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Are family stickers on cars dangerous?

For an eon, I have wanted to put the decals representing our family on the van. This past Mother’s Day I made a greater effort to find them and came across several people admonishing the stickers as careless parenting and dangerous to our children. I felt compelled to comment:

The DC Internet Caucus panel on kids and predation has determined that the media has misrepresented the way that children are preyed upon. Although we want to protect our children, being realistic about threats is important because overprotecting them can be just as harmful. Just think, if you teach your children to jump from every shadow, they may grow up to believe that stickers on a car might actually make your child more vulnerable to a child predator.

Yesterday, Evie, a child abuse awareness volunteer added commentary stating that those of us thinking people were being overly paranoid or overly protective were wearing rose colored glasses and not living in the real world. I felt compelled to comment further:

Evie, I’m a realist but while you think we are viewing the word through rose colored glasses, I think you are jaded because you work with the problem.

When I worked as a quality assurance engineer my job was to find problems and when I left the office I continued finding problems. I found billboards with misspellings. Newspapers with poor grammar. Stuff in my life that was assembled wrong. And so forth. But the truth of the matter was that although these were “problems” for the common person, and on the grand scheme of things, they were inconsequential.

I think the quality of our life, and the ability for our children to grow up confident rather than afraid, out weights over the top paranoid reactions to events that have a low likelihood of ever happening to most people.

I am a scout leader and have been trained on child safety and protecting our children. I am a father of five. I want no harm to come to my children or anyone else’s. But like the woman who allowed her 9 year old to travel the subway alone, I want my children to live life to its fullest. I want them street smart but trusting because I believe by breeding trust we help make the problems go away. Don’t treat symptoms; treat problems. Ask the adults around you and I think you will find most of us lived as a child safely being away from home all day long and not abiding by any of the safety recommendations of this day and we all turned out okay. Using reasonable safety measures and common sense makes our children very safe today.

Yes, abductions are easy. So is drowning but that didn’t stop me from taking my children to the ocean and letting them have the time of their lives this summer.

I feel bad for the children Evie has had to help. They should have never been in such a predicament. Isn’t it true that most child abductions are by friends or family? or someone otherwise close to the victim? If so, the stickers really don’t make a difference do they? According to, 75% of abductions are by friends or family with most abductions being by a parent in a custody dispute.

Evie, you do not live in the real world. You live in a microcosm and broadcast it upon the real world. No insult intended.

How children lost the right to roam in four generations is written on a UK website but certainly reflects similarly to how our children in the United States are treated. As a parent, the thought of my children roaming to areas where I cannot locate them is terrifying but that thought is hypocritical. As a child, I was told to be home at a certain time. I might go out and be in the woods for 6 hours. As long as I got home before 5pm, I didn’t get in trouble. And I would play without a watch. I knew the time based upon where the sun hit the tree tops. My mother had no way to contact me other than a loud shout. Today we have cell phones and FRS radios and GPS trackers. With such technology, why do we keep our children closer than ever? Shouldn’t we allow them the opportunity to explore and grow? Instead we keep them close to home. Doesn’t that encourage more indoor play? Or sedentary computer gaming? Perhaps keeping our children on a short leash and teaching them that no one can be trusted is not good for their health, mental stability, or overall development. Kids need the adventure of ‘risky’ play.

See also:How Far Did You Roam As A Child?

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Who put me on this soap box? With a tinfoil hat?!

Is Oak Ridge getting rougher? My reply to Atomic Tumor:

I often wonder if its not that things are getting rougher but that things are getting smaller. Years ago living in a small down with 3 television stations, the focus was on local news with bits of highlights of nation and world the half hour before local. I am sure school shootings happened but if you were in Wilmington North Carolina and the shooting was in Denver Colorado, it didn’t really impact you.

Now as the shooting is happening its beeping across cell phones around the globe like a stock ticker. We know everything about everyone as it happens. That’s good! But we must maintain a sense of perspective which is hard to do under the current fear mongering administration. The government, the media, and the preachers have people scared into giving up their rights! These people aren’t thinking; baaaa baaaa. Re-read 1984. Look at the what’s happening in the UK and how it could easily happen here. Watch Wag the Dog. I’m not saying go totally tinfoil hat on us, but if we don’t shock some common sense into some people, we are going to speed down a bad path. GW Bush 2008!

As an example, the Rocky Elementary School Principal is adamant that the children’s safety at the school relies on enclosing the entire property in a horrifically ugly hurricane fence. Will it have barbed wire? This will destroy a community school. No one will be able to use the playground on the weekends. Home values will fall. Is there really a threat to the children? I haven’t seen it and I’m not stupid or blind. But the principal is so caught up in the security assessment by some for profit firm (that’s what the firm is supposed to do!) that he doesn’t even want people talking about the fence.

In summary, we are now inundated with information that makes the world smaller but also stresses us with somebody else’s problem. Fear mongers react instead of respond thinking “this will happen to us” and in an oddly self-fulfilling prophecy, their lives get scarier because of the increased security due to "the threat."

[Source, AtomicTumor]

Update: Suzanne point out that the crime figures reflect that Oak Ridge is just getting rougher. From crime index (higher means more crime, U.S. average = 323.2):

  • 2000 = 361.1
  • 2001 = 368.8
  • 2002 = 462.5
  • 2003 = 478.4
  • 2004 = 506.7
  • 2005 = 507.1
  • 2006 = 450.3