by Laura Sussely-Pope
In the Spotlight: Microchipping Your Child -- Love or Disrespect?
A discussion over the idea of installing a microchip or tracking device in children (the way we do our pets) was recently discussed on "The View." This was in regard to the Etan Patz story – the little boy who was kidnapped over 30 years ago. Since I don't watch "The View," I heard about this discussion on a BlogHer blog.
Apparently, Whoopi Goldberg said, "Is it too creepy for me to say, we should, we maybe need to start thinking about one of those little tracking things in children? Because they put it in our animals...I know there's all kinds of things in the Christian Bible that says don't do those kinds of things, but I just, you know...I mean, is that too crazy? I mean, we confined our animals when they, when they wander away. Is it wrong to suggest something like that?" Her co-hosts supported her.
What stunned me was the vehemence and disgust so many have, including the blogger, about the idea of putting such a tracking device in our kids. The blogger and many who agree with her, feel that it is too creepy and that Whoopi was suggesting that those who oppose the idea don't care enough about their kids.
Now, in fairness, I did not see the show so I can't say anything about what was said, how it was said, or anything else that occurred during that discussion. But I would guess she wasn't suggesting those who oppose the microchip don't care.
What I would say to moms who are outraged and claim microchipping is too "Big Brother-ish" is that they don’t have wanderers, runners or children with autism, Down syndrome or other special needs which cause them to wander away quietly and stealthily.
Allow me to speak on behalf of the many moms in my position. My child is 11. He has Down syndrome and is nonverbal. He's a delightful little guy. He loves EVERYONE. All you have to do is say, "Hi, let's go this way," and he's yours -- all yours. Maybe you're nice, maybe you're not. Alternatively, he'll just wander away. He has no fear and would not hesitate to walk onto a freeway. So would I microchip him? You bet! He has never seen a door he wouldn't walk through if the mood struck him and he has never met someone he wouldn't hug.
Is putting a tracking device in children like mine a sign of disrespect? If that option were available and I didn't do it, I would consider that a sign of disrespect.
Even for typical kids, technology today is so sophisticated that this tiny chip could surely be deactivated at some point. Certainly no 32-year-old adult wants his or her parent "tracking" their every move. But if it is my 32-year-old, such tracking would be a blessing.
So perhaps before making blanket statements, think about the big picture. This is another of the many parenting choices and decisions that responsible parents make and what is "disrespectful" is to suggest that parents, like me, are treating their children like dogs if they embrace the microchipping option.
What do you think about this? Would you do it? Do you have a wanderer?