Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tuesday Tip: Name Tags Do or Don't

When my daughter was born, I never bought her clothes or accessories with her name on it. For me...it was a safety issue. I was even more careful when she was a toddler. I did not want strangers to know her name. Young children may think that people who know their name are not strangers.

It is easy to remember to be cautious about children and name tags...but how about name tags for adults? How often are we required to wear name tags for employment, trade shows or conferences. I worked at a Friendly's restaurant during high school and college. One of my original name tags had my first and last name on it. My husband worked at a home improvement store and they changed their name tags to only include first names.

At trade shows, our badge includes our full name and company. I make sure to remove the badge before leaving the trade show location. This would be especially important when travelling alone on business. Could a stranger use that information to gain your confidence? Could someone pose as a hotel worker or conference attendee? How quickly could a stranger Google you or look you up on Facebook? How much information about family, employment, location and your children is readily accessible with a click of a mouse?

How do you feel about name tags for adults? Do you wear a name tag? Do you remove your name tag before leaving work or the conference? In the age of the Internet...does it matter anymore or does it matter more now than ever before?

Tuesday Tip: Name Tags Do or Don't


SueC said...

This is an interesting question Michele. I think there are two different ways of looking at it. When I worked in a hospital we had to wear photo ID. This had your full name, your signiture and a photo of yourself. It was designed to stop intruders/imposters coming into the hospital and reassured patients/other staff that you were who you said you were. It was designed to protect the institution and the people within it from harm.

However, I can see your point of view - the details of your identity may be used against you via the internet/facebook or just by a skilled manipulator gaining your confidence.

This leads to another question: how do you balance the security needs of the institution you work for against the security needs of the individual? ( I don't know the answer by the way!)

Michele said...

Hi Sue: I don't have an answer either! :) It is the reason why I left the post so open ended. It was a topic that came up in the dojo a few weeks ago. I was interested in hearing other points of view.

You make an excellent point regarding name tags in hospitals. I am sure there are many instances where name tags would be required for the reasons you discuss. I feel more comfortable seeing an official ID badge.

Thanks for commenting...I appreciate your input!

Steve said...

I personally don't have any problems with people knowing my name. For that matter, I don't worry about whether they know the names of my kids, either. Strangers hear the names of my kids all the time as we move throughout the city. "Lily! Get out of that fountain!"

I think that there are real, legitimate worries out there in the world. Are they safe while walking to and from school as they walk past a high school where teenagers are driving while distracted by text messages, cell calls and the radio? Are my kids being safe while interacting with others on the internet?

Basically, I believe that there are real fears and then phantom fears. The phantom fears are things like worrying about whether my child will be abducted by a stranger, be eaten by a shark or struck by lightning. Now, of course, these are tragic when they occur. But statistically speaking, they're very unlikely to happen.

Child abduction is exceedingly rare, particularly if you're talking about non-family abduction. I do what I believe are basic, common sense things to keep the kids safe, but their first names are not priveleged information.

The way I look at it, I'll focus on those things that really pose a threat to my kids. Like car accidents.

Michele said...

Steve: Thanks for posting your opinion. I appreciate your perspective and agree there are real and phantom fears.

When my daughter was a toddler, I preferred not to use name tags until she could understand the concept of a stranger. Now that she is older there is a different set of concerns such as internet safety, bullying etc.

Thanks again for commenting.