Wednesday 21 March 2012


Stop the world, I'm getting off

Children's apparel of the future (listing for cute shirts here)

I received an email from a company this morning with the typical 'we wrote an article you and your readers might find interesting' spiel. Although I knew there was every likelihood that clicking through would make me feel stabby, I did anyway. It was 'Ten Places We Shouldn't Mention Our Kids' Names'*. Now, people who would write lists like these normally summarise as ANYWHERE ONLINE. Curious to know what they would name for the remaining nine places, I clicked. And here they are: children's sporting events, professional sporting events, the shops, Facebook, amusement parks, the grocery store, restaurants, big discount shops (especially the toy aisle), the park, and at sports practise. Let's ignore for the moment that in order to get to the mythical Top Ten that sporting events and shops are each triple counted, and parks and amusement parks are double counted. The fact remains that this scare-mongering advice is not to speak your child's name even when they are with you because, for example in the grocery store:
...this is a really common place to hear a parent yelling at their child. Most times the child’s full name including middle name is often sternly expressed at the child. Now any stranger listening knows your child’s full name and where you grocery shop. Maybe they will go back there every day and watch to see when you shop there. They might be able to lure the kid away from you and then snatch them.
And maybe the last time we went to the zoo, a honey badger liked the smell of my kids, escaped, and is waiting for his chance to eat them. It could happen.

The vast majority (statistics say 98%+) of child abductions are done by relations or acquaintances who would already know the child's name. Am I the only person who sees articles like this at best ridiculous and at worst detrimental to having a sane and normal upbringing?

*Although I am loathe to send any traffic their way, if you must it's here.


  1. as far as i can tell the whole world and all its relatives in distant solar systems know my kids names! what the hell else an i suposed to call them? boy, girl, its time to go home! you'd end up with 47 of them following you out of the park!

  2. oh this is like the 'if you're female, don't go anywhere or do anything because these are all the horrible things that could happen to you' posts that are supposedly about protecting yourself but are actually written to scare you and 'put you in your place'.

    the best one was when i worked in the games industry years ago and someone in admin forwarded an email to all the women they knew about a supposed new date rape drug that could make you sterile. it took about 90 seconds to look it up as a hoax online, and then i let rip back to the forwarder. good times. *rolls eyes*

    why the hell did they email you directly with it? *boggles*

    (ps. I have made so many - i think 6 so far! - tunic dresses for my daughter and i'm still going strong!)

  3. Wow, you get some really sucky messages!

    The only dumb thing I saw was one school thought, in their wisdom, to put the names of kids on the back of their sweatshirts. Maybe not SO bright, but it was a good idea! As a teacher sometimes you see a kid doing something supid and you need to get their attention fast....

    Boy, but as a mum... no, sorry, not going to stop calling my kid his name in public. Although 'beast' and 'booger' feature quite a lot. =)

  4. Given that I don't have children, I feel like I shouldn't really comment. But my word, that is pretty daft. "maybe they will go back there every day....and lure the kid" or maybe they will just buy the milk/cheese/newspaper that they forgot. Funny how calling a child by it's name is a no no, but using "the kid" is fine.... wait a minute, maybe this particular child is called Billy? That would be awesome!

  5. You know what I'm normally so tired that my children never get called by the right name. They even sometimes get called by the dog's that will confuse them!

  6. I want to meet the abductor who would steal the child who is being called by his full name in the grocery store. He has my permission to JUST TRY to drag my 3 yr old out of that store. I will have my video camera ready.

  7. I grew up in a country in the Far East where many parents constantly fear that their kids are in danger of being child-napped by strangers and there has always been this belief that there are people trawling the streets / shopping malls / grocery stalls etc waiting for the opportunity to grab a kid and sell them off to child prostitution rings or Fagin-like operations where the children are smuggled out of their home country and into neighbouring countries where they will be used as street beggars. In truth, these horrible things have sometimes happened. I remember when I was young of being constantly told that 'bad people' will snatch me away if I do not stay very close to my parents when at the malls etc. Whilst I think that this email you got is pretty daft too in the western environment I live in now with my kids, I get how some folks from other countries might be alarmed by this and start adopting such ridiculous recommendations very seriously. My uncle who lives in the Far east is always forwarding these hoax type emails to me with stern cautionary comments.

  8. I don't mention my child's name on my blog, but at the supermarket...? My response to that is "get a life"! This is as ridiculous as the pc-ness the UK suffered from in the 1980s when some people said that a black coffee should not be called a black coffee because it was racist.
    So. I'm with you on this one.

  9. I am officially stealing your honey badger line the next time someone gets hysterical about this in front of me. Have you read Free Range Kids? I just finished it and it's refreshing to have someone say such common sense things out loud. I was at the airport recently and a mom told her child (who was on a leash) that if he didn't stay close someone would "steal him." There were about 40 people sitting around this tiny airport. Not bloody likely, lady.