AS I understand it Andalucia has already been ranked amongst the highest for child abductions in Spain and to add to this worry our children have become easy targets now on so many more levels over the last few years.
At a time when tourism is booming and we all tend to relax our guard (leaving our brains on the plane type of attitude) it is more important than ever to keep both eyes open and constantly on our kids at all times.
It takes but a moment for a child to wander off or to be lured away from your side and even less to accept an unknown friend on social media.
As if it wasn’t enough to be faced with the real, day-to-day challenges of bringing up a child, we are now also responsible for their virtual lives too; the ones they live on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the likes.
Super for keeping in touch with friends and family and sharing photos but also super for anonymous bullying, taunting or stalking.
Just by accepting a friend who’s not the friend we’d hope can turn a child or adult’s world upside down. The more technology advances it seems the more we are at risk.
The recent incorporation of a map function for the app Snapchat is a testament to this. Snapchat already uses facial recognition but this new worldwide map shows where the user is in real time, with live video feed and photo functions.
Just by accepting ‘a friend’ gives them instant access to your exact whereabouts at all times – virtual reality has become virtual insanity.
Unless the child (or adult) knows to switch this SnapChat App to ‘ghost mode’ (for private use only), anyone, anywhere in the world can look to see where they are and follow them (or worse).
We’ve always lived in a precarious world, but I don’t think most of us are ready for what this new virtual technology really means in our real worlds.
Our children are the most vulnerable, particularly over the next few summer holiday months when they are likely to spend more time on social media than ever and be that little bit further out of sight whilst playing.
My intention is not to worry anyone but just acts as a reminder that the Costa del Sol is on the border of Africa, in the middle of the thoroughfare to Spain’s capital city and we’re a major tourist destination.
There are people who make their livings off our ignorance and distraction, from petty thieves to those who deal in the black market organ trade.
As I often say, we really just don’t know who’s sitting next to us or who really is watching our children, so best play it safe!