Thursday, 23 July 2009
In a society where latch key kids are as common as 7-year olds with cell phones it is not surprising to find a thriving product market for "safety-conscious" parents. Who has not seen supposedly sophisticated parents walking their toddlers on the ends of brightly colored leashes (my apologies - "child safety restraints")? Let me be clear- no matter how you dress it up - the idea for those "restraints" came directly from some exhausted or distracted parent who thought "Gee, if only I could keep little Peter on a leash..."- the rest is clever marketing.
The newest item touted in the interest of child safety are Tottoos (as in "tot tattoos") - customized temporary tattoos that list a parent's phone number under the message "If I am lost, please call." They can also be used to identify an allergy or other medical condition, as in "I have a peanut allergy." The inventors Virginia and Willie Lu, of Urbana, MD, a suburb of Washington, DC., and the parents of five remind others on Tottoos.org that "No matter how careful we are, children can wander off, fall behind, or otherwise find themselves alone and afraid. The worry and anguish we feel when we lose track of our child for even a moment is immeasurable." So in other words "Buy our product."
Some people understandably treat pets as their children but where do we draw the line and not treat our children like pets. However well intended this product may be it should only be a secondary form of child safety with a set of eyeballs being the first. Why stop with tattooing our children? Why not install pet-like microchips with GPS tracking? Anyone looking to invest?
My questions is this. Whatever happened to parental r-e-s-p-o-n-s-i-b-i-l-i-t-y? That is the entire definition of a parent. One who is responsible for someone who cannot be responsible for his/herself. Whatever happened to walking with (not in front nor behind) your child and holding his/her hand? Whatever happened to not allowing your child to have unsupervised access to the internet and the child predators that lurk there? Does a 7-11 year old really need a cell phone? Funny, todays' parents (who coincidentally were yesterdays' children) seemed to get along fine without them just one generation ago.
We have become a society of increasing "freedoms" for our children. We brag about how intelligent and independent our children are but aren't we just ever so slightly shirking from our inherent responsibilities? We claim to want our children to be independent but maybe it is our freedom from responsibility that we actually seek. A smart guy once said "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." With more "freedom", invariably comes more opportunity for the unforseen. Let do our damn jobs and be what our children need us to be- not their best friends but their loving parents.
A lost child with a tattoo it still lost.
In 2007 the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported that 11,700 children were reported missing. Of those 10,952 were recovered. For more information or to report a missing or exploited child please contact the NCMEC at 1-800-The Lost (843-5678)
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