Hi Readers — First of all, thanks for all the help on the post before this one, when I asked for ideas and zingers. I printed out your responses and they really helped. Alas, as anyone who chanced upon my 3-nanosecond appearance on Fox & Friends this morning knows, the event did not go quite as well as I’d hoped.
The topic was whether or not parents should track their kids via a new GPS device, the Big Brother. Oh wait. Sorry. It’s actually called the “Little Buddy.”
While I think I managed to stammer out the fact that Free-Range Kids believes in training our children to be self-reliant rather than keeping them on a leash (electronic or otherwise), I don’t think I managed to get across my other big point: that the whole push behind a product like this — and so many other new “safety” products — is fearmongering. The underlying message is that the world is suddenly so dangerous, our kids’ very survival is threatened on a daily basis.
And oh how I would love to have had more time and presence of mind when the host, Gretchen, mentioned that extra surveillance sounded good to her because just the other day her 4-year-old opened the door and there was the UPS man!
My “debate” partner — a guy who sells another kiddie GPS device — sympathized with her terror and they both paused to dwell on the “fact” this child could have been gone in just a second. And how lucky that didn’t happen! And then it was my turn.
It is always my turn when folks talk about how quickly a child could be snatched up and disappear forever.
This image –the snatched child — is as American as apple pie. It is as common as Christmas cards. It is accepted as just the way life is, and to try to stand there (on Fox News, no less) and say, “Wait! Before we thank our lucky stars that somehow your child was NOT kidnapped from your front door, in broad daylight, in 2 seconds, while you were home, by the UPS man, let’s think how unlikely that scenario is!” sometimes feels like saying, “Wait! Can’t we all agree you’ve been BRAINWASHED by your own SENSATIONALIZED NEWS SHOWS to the point where you have a COMPLETELY WARPED, HORROR-MOVIE VIEW OF REALITY that you then COMPOUND with stories like THIS?”
In other words, it doesn’t feel like I’m delivering a message that is going to be embraced with a grateful, “Wow! Come to think of it — you’re right!”
And, in fact, embraced I was not. I was reminded by the hostess at the end of the segment that abductions happen all the time, many with unhappy endings.
And so the cycle begins a anew: Children in peril. Be afraid! After all, we are! Details, right after this commercial. — Lenore