It's a scary world out there, parents. Letting your kid explore the world or venture out on their own can be terrifying. Heck, even when I know my kid is with family who love him, I worry that he's not in my sight. My anxiety makes me imagine all the horrible things that could happen - he might get lost in the woods, or run away from his uncle in a store, or get hit by a car. Over the last week, kids have been hit - and some killed - by cars flying past bus stops. This hasn't happened once or twice - it's happened SIX TIMES in a matter of days. With that kind of recklessness going on all around our kids, how can we be sure that they're safe? Will keeping track of their location keep them unscathed? Is it overkill to put a GPS tracker on your kid so you know where they are at all times?
Listen, you're the parent of your kid. No one else gets to make these parenting decisions for you; unfortunately, some of those choices are really difficult to make. It's challenging to strike a balance between keeping your child safe in the world and keeping them in a bubble. Kids should be kids - carefree and not worried about all of these serious issues that trouble us. Yes, teaching them safety practices is great! But we don't need to scar them by showing them every post on Facebook about an attempted child abduction in Wal-Mart.
Teaching your kids tools like family codewords, safe evacuation plans, and who to ask for help if anyone makes them feel uncomfortable is hugely important. While most kids can learn some of these basics of self-protection, not all kids process them in the same way. Certain conditions, like ASD, can reduce the fear response that often keeps us safe on an instinctual level. While a typical four year old might realize that they need to stay close to their parents in a crowd of strangers, some children with ASD don't recognize the risk of wandering away.
Again, only you know your child best. If they are a wanderer, or a "jailbreaker", or they simply can't grasp the danger in certain situations, using a GPS tracker might just save their life. At the very least, it could save you quite a bit of worry.