she did great. Mind you she learned to ride a bike over 6 years ago and we ride together occasionally”

    Sounds Dutch 🙂 (Except for the ‘mile’. And the contemplating. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrQ-d2PBUto )

  33. Emily Morris September 29, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

    “”asking permission was wrongly worded I intended to imply as to whether or not she would be comfortable home alone, especially with it being the first time at night. I consider it respectful to make sure she feels safe no matter what the situation is; at home or out in about.””

    This is fair. I don’t think it’s Free-Range to abandon your terrified children for the night. Free-Range is a parent and child deciding it’s a good time to try a night alone.

  34. Papilio September 29, 2015 at 4:41 pm #

    “her son getting himself injured when the toilet seat slammed shut on himself”
    “the magazine cautioned parents to be mindful of this danger.”

    Well, I could see that. I cringed when reading that and I don’t even have those parts!
    Though obviously not letting Son go to the toilet by himself is not the solution…

  35. Maxine September 29, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

    @Papilio- great link. Sadly there are over 800 kids at my daughters school. I counted the bikes in the bike rack last week and there were only 20 bikers. This morning my daughter was sitting and waiting to leave after her normal time so I asked her why? She said the morning attendant said the bikers come to early and are waiting for her to open the gates when she gets there. I had to chuckle because whenever have you had to tell your kids to wait and not to get to school to early?

    This makes me a happy momma and reinforces that I’m doing something right.

  36. Warren September 29, 2015 at 5:17 pm #

    Pap,

    Anyone raising a son, needs to replace their toilet seats with the commercial ones. You know the ones like a horseshoe, with the opening at the front. Worst case, a falling seat would just scare the crap outta the boy, and maybe make a bit of a mess.

  37. Papilio September 29, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

    @Maxine: Exactly the reason why I keep mentioning the importance of cycle infrastructure: to make this kind of thing possible. The other day someone mentioned s/he made the kids go to their dentist/orthodontist/etc appointments themselves as soon as they could drive > that’s years later!

    My secondary school (7th grade and up) was on a more or less dead-end street (when it came to through traffic anyway), close to an intersection with a through route (one lane for each direction plus cycle lanes/paths; just busy enough to warrant traffic lights). The school was on the eastern arm, the vast majority of kids (and staff) came from the west or north. Of the 1600 kids, about 95% cycled to school (that’s The Netherlands for you), a couple of hundred didn’t actually start at 8:30 (start of first class). Result: every morning between 8:00 and 8:25 up to 1300 teens on bikes completely FLOODED that intersection. They were like this big moving snake of cyclists, quick(ish) to react when the traffic light turned green, slow when it turned red (hey – teens will be teens), so for the drivers going north to south it must have been a pain to get through there in that half hour, as they only had a couple of seconds after the snake stopped and before their own light turned red again.
    But when I read stories about American school runs, I just shudder to think what that intersection would have looked like if all those kids would have been dropped off by buses and parents in cars. Now THAT would have been a complete nightmare!
    Another link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NUgB_xkIvU < one of the commenters mentions THIS VERY BLOG! (in Dutch though)

  38. Papilio September 29, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

    @Warren: I’ve only ever seen those in primary schools, and maybe sometimes in a public toilet. (But maybe the man’s toilets have them more often…?) Most parents seem to either figure out a way to secure the lid, or they teach the boy to sit down until he’s so tall that his penis won’t get flattened against the edge of the bowl…

  39. Jessica September 29, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

    I’ve been making it a point not to read parenting articles/books/forums because I realize they make me question myself, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when every decision I make is accompanied by a google search to see if I am doing the “right” thing, well, that’s a bad thing (especially when you have such a flagrant conflict of interest, as in this article). If I’m truly concerned, I bring it up with my kids’ doctor or ask a close friend who has slightly older or the same aged children. I don’t need the world’s consensus to be a good mom and, TBH, the more I’m home with my kids, the more I realize that I want them to be able to move out, get a job they love, and not freak out about every little thing.

  40. Jessica September 29, 2015 at 5:53 pm #

    In reference to the toilet seat incident, I’ve warned both my boys what could happen if they don’t put the seat all the way up or play with it while they’re going. They’ve never had an issue. Personally, for the boy who had it happen once, I’m pretty sure mom’s supervision is unnecessary; he’s not going to do it again. That’s what I tell people when they tell me they’re afraid my kid will get hurt; “Well, then he’ll know not to do that again.”

  41. BL September 29, 2015 at 6:41 pm #

    Um, really?

    Operating a toilet seat isn’t difficult. It just isn’t.

  42. Stephanie September 29, 2015 at 6:44 pm #

    I had a parent make the “It’s too dangerous now” comment when I was talking about how an upcoming move will change things for getting my kids to school. Right now, they walk. I go along because my youngest doesn’t feel ready to go without me. When we move, it will be more than two miles to the school, which is a pretty long distance for a younger elementary school age child to walk. My older two could ride bikes there if they like, and I suspect they’ll try it at least a few times. The main trouble is that the ride home would be almost entirely uphill, which is a lot to deal with on hot days. Then there’s the fact that I don’t trust the parents driving near the school, as we’ve come close to being hit even under my supervision.

    But dangerous because kidnappers? No. Not even though I’ve seen people on local discussion boards go on about a white van being seen near the school. That one makes me laugh because the school district owns several white vans, and the logo is really small and easy to miss.

  43. Peter September 29, 2015 at 8:04 pm #

    What bothers me is that the author is the co-founder of kidSport GPS. The 5th item in the list mentions the product that his company makes.

    And, yet, there is no reference to this being advertising?

  44. Michelle September 29, 2015 at 9:40 pm #

    I quit reading Parenting magazine about a decade ago, after an article about how to treat your husband like a child, including putting him in time out. I am not even kidding or exaggerating.

    The only magazine I have managed to find that wasn’t full of crap advice, and advertising disguised as crap advice, was the Doctor Who fan magazine. I gave up, and now I just read comic books.

  45. James Pollock September 29, 2015 at 9:44 pm #

    “And, yet, there is no reference to this being advertising?”

    I believe the proper term is “evangelism” rather than “advertising”.

    In any case. The byline reads “By Eric Long of kidsport GPS”. The footer to the story says “Eric Long is a dad and cofounder of Precise Innovation, a company that developed the kidsport GPS tracking band for kids.”

    If you’re unable to deduce that the author might think the kidsport GPS is a desirable product, but might be biased in that belief, well… it’s not from lack of disclosure.

  46. Mikel September 29, 2015 at 11:31 pm #

    Forgetting that the statistics quoted are completely off base regarding actual abductions, it’s amusing to think about any of us “scanning crowds for suspicious characters.”

    What exactly do we look for again in order to identify “suspicious characters”? And if scanning crowds for “suspicious characters” is a reliable means of identifying actual people about to cause harm, why is it that we still cannot reliably identify terrorists in advance of attacks? Or school/theater shooters? Arsonists?

    In what way would a suspicious character look any different than you or I?

    The fear-mongering in this type of infomercial is shameless and only advances the idea that somehow the world has fundamentally changed since we were children, and abductions are now rampant.

    And while I’m not against the concept of one using a tracking device if they think it would somehow be useful in a child abduction, why would the savvy abductor not immediately separate their victim from any belongings that might contain say, a cell phone or a GPS tracking device?

    If it’s not surgically implanted, it won’t be very useful. And please, let’s not go THERE…

  47. Ihelppeople September 30, 2015 at 12:08 am #

    Dear Lenore, I don’t know if you noticed, but I was web surfing and found that http://iwontsuperviseyourkids.com/ got hacked and replaced with Chinese letters. You probably want to fix it if you can find out how, or start a new site for it.

  48. James Pollock September 30, 2015 at 12:10 am #

    “why would the savvy abductor not immediately separate their victim from any belongings that might contain say, a cell phone or a GPS tracking device? ”

    Because that sets off an alarm.

  49. Warren September 30, 2015 at 1:57 am #

    You put any sort of security tracking device on a kid, that cannot be removed, or if removed will set off an alarm, and it will not save the child. There will be only one of two outcomes.

    1. Would be abductor will know how to jam the signal, or disable the piece of tech.
    or
    2. When the abductor finds the device, he or she will kill the child.

    Either way, these devices may be sold on the basis of keeping your child safe, but all they are nothing more than body recovery locators.

  50. sexhysteria September 30, 2015 at 2:48 am #

    Half of the adult population today is too terrified to have children, and the other half is terrified they might lose the children they have. Are we seeing a pattern here?

  51. Denise September 30, 2015 at 9:35 am #

    I’m the more free range parent. I’m taking my 4 year old to a camping event. I have volunteered at security at this event before, serving as the loss and found point. I realize that my daughter can get lost- so I taught her my phone number. I know where we’ll be camping, I taught her that. I talked to her about staying with mommy at all times, or if something bad, find a kid and ask to talk to their parents. I’ve shown her what security will be wearing and how if something happened, she’d need to ask to go there. If a stranger comes to help her without the badge she’s to refuse to go- and she’ll do it, because we’ve tried it with coworkers. I thought I was being overly detailed to prepare her a month ahead of time.

    My husband is frantic with fear and almost doesn’t want her to go- OMG, the event has a lost and found point… that means kids have gotten lost before. How do I know that some pervert isn’t just looking for lost kids and will pull my daughter in the tent- a place that has lost kids and tents is exactly what a pervert is looking for. So, she’s taught not to go into anybody’s tent. Stats don’t reassure him. Then he asks if I could just put a backpack on her.

    I’m just saying that the backpack is reserved for our headstrong 1 year old and will not be taken out of the car. And I was found as a kid heading with a stranger to outside in a parking lot. My parents responded by helicoptering for the rest of my life. I refuse to allow that to happen.

  52. Sam September 30, 2015 at 9:38 am #

    My first thought about child GPS trackers was that they’re an invasive piece of junk. My second thought is that they could be quite valuable in actually extending the children’s freedom. In my childhood, we sometimes wandered far away and didn’t come home on time. It wouldn’t be fair to say that our parents weren’t going nuts with worry, – they were. If they had a way to confirm where we were, while they’d still have to teach us about sticking to your word and coming home on time, at least they could be much more relaxed if we were late. These days, if my child goes out alone, I might restrict the area where he’s allowed to be to a fairly small space, but if he had a good GPS watch, I could be comfortable extending that area very significantly. Technology really could really help bring the children’s freedoms back and even extend them, if used smartly.

  53. Denise September 30, 2015 at 9:44 am #

    BTW- it would be easier to helicopter and not prepare my daughter for reality…. Free range is a constant struggle of “Are they ready for this? Have I given them the skills to do what they need to do?” vs “It would be much easier to just do it myself.” My goal is to raise future Queens who rule their own lives, instead of princesses who need to have somebody tell them what to do.

  54. Barbara September 30, 2015 at 10:08 am #

    I hope this isn’t completely off topic but I have a story from yesterday. So we started letting my 8 year old walk home this year from school. He LOVES it. However, we have rules and the first rule is don’t cross the street. There is no need, we live just under a mile from the school and it is a straight shot on the same side of the street and it is a very busy street with lots of teenagers who drive on leaving the HS. Anyway, it was raining off and on yesterday so I decided to go pick him up on his way home and go to the store. Long story short, I didn’t see him. I checked both sides of the street as I was driving and he was no-where. No problem I think, he probably saw it was rainy and decided to put himself in the car rider line. I go to the school and OF COURSE I can’t just walk to the back of the school I have to wait for them to look for him and at the same time the crossing guard, who is a very sweet woman, is telling me how concerned she is for Lucas since I let him walk and he is so friendly and will talk to everyone. So… He is not in the car rider line and his teacher tells me she saw him go out the back fence which opens onto a different street. My worry goes from 1 – 5 (with 10 being outright panic). I take off and there is a cop sitting in front of the school so I ask him to drive around the block and look for Lucas while I run home and see if he is there. I get to the house and of course Lucas was at home eating a snack he was not suppose to be eating as fast as he could before I caught him! I throw him in the car, call the school and go find the cop to let him know I found my missing kid. The cop was nice, but I had to give him all my info and now I AM JUST CONVINCED I am probably on a list of people who lose their kids. ANYWAY, all this to say that if I had just trusted my decision making skills and trusted Lucas to get home and given him 5 more minutes none of this would have happened. The drama happened because I panicked. On the upside I did find out he was crossing the street without permission and as his punishment I will be walking to meet him for the rest of the week instead of letting him walk home all by himself. Also, this particular group of people here may appreciate that he told me that when he got home he was SO EXCITED because he was home by himself and he was hoping I would take longer to get there.

  55. Papilio September 30, 2015 at 10:58 am #

    “I don’t trust the parents driving near the school, as we’ve come close to being hit even under my supervision.”

    Back when Esperanto was a thing, they tried to get people to learn it by offering them contracts saying ‘I promise to learn Esperanto if 1000 (or whatever) other people do the same’, and then tried to get 1000 (or whatever autographs to get things going.
    Could something similar possibly work (at least for some schools/circumstances) to get more kids & parents out of their cars during the school run???

  56. Papilio September 30, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    “Half of the adult population today is too terrified to have children, and the other half is terrified they might lose the children they have.”

    So that means… Anyone who still has at least one living parent could only be abducted by someone under the age of 18?

  57. AmyO September 30, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

    It’s hilarious to me so many people commented on the toilet thing.

    Let me be clear, this was either a 3 or 4 year old. It was one of those one-in-a-million things. The lid slammed shut on him. He was fine. Swollen for a bit, but all parts remained attached and healed.

    The mother now stands in the bathroom and watches him pee every time he goes. She encourages all parents to do this to avoid a tragedy.

    Personally, I think that’s a bit much.

  58. Bob Davis October 6, 2015 at 10:58 pm #

    This is going back over a half century, but I remember the magazines that my first wife and I received when our firstborn arrived. It didn’t take a “Sherlock Holmes” to figure out that most of the articles were keyed in to the advertising. Of course, this was back when communications satellites were just emerging from the realm of Science Fiction, and GPS was still far in the future. In our house, we didn’t have a TV set until the girls were well into elementary school, and TV new programming hadn’t descended into the “If it bleeds it leads” and “police blotter” mindset that prevails now.
    I suppose in other family situations, such as wealthy families where kidnapping for ransom might be a concern, national security situations where the agents for the bad guys say “We know where your kids go to school*….”, or contentious divorce cases such anti-abduction precautions might be considered, but for the vast majority of families, save your money and your worries for more common hazards, such as automobile collisions.

    *do such situations really happen, or is this just a plot device for TV and movie script writers?

  59. iTMjvKcrshUNgxR October 11, 2015 at 10:09 pm #

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