We're glad our parents didn't have
these high-tech gizmos, but they make the scary proposition
of parenting in the 21st century a little easier.
It's every parent's nightmare: A 6-year-old boy is at the movies.
He goes alone to the bathroom, where a man abducts him, takes him
screaming and crying from the theater, saying, "I told you if you
acted up, I would take you home!" He puts the child in a car, and
drives away from the theater. Luckily, this true story had a happy
ending. But analysis of recent FBI reports shows an alarming trend:
Children are at the highest risk of being the victim of a violent
crime in the four hours following the end of the school day. It's
simple deduction when you look at the numbers: the growth of single
parenthood (up from 20 percent in 1980 to 27 percent in 1999) and
increases in children from birth to third grade receiving regular
care from someone other than their parents (up from 51 percent in
1995 to 54 percent in 1999). More than ever before, the numbers are
telling us that our kids are away from our watchful eyes for great
portions of their young lives.
One of the main facets of parenting has always been safety, and we
live in a world where it's a top concern. Take it down the parental
fear meter to everyday safety issues: latchkey kids alone for a few
hours before parents get home, toddlers wandering off in the mall,
trashy television, teens out with friends on Saturday night, safety
on the Internet. American Way combed the technology marketplace,
and we found some unique new tools to help parents parent.
Babies in hospitals aren't the only ones who need protecting.
Parents who worry about their children wandering off can snap on
the Stay-Close Alarm. Attach a receiver to your belt and a
transmitter to the child, and an alarm will sound if the child
moves more than the set distance away. Ideal for toddlers who like
to hide in department store clothing racks. $19.85; www.magellans.com