Most parents would do anything to protect their children. Many famous people try to keep their children shielded from the paparazzi. You cover your child in helmets and elbow pads when they ride their bike in your drive way. Social media is for high school when your children can understand the danger of strangers online.
However, there is no way to protect your children at all times, or to tell them each scenario that could be harmful without having a terrified child. Therefore, it is necessary to take precautions of your own and make sure not to put too much personal information for strangers to see.
An Unknown Danger
Have you seen that soccer mom driving her minivan full of her four children? You have most likely seen her stick figure stickers on the back of her car showing that Landen plays Xbox, Taylor is a ballerina, and little Chase loves pirates. This may seem like a sweet way to show you support your children, but if you combine that with the names of their pets, the fact that their dad works out, and possibly a school or church magnet, the van reads like a weekly schedule.
Placing too much information on the back of your vehicle may seem harmless, but what if someone with ill intent sees the back of your vehicle? They now have access to everyone’s name, the pet’s name, and an activity that each enjoys.
Imagine the following: a person of questionable moral fiber sees you and your children get in or out of the vehicle. They see a “proud parent of an honor student at..” sticker. Now, they have the opportunity to go to the school where your eight year old is enrolled. Maybe your child gets out a few minutes before your arrival. The stranger approaches your youngster and says Dad is fishing with Oscar and Mom had to take Spike to the vet. The stranger is supposed to take Timmy to the vet to meet up with Mom.
An eight year old will have no problem believing that this person knows their family because the stranger knows so many details about their family.
This scenario is every parent’s nightmare. Your child may know not to take candy from a stranger, or help them find their dog, but how would they know that Spike isn’t at the vet with Mom while Dad and Oscar are fishing?
Tips for Staying Safe
Some information to keep hidden or abbreviated may be:
- Schools, sporting teams, clubs, or places of worship
- Names of family members and pets
- Your parking pass when not in use
- Work ID or Badges
- Paperwork with names, addresses, or telephone numbers
- Any other telling information that can be easily viewed through car windows
You can still have those happy family stickers on the back of your car, but try to do something creative. Get funny family car stickers (here are examples) like a zombie family or a school of fish. Your family members will know which sticker they are, but that car behind you doesn’t know any more than they would seeing you go into your local supermarket.
Being paranoid about everything is not the answer to keeping your family safe, but you still have to keep in mind that the less information you put out in the public for anyone to access the better.