Tech Talk Tuesday: Dropping Your Kids Off At the Mall

Ooh the interwebz are a scary place. You’ve got to get Spybot and Net Nanny as well as Anti Virus software and (if you’re lucky) you run Leopard on your Mac. You let your kids go to trusted websites for products they enjoy and WHAM.

You get this at


And yeah, that’s one of my favorite Moms @BesteyBoooms at the bottom of the page, mocking folks who like skittles, and clogging up the stream all at once. You can’t hate her, check out that smile.

There’s a message to be taken from this in two distinct (and in my world) equally important voices.

1. Don’t send out a message you can’t control. Viral marketing is wonderful and exciting and cheap, but she’s also a fickle two bit hooker that could leave you with a nasty disease.

2. Don’t drop your kids off at the Mall without taking them there first.

The lesson to brands: I get it, it seemed like a snazzy idea. Let the social media folks pick up your brand name and twitter, facebook, blog and my space it (yes, those are all verbs – leave me alone). It’s relatively inexpensive and hasn’t been done before, it’ll make a big splash.

Here’s the problem, I’m the Mom. I’m online for several hours a day, this is my living and I’m reaching out to other moms alerting them to block the word “skittles” from websites that their kids can visit. It was the rainbow flavored crotch shot that did me in. It’s not an attempt to punish a business, it’s just parenting. My kids come first. Always.

Yes, skittles got the eyes of the 18-35 year old men, but I don’t really see them at the grocery store. I’m there with my kids and a lot of other moms. We bribe reward our children for a successful outing with a treat every now and again. With a strict DVR policy in place, if you want to get to my kids you’ll need product placement or a website. My kids are out of the loop now.

The lesson to parents: It’s okay to have your kids online, it’s good in many cases and with some simple strategies it’s really quite safe. I drop my kids off at and Club Penguin with some regularity.

My husband and I will sometimes sit at the food court at the mall, have a cup of coffee and let our kids walk to a store together. We do this for a variety of reasons which include but are not limited to; building their self confidence, rewarding them for good behavior, getting some time together and teaching them social skills. Before our children walked around the mall together, they walked around the mall with us.

We’ve taught them to ask a mom with a kid for help, we’ve taught them to ask for receipts and to never go to the bathroom alone. We’ve told them that they need to say please and thank you but that if someone touches your hair (or any part of you) and tells you how beautiful it is you are to say, “Do not touch me.” and you say it loud.

The internet is the new mall. Before I drop my kids off here, I need to be familiar with it. I need to block popups and known spyware sites, I need to show my kids that your friends are people who have been to your home, people online aren’t your friends, they’re just people, and they may or may not be who they say they are. My kids will see porn online one day. I’m sure it will happen quite by accident, but I’m trying to delay it as long as possible.

Parents, get to know the new mall. The boogeyman is scarey, the web doesn’t need to be, we all just need to be more informed. Today you know that is a site that should be blocked from children.

If you’re wondering what Skittles did, Mashable has some screenshots before it got porn-ish. Mashable thinks it was a great experiment, clearly they will buy the candy.

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