This is a Public Service Announcement – or – Stop Telling the World Your House is Perfect for Robbing on Facebook!

As a blogger on a toy review website I am probably supposed to play it safe when it comes to my thoughts and opinions on toys I don’t really care for.  However, today I am going to lay it out on the line. I am fundamentally against Barbie dolls and toy guns in any form (pellet, darts, foam, water, etc.).  Ahhhh…feels so good to get that off my chest.  

Yet, like many parents before me I am continually reminded of the lesson that the more that I try and keep my kids away from certain toys the larger the attraction. My husband is generally supportive of my neurosis and tries not to bring what he knows I consider to be inappropriate toys/games/books into our house.  Although I would be remiss if I failed to mention the now infamous Toypedo “Launcher” which he ordered from Amazon right after our pool was built this summer. After a loooooong mostly one sided “discussion” about why it was “so inappropriate it made my head spin” I sent it back to Amazon and into some other family’s backyard.

In case you are wondering, my neurosis does not stop with toys.  I also struggle with the massive amount of inappropriate television shows, music, books, and general media aimed at my children. This is the stuff that keeps me up at night. How much is too much? How little is too sheltered? Do I succumb to parental peer pressure? Am I really as ‘with it’ as I think I am? I am guessing my parents thought they were pretty savvy in the parenting department too. Believe me when I tell you, they were not. Sweet and smart, but not savvy.

So where does that take a mom of two kids in elementary school terrified of what her friends with older kids tell her? Straight to the internet of course. There is a little part of me that believes that if I continue to read about kids and parenting I will be better armed. Like many a mommy blogger before me, I spend an embarrassing amount of time on social media sites. I like to know what other people are up to. I do much of this reading (stalking) while waiting for my kids – in carpool lines, after school activities and Saturday sports. Like many of you, I wonder why people are so free to share so much of their own and their kids’ personal information. If you asked me I would say I am SO careful. I only post pics of my kids when they are protected.  I don’t ever post information about when I am going away or where I am going (leaving my house empty for robbers to come) etc.  

BUT and this is a biggie; I regularly take pictures of my kids with my smart phone and send them to my husband. I send pics of haircuts, giant sundaes, silly faces, and of homework that came home with a good grade. Furthermore, I send these pics to our families.

Today while sitting in car pool line I watched a very disturbing video that I feel that EVERY parent with a smart phone needs to see. It very clearly lays out exactly how vulnerable we are, and how the greater the technology the more at risk our families become. When we send pics of our kids to trusted parties we are unknowingly putting them at risk.

The news today isn’t all doom and gloom – you didn’t think I’d leave you hanging like that did you? There is good news to this. If you do nothing else today, go into your settings on your smart phone, find your location services, and then turn your camera to off. This will protect anyone who gets a hold of these pics from tracking you and your family. Now after you finish that give your kids a kiss and tell them you love them! You may have just done a very simple thing to save their life.