Tag Archives: child safety

Disney Netpal Creeps Me Out!

19 Jun

You won’t be finding the Disney Netpal in my house. This week’s Jentasmic! tells you why. The bottom line?

Who could argue against parental controls that create a web-safe computing environment for kids? Not me, unless, well, that parental control system is designed by a corporation with a vested interest in making sure your kids are interested in their content, and theirs alone.

Should Kids Roam Free at Disney Parks?

2 Mar

Sure, we all love to debate Disney “controversies” like which Pirates of the Caribbean attraction is the best, or which hard-ticket Magic Kingdom party is the best, or whether it’s worth the extra change for the Dole Whip Float. But this week’s Episode 377 of WDW Today discusses a seriously controversial issue: Whether it is safe for adolescents and pre-teens to explore Disney Parks on their own for an hour or so at a time.

This is a topic on which reasonable people can disagree, and plenty of disagreements are reasonably aired throughout the podcast, and also on the WDW Today comments page for this episode. But there’s one moment I just can’t wrap my brain around. Mike Scopa stresses that it’s not just a question of whether you trust your kids, it’s also a question of how much you trust the rest of the people in the park. True enough, but then he goes on to list the people, presumably because these are people we should be scared of, and seems to imply that “foreigners” and “those Brazilian tour groups” are somehow some sort of inherent threat to our children’s safety. Scopa, say it ain’t so! Did you really mean to imply that tourists from overseas are a greater threat to our children than the average Guest?

I’ll be interested to hear whether there’s any further discussion on this topic during future episodes, and whether Scopa clarifies his words for us. He did predict that he’d be getting a lot of mail on this topic . . . and I’ll bet he’s right.

I also found it interesting that most of the WDW Today crew found it difficult to say at what age they thought it would be okay for one’s offspring to be alone in the parks. Should we wait until they’re thirty, as one podcaster joked? Seems to me this underscores just how hard it is to make this decision, and the fact that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

My son is 11 years old, and we give him a little bit more independence from time to time, a little more freedom to take care of himself. And of course we find it frightening each time he takes a new step. But we try our best to give him only so much freedom as he’s ready for, and to make reasonable decisions based on the actual risks inherent in each new freedom.

Everything in life has some risk, whether you’re 11 or 21 or 41. I know my parents still worry about me, and I’m a big girl now! And just as there’s some risk in letting him go, there’d also be some risk in not doing so. A recent conversation with a friend who’d never been left alone at home until she went off for college left me more convinced than ever that it’s good to give children their freedom in gradual, measured doses.

Just for good measure, while we’re on this topic . . . I went poking around a bit online for statistics on abductions at Walt Disney World, and didn’t really find anything. But I will point you at a few related sites I stumbled across:

(Plus, if you want a good laugh on a somewhat-related topic, and are willing to indulge my shameless nepotism, you might want to peruse Mr Broke Hoedown’s article, “An Exposè of the Baby-Industrial Complex.”)

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