Friday, February 12, 2010

Innocently Labeling Our Children

Labeling Our Kids Towards Danger.jpg

By Cynthia Caron 

Are we innocently labeling our children towards danger? As parents we love our children and naturally, as all parents do, we like to make our children proud of who they are and what they’ve accomplished.  At the same time, we are all a bit guilty of bragging. Why not? We’re proud of our kids, however, it’s important to not publicly display our children’s names on objects that are sure to catch the eyes of those we do not want to attract. Child predators.

Let’s start with the cute-looking families that are scrawled onto stickers that tend to appear on mini-vans and other vehicles. While these cute characters are..well, cute…they pose a serious danger due to divulging too much information.  To a watching predator they’ll learn that Johnny plays baseball, has a dog named Mitch and a sister named Lucy.  Worse are those that name the parents, Joe and Liz.  So now a predator has a means to approach your children.  Telling Johnny that his mom had an accident and that his dad, Joe, sent him to pick him Johnny and take to the hospital is a predator’s dream.  To further enforce his “reliability” he may say “Don’t worry about Liz as she is already on her way and my wife is staying at your home to walk and take care of Mitch.”

Labeling childrens clothing is a huge no-no.  Again, while cute and personalized it also makes the job of a predator much easier. Seeing Suzy walk to school and her name in bold lettering on her lunch box or backpack makes another ideal situation for a predator to make his move.

This is not only wise to not do for children, but also for teenagers as well.  There is nothing more personal than ones name.  When teenage girls display necklaces with their names written across their chest, it makes it much easier for one to use “personalization” to gain the confidence of a naïve or gullible teenager…especially should it be a nice looking 23 year old male with less than good intentions.

Advertising that a home has just been blessed with a newborn is another means that attracts unwanted predators.  Predators are not only child molesters but can also be those who wish to abduct children for whatever reason from black market baby sales to wanting a newborn child of their own. The worst form of advertising that exists are the “storks in the yard.”  This advertises to all the neighbors that finally the new little one has been born and how happy the family is to bring home little Molly, 6 pounds and  4ounces, home from the hospital!  However, this also is an enticing bit of news to those who may now begin to watch your home for the coming and going of traffic and make their move when they know the new exhausted mom is home alone.  Unfortunately, this has resulted in crimes that have been committed in which the mothers of newborns have been murdered and their new child abducted.  Please do not advertise that you have a newborn in your home.  Send those birth announcements to friends and relatives by mail, instead.

Tommy’s fort in the backyard is great! How about hanging a “no girls allowed” sign, instead of announcing your child’s name?

I’d like to make another important message to all those who Twitter and place their precious children into the public view.  Again, we all are proud parents and I especially want to discuss Twitter because there is an application that can actually take someone to the home of the Twitter user. Yes. You read that correctly.  When one announces on Twitter that they’ve finally given birth and all is well and are now proud parents of baby Sam, a predator can utilize an application that nearly pin points the home in which that Twitterer resides.  I’m not going to name the application as I don’t want to alert predators.  But I can assure you that they are out there and I’ve personally seen tweets made from specific locations that will appear on a map.  You then click on the Twitter icon and you will see who just made that new Tweet. You can then switch to Terrain and be able to zoom in clear to what street and approximation that the Twitter’s home is situated.  Now that is some scary tools that can be abused in many ways from stalkers to those who want to create malicious havoc.  I’ve seen Twitter applications that have actually shown the photograph of the home on maps pinpointing who just made that Tweet!  So please, be very careful about divulging too much information.  Especially announcing when home alone, children’s names and functions that you are about to attend.  The world does not need to know that you are about to take Melissa to soccer practice and that you’re totally bored as hubby is away for 3 days for a work convention!

We all have seen the “Baby on Board” cautionary placards that are displayed in car windows.  For one, they are obstructive to the drivers view in certain situations.  Another concern is that watchful eyes do not need to see a young mom driving solo with an infant in the backseat.  It wouldn’t take much to snatch mom’s purse while she is bent over trying to retrieve an infant out of the car seat  or worse… your infant snatched!  These really are not necessary because unfortunately a reckless driver is not going to sit up straight and pay attention because you are displaying a baby is on board placard. The less information you provide publicly…the better.

For more insightful tips and protecting children, please see . We have the “Seal of Approval” from the New Parent’s Guide and hope that you take the time to review other ways to help keep your children protected.  After all, as parent, it’s our job to be aware and to protect our children in every possible way

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  1. WOW... as I use twitter, that blurb caught my attention. I have never labled my kids clothes, my car, ect.. they are all older now, but I have also seen many who do put pictures up and send out info that should not be out there. Thanks for the information!

  2. Yeah, we should all wear non-descript clothing and shuffle emotionless through our lives to avoid any possible danger. Perhaps we should be living in bunkers and wear foil hats, too.

    Living a life filled with fear of the unknown is a great way to waste it. Sorry, but I'm more afraid of your advice than your scenarios.


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