Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Lojacks - You Know, For Kids

I actually managed to get out of the house for work this morning. On my drive, I listened to NPR. This made me happy. The story I had time to hear was about how parents are putting black boxes in their children’s cars so they can track their movements. I wasn’t so happy anymore.

The reporter interviewed a man from the North Shore of Massachusetts who had a “problem child”. She was drinking, smoking, and hanging out with the wrong crowd. When she got her driver’s license, her father decided to secretly install a black box in her car. It told him where she was and how fast she was going. The higher end units let parents flash the car lights or honk the horn remotely if the child is doing something wrong.

I have another idea for dear old Dad.

Instead of putting a tracking device in her car, why not take away the car? What kind of moron tries to replace the primary parental responsibility of instilling in their child the ability to make sound choices with the ultimate in passive/aggressive technological gadgetry? It makes me sick to my stomach to think about it. If your child does something stupid, punish them. Make them realize that they are responsible for their actions. These tracking devices allow kids to further put off growing up, a trend that is becoming increasingly problematic in today’s day and age.

Come on, people. Engage your children. Don’t hold them at arm’s length and stick a computer in the empty space between.

I’ve been itching to write the above lines morning. The story really got under my skin. Of course, something happened later today that made me reconsider everything you see above. When I first opened The Fourth Row for business, my initial post was about the loss of IQ points due to raising my children. Jokingly, I postulated that they would all run away in opposite directions at some point in the future. Not funny anymore.

This afternoon, just after lunch, Noah and Aidan decided to take a walk to burn off some of the extra calories from their meal. In front of not only Leah, but Mary and Lisa, they somehow managed to walk out of the kitchen, down the hallway, down the front stairs, out the door, off the porch, down the street, and around the corner. A nice man brought them back down the street to Mary, who was outside looking for them.

Holy Mother of God.

Our weekly guardian angel Betty has regaled Leah & I with stories of her twins, Charlie & Adam. One of them is how one day at naptime, they saw their older brother walking down the street to a friend’s house. They managed to open their window, climb out, and walk down the street. Betty didn’t even know they were gone. A nice woman brought them back.

No matter how many times you hear about the psycho’s in the world, there are 1000 people out there who will help you, should the need arise. However, this fact does nothing to dissuade me from seriously considering having Lojacks implanted under their skin..