UPDATE: “Over 700 Children are Abducted a Day” Says Viral Video


This pseudo-helpful video, posted Saturday, is viral in every sense of the word. It already has nearly a million views,  which means that people are sharing it like crazy, convinced that its creator, Joey Salads, is doing something other than creating terror, angst and hate with his Stranger Danger “social experiment.”

But he’s not.

As you’ll see, Mr. Salads asks parents if they’ve taught their kids not to talk to strangers — a lesson I don’t endorse, since most strangers are good and you want kids to feel confident asking strangers for help, if they need it. “You can TALK to anyone, you cannot go OFF with anyone,” is the advice I prefer. Anyway, here’s the piece:

Mr. Salads proceeds to startle the parents by showing them that their kids DO talk to strangers. He does this by going up to very young kids (kids so young they would normally not be at the park unsupervised) and asking them if they want to meet his puppies. Some go off with him.

Not addressed are a few salient facts, including the biggie: Isn’t it more than likely that these kids feel fine going off with this man because they just saw him talking to their mom? What’s more, their mom is right there! If she didn’t want them going off, she’d intervene.

After this bizarre scenario that he calls an experiment — without ever telling us how many kids he approached who did not go off with him — he says 700 kids are abducted a day, presumably by the type of person he’s warning us about: a “stranger.”

Which is interesting, as the U.S. Dept. of Justice puts the number of children abducted by strangers at 115 a year.

He says 255,550 a year.  The crime stats say 115 a year.

If 700 kids actually were taken by strangers on a daily basis, that would be closing in on 1% of all kids under age 9. So if you sent your kid to a grammar school with 500 kids, by fifth grade your child would have witnessed 25 kids — a classroom full — kidnapped the way they are on “Law & Order.”

But the story of how easily a child can be lead to his doom is one that TV can’t get enough of.  Here is almost the exact same “experiment,” on Headline News. As I said then:

A show that “tests” whether kids can be lured to a car with the promise of a puppy — the premise of this show — makes it seem as if this is a situation kids could very likely be faced with, something on par with, “Would your kids eat a cookie if someone offered it?” What is so hard to understand is that, first of all, the vast majority of crimes against children are committed NOT be strangers they meet at the park , but by people they know. So it is bizarre to keep acting as if the park is teaming with danger.

But this scary, misleading  message just seems to be one that everyone loves to share, as if it’s a public service.

As if parents just aren’t worried enough yet.

As if kids have just way too much unsupervised time outside.

Thanks, Mr. Salads. You have emptied the parks, locked children inside, and frozen parents’ hearts, with a big lie.

And a cute puppy. – L


Allow me to create a nightmare in your mind. (And then I'll lick you.)

Allow me to create a nightmare scenario that will haunt your days. (And then I’ll lick you.)


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244 Responses to UPDATE: “Over 700 Children are Abducted a Day” Says Viral Video

  1. Xander May 3, 2015 at 8:51 pm #

    “It already has 120,000 likes…” It has 250,000 VIEWS. Views are not Likes. It’s got just over 6000 Likes.

    Other than that, your points are valid.

  2. Montreal Dad May 3, 2015 at 9:14 pm #

    Despiriting for sure. We’re still a tiny counterculture. But countercultures become mainstream just one way: by fighting the fight.

  3. Dana May 3, 2015 at 9:20 pm #

    I shared this video and I used to to show my kid what the stranger danger scenario looks like. Danger to kids means scary – they expect an abductor to be scary. This video has its flaws and i thought of the stuff you’ve mentioned above (including the stat which seemed dodgy) but it did show my kid that dangerous strangers are usually nice, and have fluffy things – so don’t assume anything.

    I also thought that there were probably fifty kids that ran back to their mum too while filming.

  4. Michelle May 3, 2015 at 9:41 pm #

    Do you have stats for how many children are actually abducted by anyone, vs runaways? How do they decide whether a child is abducted if they haven’t found them yet?

  5. lollipoplover May 3, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

    This video is brought to you by your friends at Maryland CPS.

  6. caiti May 3, 2015 at 10:00 pm #

    Dana, I don’t know you or your kids, but you may want to consider teaching your children what their intuition is. They are generally more in touch with theirs than adults, and it’s got a much higher chance of being right about who to avoid.

  7. Warren May 3, 2015 at 10:06 pm #

    Joey Salads declares himself and entertainer on his facebook page. Message him as I did. Called him out on his statistics and his motive for making the video.

  8. lollipoplover May 3, 2015 at 10:13 pm #

    @Dana- My kids learned about “tricky” people when they did the sexual abuse prevention at school. Not taught from fear, but making kids aware that some people (adults or kids) may use tactics to get them to do things they don’t want to do and how they can resist and say no.
    Kids are much more likely to be victims of sexual abuse than a random kidnapping. Make a video of creepy Uncle Feely and educate kids on what to do in a far more common scenerio, Mr. Salads.

  9. Renee Anne May 3, 2015 at 10:25 pm #

    I refused to watch the video on the premise that I already knew it was crap. Don’t ask me why…call it my intuition. I didn’t know enough of the hard facts to call anyone out on it, though. Now I have them 🙂

  10. tz May 3, 2015 at 11:00 pm #

    Does this include the number of children abducted by strangers from Child Protective Services?

  11. Emily May 3, 2015 at 11:39 pm #

    Okay, the “stranger danger” advice was crazy, but hey, silver lining–they still have metal slides there. All the playgrounds here have switched to plastic, which isn’t as fast as metal.

  12. Kimberly May 4, 2015 at 12:38 am #


    I’d be very interested to hear if he gets back to you. You should definitely let us know if/when that ever happens!

  13. Ocean Zhang May 4, 2015 at 1:13 am #

    I wonder how often you take your kids to neighborhood playgrounds… While public parks aren’t as bad, whenever I go to a neighborhood park, I can count on seeing at least one child under 10 by her/himself without any adult in sight. It would not be difficult for anyone to walk off with these kids.

    I get your point. Don’t live your life in fear. But don’t be delusional either. Too many parents still leave their young kids at playgrounds completely unsupervised. Maybe that’s your parenting style, which I have no problem with.

  14. Jenny Islander May 4, 2015 at 1:45 am #

    @Ocean Zhang: So a child under 10–how far under 10? 8 is not 6, which is not 4–goes to a place that is prepared for children to run around and jump on stuff, and proceeds to do so, involving no grown-up. And so she might be “walked off with” by “anyone?” This assumes that a child who is old enough to find her way to the park without a grown-up can be just picked up and swooped away like a forgotten sack of potatoes. Why assume that? Also, the last time I checked (stats are on this site–feel free to read around if you haven’t already), the chance of her being struck by lightning out of a clear blue sky was approximately equal to the chance of a stranger abduction. So I shouldn’t allow her outdoors at all?

  15. hineata May 4, 2015 at 2:07 am #

    Oh Lordy, watched the video. Head ready to explode.

    Yep, surely even in the States 75% of people would notice if 700 kids went missing a day. Just made that stat up on the spot too.

  16. hineata May 4, 2015 at 2:11 am #

    Based on our relative size difference, roughly 9 kids have gone missing in New Zealand today. Damn, so that’s why Midge wasn’t on the bus today, must be off helping a good looking stranger with his puppies. ..

  17. Cassie May 4, 2015 at 2:46 am #

    “Just because you see someone with a dog, doesn’t mean you should go home with them”. I love the idea that we need to create a perfect list of every thing a child should not do.

    It would be like dealing with Sheldon. But mum, he didn’t have a puppy, he had a carpet python, you didn’t say anything about carpet pythons.

  18. Cassie May 4, 2015 at 2:48 am #

    I want to point out that all of these parents quickly decided that this man was safe to talk to, and they let the man walk some distance away with their children – without being afraid.

    This was a very interesting video about trust (hyperbole aside).

  19. Tanya May 4, 2015 at 3:24 am #

    Perhaps he meant 700 a day world-wide? (I know it’s hard to believe there’s a world outside of the U.S.!)

  20. BL May 4, 2015 at 4:46 am #

    He probably stole that puppy.

  21. Donald May 4, 2015 at 5:49 am #

    I would like to do a social experiment as well. I would like to see how gullible people are. People can become addicted to:

    The brain gives off chemicals in order to bring these emotions out. People can become addicted to emotions the same as someone can be addicted to crack. If I were to go around telling people that 7 thousand (not 700) children are abducted each year, I bet most people would believe it.

  22. Wow... May 4, 2015 at 6:34 am #

    Maybe he meant abducted at all?

  23. Jill May 4, 2015 at 7:15 am #

    I see Mr. Salads has made a number of “funny” prank videos, including “Bashing my Sister’s Laptop With an Axe,” and “****blocking Strangers in Public.” Such a helpful and responsible young man!
    What he’s done with the puppy/stranger danger video is just another stupid prank.

  24. Puzzled May 4, 2015 at 8:37 am #

    It seems to me that (in addition to obviously being able to not show examples where it didn’t work) he specifically selected for parents who teach their kids “don’t talk to strangers.” This rule is obviously absurd and not going to be followed in this circumstance – one where the man has a conversation with the mother, who then points out her child, followed by the man approaching the child. How would it work if he limited himself to parents who taught their kids to talk to strangers but not go anywhere with them? I suspect he’d have a lot less children going off with him – even assuming the 3 he shows are representative.

    If he approached me and asked me about my kid and strangers, I’d be very annoyed. I’d be so annoyed that I’d happily give him permission – then immediately call the police and deny doing so. Then he can make a video about how ‘stranger danger’ leads to paranoia and police overreaction.

  25. Puzzled May 4, 2015 at 8:37 am #

    Also, maybe he meant over 700 kids a day play with a puppy? It’s not as scary, but it’s true.

  26. Teddy May 4, 2015 at 8:51 am #

    Misuse of statistics to sensationalize a point really damages credibility for me. He doesn’t restrict his 700 kids per year number to abductions by stranger (though it’s implicit) or to abductions within the US. Unfortunately, this response suggests comparing apples to oranges with the 115 annual abductions by strangers in the US – equally disingenuous. As cited in another paper references on this site, the number of reported missing children is thousands of times larger than the actual number abducted by strangers. Maybe that’s where he came up with 700 per day.

  27. Michelle May 4, 2015 at 8:51 am #

    “If he approached me and asked me about my kid and strangers, I’d be very annoyed. I’d be so annoyed that I’d happily give him permission – then immediately call the police and deny doing so. Then he can make a video about how ‘stranger danger’ leads to paranoia and police overreaction.”

    I’d pay to see that. 😛

    Ok, not really, but it’s amusing to think about.

  28. Michelle May 4, 2015 at 9:01 am #

    Teddy, I think it’s implied that he’s talking about stranger abductions in the US, and if he’s not, surely he realized that it’s what most people will infer. Stranger abductions, because the whole video is about “stranger danger” and because it’s what most people are worried about and think are common. When people say, “There are too many crazies out there!” they aren’t thinking of family abductions. And “in the US” is implied because it’s not really relevant to people in the US if children are being abducted in Spain, unless we’re planning to go to Spain.

    Even if he’s not implying that there are 700 stranger abductions per day in the US, and even if people are not inferring that, giving an accurate statistic and explicitly putting it in the proper context is not disingenuous. At worst, it’s misunderstanding what he meant. At best, it’s saying, “I’m not sure where he came up with that number, but here’s a correct number and here’s exactly what I mean by it, so you can draw conclusions from it without having to guess at what I meant.”

  29. MichaelF May 4, 2015 at 9:26 am #

    Much as I want to watch I don’t want to be counted as a View on his page, Views are what are going to be counted as popular, regardless of likes or dislikes. The tricky part about Social Media is how it is used, and abused.

    Warren let us know if he gets back to you…

  30. Danielle May 4, 2015 at 9:30 am #

    That “700 a day” has to be worldwide. But you just can’t compare abductions in the US, or similar countries, to the kinds of abductions that likely make up that number. For instance, children being kidnapped in (typically) third world countries to be trained to fight in some war/rebellion (e.g. Sudan), or taken for child labor (e.g. India or China), or abducted along with their entire family. But that kind of stuff just doesn’t happen in the US… so teaching your child to fear that is just absurd and unnecessary.

  31. Papilio May 4, 2015 at 9:33 am #

    @Tanya: “Perhaps he meant 700 a day world-wide? (I know it’s hard to believe there’s a world outside of the U.S.!)”

    LOL, that was what I thought too! The USA must have been expanding wildly in order for that stat to be true (what continent did you just conquer??).
    Or maybe he thinks Boko Haram is active in America, abducting entire schools at a time?

  32. bsolar May 4, 2015 at 9:48 am #

    @Michelle: “Do you have stats for how many children are actually abducted by anyone, vs runaways? How do they decide whether a child is abducted if they haven’t found them yet?”

    There are official statistics: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ncic/ncic-missing-person-and-unidentified-person-statistics-for-2014

    “The Missing Person File contains records for individuals reported missing who:

    – have a proven physical or mental disability (Disability – EMD),
    – are missing under circumstances indicating that they may be in physical danger (Endangered – EME),
    – are missing after a catastrophe (Catastrophe Victim – EMV),
    – are missing under circumstances indicating their disappearance may not have been voluntary
    (Involuntary – EMI),
    – are under the age of 21 and do not meet the above criteria (Juvenile – EMJ), or
    – are 21 and older and do not meet any of the above criteria but for whom there is a reasonable concern for their safety (Other – EMO).”

    The vast majority of missing children fall into the “Juvenile” category.

  33. Jeremy May 4, 2015 at 9:58 am #

    Even 700/day world wide seems too high. That’s 1/10 million people in the world. If it’s uniformly distributed (which it certainly isn’t), we still get over 30/day in the US. Granted, countries with child soldier and sex trade problems will have much higher abduction rates, but I don’t believe the third world could possibly have rates high enough to balance out the low rates for most of North America, most of Europe, Australia, and much of Asia, and still come to 700/day world wide.

    Furthermore, I don’t believe that any organization anywhere in the world has accurate statistics for child abductions outside of the first world. More likely, if this number wasn’t made up by Salads, it is the worst-case rate from an estimate with very large error bars that was all but made up by some childrens’ rights organization.

  34. shannon May 4, 2015 at 10:21 am #

    I have already seen this on my Facebook feed this morning no less than 6 times, shared by moms that I thought were not total boneheads but apparently I was wrong. Stop, people! You are feeding the lie!

  35. SKL May 4, 2015 at 11:14 am #

    Funny, I just responded to the one I saw on facebook this morning. I said several of the things you said, without knowing you’d posted this. 😉

    Ironically, it was posted on the adoption page I frequent. To me the worst part was where the mom told her little boy that if he talks to strangers, he could be taken and not be with her any more. As an adoptive mom, the very last thing I would ever tell my kid was that talking to someone on the playground would lead to her being taken from her mother – again. :/ Very disappointed in this video from all sorts of angles.

  36. Brooks May 4, 2015 at 11:22 am #

    As I posted to this video, about the same number of kids are accidentally shot in their own home per year (including a one year old just the other day) as are abducted by a stranger, but you don’t see any hysterical videos about that issue.

  37. SKL May 4, 2015 at 11:23 am #

    Another thing – it struck me that that would be a great method for a real abductor to use. “I’m doing an experiment, do you give me permission to go see if your daughter will trust me?” Guy approaches kid, kid gets vibes from mom that stranger is not a bad guy, stranger walks away hand in hand with kid – and never returns? Yes, the mom was watching, but her guard was down until it was maybe too late.

    When we distort the safety level of a situation, we can increase dangers.

  38. Amy May 4, 2015 at 11:24 am #

    I’m going to do a social experiment to see how many people believe my made up statistics. Now THAT would be interesting, wouldn’t it? 😛

  39. bob May 4, 2015 at 11:36 am #

    “If he approached me and asked me about my kid and strangers, I’d be very annoyed. I’d be so annoyed that I’d happily give him permission – then immediately call the police and deny doing so. Then he can make a video about how ‘stranger danger’ leads to paranoia and police overreaction.”

    And he’d have you on camera consenting, you sociopath…

  40. Reb Andy May 4, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    I got this in my FB news feed, looked up an article in the Washington post and posted it. Hopefully we can mitigate the bleeding. Our society is ruled by fear, that is not healthy. It also makes us easy to manipulate.

  41. Michelle May 4, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    Thanks, bsolar! If I’m reading it right, that’s a total of 4,806 of under-18-year-olds who were reported missing and may have been abducted in 2014. Of which, we can assume a very small percentage were taken by strangers or acquaintances.

  42. Reb Andy May 4, 2015 at 11:48 am #

    You should comment on the youtube comments.

  43. sigh May 4, 2015 at 11:54 am #

    A quarter million a year? LOL

    Being able to lure a 4-year-old in a park is no proof that danger is everywhere imminent. Of course you can lure a preschooler. You could lure me too, with a more sophisticated ruse. If someone wants to do harm, they’ll find a way. But stranger harm-doers are really rare.

    Being able to get close enough to throw gasoline on a child and then light them with a match is a possibility too. Oh goody. Something else to thrill yourself with, the terror and worry and self-congratulation that you’d never take your eyes off your kid long enough for some sicko to set them on fire, no matter how unlikely it is.

    When will it end? I am in just as much danger every day of being abducted as any of my four kids. Yet I go about my business.

  44. Michelle May 4, 2015 at 12:07 pm #

    Jeremy, you made me curious, so I did this math.

    Approximately 15% of the world lives in a developed nation. The United States has about 115 “stereotypical kidnappings” per year, out of a total population of 318.9 million. If we assume that all first world countries have a similar rate, we could extrapolate that out to 385 kids per year in the entire first world.

    The other 85% of the world lives in developing or undeveloped nations. China has a really bad problem with children being kidnapped for illegal adoptions, slavery, and sex trafficking, with an estimated 70,000 children per year being abducted. If we assume that the rest of the developing or undeveloped world is like China, we can extrapolate that out to 312,408 kids per year.

    That comes out to 312,793 kids per year, or 857 per day, world wide. It’s not perfect. For one thing, people in developing and undeveloped nations have more kids, and I’m not sure how that would skew the statistics. But it’s not impossible for it to be 700 kids per day, worldwide.

  45. Michelle May 4, 2015 at 12:21 pm #

    SKL, one of my friends shared this video from another Facebook page, and the comments on that page were full of people scolding the mothers for allowing this stranger to talk to their children. He could have been an abductor himself! Then what would they do?!?

    There were also people upset at the filmmaker for giving real predators ideas for how to get children to go off with them.

    Does the fear never end?

  46. Puzzled May 4, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

    Cmon, Bob – no one will trust a video made by a child molester. He obviously doctored it in the 10 seconds he had to do so. He’s pure evil and beyond the laws of physics, obviously.

  47. Beth May 4, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

    “There were also people upset at the filmmaker for giving real predators ideas for how to get children to go off with them.”

    Seriously? Like no real predator would have ever in a million years thought of luring a child with a puppy until this video?

    People really dig for things to get outraged about, don’t they…..

  48. fred schueler May 4, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

    It does happen all the time – we abducted an almost-3-yr-old kid just yesterday. He came up to us and said “Gramma and Grandpa, can I go home with you in your truck instead of with Mommy & Daddy?” So we took him out to the river and taught him about aufwuchs.

  49. JP Merzetti May 4, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

    It’s a net drag.
    Joe Friday: “Not the facts, ma’am, not the facts.”
    The facts don’t matter a hill of beans.

    Danger, of course, is always what’s used to justify brain shutdown, zero common sense, and most of the rest of the phony baloney that I prefer to think of these days as a 21st century form of child abuse, in itself.

    You know, I like kids. Always have. Ever since I was one myself. I’ve often asked myself if the legislators and persons in positions of responsibility who come up with all the rules, regulations, restrictions and that ever tightening noose choking off the citizenship of young people actually do like kids?

    When I was a kid, it was understood implicitly that one simple set of smarts I should acquire as a matter of course, was a basic and fundamental understanding of what us kids used to refer to as the “creep factor.”
    Good old creeps. I remember it well. Us kids would exchange the common eyeball secret language, and understand implicitly what it meant. It wasn’t rocket science.

    The fact being – that non-stranger danger is infinitely more dangerous to kids. The numbers bear that out.
    It’s perfectly understandable for small children to be scared silly of what isn’t under the bed, what isn’t in the closet, and what isn’t down the basement. It’s a time honored tradition – that it takes someone who has balanced out their adulthood a little bit, to calm those fears.
    At times, the irony of this strikes me. The tables turn, and now it’s adults scared of shadows.
    Or more to the point……..moving pictures – and all the fantasies aided and abetted by them.

    Anyone well-schooled enough in the fine art of propaganda knows how to manipulate a medium for purposes of furthering an agenda. If you believe in working that puppy, you can get everyone believing in everything, and nothing at all, at the same time – whatever suits the purpose.

    I’m sure Orson Welles had himself a good chuckle after he realized his radio broadcast of War of the Worlds actually had the nation scrambling to defend itself against invading Martians.
    But then when it found out the truth, the nation had a good laugh at itself, and went back to the business at hand. As well it should.
    Sometimes, it feels like we’re forgetting how to do that.

  50. Donna May 4, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

    I have little doubt that my pint-sized puppy-lover could be lured by a puppy. Heck, being a bit of a puppy fan myself, I have no doubt that I could be lured by a puppy under the right circumstances. If we are going to insist that someone must be able to withstand any manner of luring no matter how rare or contrived before they can go unsupervised, nobody would ever be able to leave their house.

  51. Kimberly Herbert May 4, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

    My question is how many kids told this guy to shove off or went running to their parent scared – but that didn’t make the video because it wasn’t the point they were trying to make?

  52. JMegan May 4, 2015 at 1:58 pm #

    THANK YOU. A couple of my friends posted this on their FB pages, with captions like “Frightening!” “Scary!” “You can never be too careful!” And I watched it to the end because I wanted to see what his point was…hopefully something to the effect of “‘don’t talk to strangers’ is bad advice, here’s what you should do instead.”

    But no, it seems like his entire point was “BE AFRAID!!!!!!!!”

    I too was wondering how many kids he approached to get the three he showed in the video, and where he got the number of 700 children per day. I found this:


    Which does agree with the 700/day number, but only on a very superficial level. It goes on to say that 80% of those children are abducted by family members, while the number of “stranger abductions” of the type he is portraying are less than 1/20 of 1%.

    So he’s manipulating the facts to serve his purpose, and not providing any information as to what we can do to prevent the kind of situation he is describing. Blatant fear-mongering, and yay! he got himself a viral video!


  53. Kimberly May 4, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

    His social experiment is no different than spreading chum in the water, strapping a steak to a person’s leg, and dropping them in the water to show how likely a shark attack is to happen.

    On another note, the Krav Maga studio my kids belong to posted this video on their FB page. Ironic since they are supposed to be teaching these kids and adults to protect themselves.

  54. lollipoplover May 4, 2015 at 2:12 pm #


    I’ve raised 3 adorable puppies in the past 2 years and have brought them with me to public parks, sports fields, and all over creation to socialize them and to avoid leaving them for long periods of time at home (and resulting accidents).
    I am a kid MAGNET.

    I’m the stranger in this video who allows kids (the horror!) of talking to me.
    My dogs love kids, especially little sticky ones (popsicle juice is a favorite lick).
    So, I’m guilt of this horrible crime of socializing in public places, with children and somehow *endangering* them and putting them at risk of abduction.

    But the opposite is true. Interacting with strangers, the public, is a life skill to develop in children and adults. Communication skills, talking to strangers, are vital to social development. But we are instilling irrational fear in healthy kids for no reason. I contact strangers daily. It’s part of my job! What kind of workforce are we developing if no one can communicate without fear??

    I get approached by strange kids at parks all the time when I bring my dogs. I love it.
    It’s called socializing (or was). Most ask if they can pet the dogs first, what breed they are, names, are they related, can I walk them for you, etc. Sometimes parents come up, but usually only to make sure that it’s OK for their kids to play with my dogs but not to yell at them for talking to strangers. Most of the time I get “She loves dogs” and an apology but truthfully, I like dogs just as much as these kids. I also get a chance to help educate kids the joys of rescuing an unwanted dog (“adopt don’t shop”). What kind of sick person wants to scare off kids from talking to me about dogs?

    Stop instilling irrational fear in children with these urban myths.
    Puppies in parks are not causing hundreds of kids to disappear.
    The resulting anxiety and depression of being dysfunctional young adults, unable to cope in society may hit this number. What’s the daily incidence of suicide among young adults? THAT should be the true tragedy of creating this inaccurate video.

  55. Resident Iconoclast May 4, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

    If Joey goes up to children in the park, asks them if they want to meet his puppies, and induces them to go with him, then in my state he has committed the crime of “child luring.” It is a felony. I’d be fully in support of arresting him, and charging him with the crime. It’s no different really, than actually robbing a bank, just to show people how it’s done. I say, send him to jail for 15 years, and make him register as a sex offender for life. I’m sure, this would change his perspective on the situation in a positive direction.

    In the mean time, that type of person is as bad as Al Qaeda–just like our government–terrorizing people with absurd statistics. A recent survey shows that 44% of Canadians trust the internet. I wonder what the percentage is here. I’d say that distrust would be the first principle of anything one reads on the internet.

  56. Ceridwen May 4, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

    The guy comes along and says he’s conducting a social experiment, but none of the mothers asked about his school or credentials to do this experiment. Maybe he cut those parts out, along with the parts where he explained what he would do if the child went with him. Would they circle the big tree, then end back at Mom’s bench? Nothing on that.

    And, what on earth? These moms, who are so afraid of stranger danger, didn’t blink when giving permission to a total stranger to go and talk to their kids. The puppy ruse is well-known, and has been warned about at least since the 1960s, but the doing a study ruse… now, that’s just as compelling to the mothers as the puppies were to their kids.

    And, for a study, the parents would have had to sign forms allowing their child to take part. Did none of these mothers ever go to college?

  57. Liz May 4, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

    Come on now, we all know that 80% of Americans believe made up statistics.

  58. John May 4, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

    I didn’t watch the video and I refuse to. Because I’ll just get sooooo pissed off about it and I don’t need my blood pressure any higher than it already is! This is the kind of video that people actually LOVE to watch. If the story doesn’t bleed, it doesn’t lead. I think it’s the same fascination people have with horror movies. They love to be startled and scared.

    According to the producers of the show “To Catch a Predator”, 50% of all children were solicited online by an adult. BUT a Fox News correspondent, of all people, challenged them on that statistic and asked them to provide the data backing that up. Well, they couldn’t because it didn’t exist. Instead the figure was more like 1% and in the far majority of those cases, the kid and the adult never actually met.

    The question is, has Mr. Salads been challenged on his numbers? If so, it should be easy to refute him. But with America’s obsession with bad news and scary predators who eat children, perhaps nobody wants to challenge him but just to believe his nonsense.

  59. SKL May 4, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

    Odd, the post that was shared on facebook (at least the one I saw) isn’t there any more.

    It only got 2 likes on the adoption site before it disappeared. And my comment criticizing it got 1 like. So maybe there is hope after all. 🙂

  60. SJE May 4, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

    He’s as credible if he said that kids were abducted by aliens, and that the best solution is a tin-foil hat.

  61. Clarice May 4, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

    I understand where you’re coming from on many of your points, and it definitely has it’s flaws. However he does not state that it is 700 children updated everyday just in the US. He may be using a global estimate, and the figure will almost certainly be higher in less developed countries than the US.

  62. Jill May 4, 2015 at 5:13 pm #

    If I made a scary video it would start with foreboding music: Dum dum DUM DUM Dahhhh! Then a solemn voice would intone: “Child killers are everywhere. Virtually nowhere is safe from them. They kill over 260,000 children a year and injure an estimated 10 million. Here is one such fiend that could claim the life of YOUR precious child!”
    Then I’d cut away to a picture of a car.
    Unlike Mr. Salad’s video it would be based on verifiable fact.

  63. Warren May 4, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

    If he is using abduction numbers on the global scale, then he is even more of an idiot, than he appears to be. You cannot compare abduction rates of the US, or even Canada, to those of some third world countries. You are comparing apples to oranges. You cannot lump in abductions from these places with North America.

  64. Howard Brooking May 4, 2015 at 5:21 pm #

    Twain’s three types of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics. I think this man hit the trifecta. Truth is, though, that until people ween themselves off of Facebook and cable news, opportunists are going to literally capitalize fear. If you are on Facebook, you are part of the problem, especialy if you think you are somehow exceptional.

  65. Wow... May 4, 2015 at 5:38 pm #

    @Jill: Is it wrong that I want to see that video now?

  66. Donald May 4, 2015 at 5:54 pm #

    I was right! (unfortunately) Many people are addicted to the chemicals that the brain releases in order to get the person to feel emotions such as outrage and fear. They want these so bad that they don’t care where they get it from. I knew a guy that soaked his cigarette paper Clorox bleach. Dried them then smokes them!

    I made a suggestion of conducting an experiment in behavior. Instead of seeing if children will walk off with a man that has a puppy, let’s see how gullible people really are. Instead of saying 700 are abducted each year (as this page originally suggested) I’d tell people that 7,000 are abducted and see how many people believe me.

    It turns out that this video is saying that 255,500 children are abducted each year! People still believe it! Over 1/4 millions children are abducted each year and people swallow that BS hook, line, and sinker. I wonder if there is a limit to gullibility? I wonder if you tell people that 1 million are abducted each year and people will still believe it. Perhaps they won’t believe it but they will still seek out stories like this. (and like it on Facebook)

    It’s amazing what people will do for entertainment. Please see this page http://www.onmysoapboxx.com/false-info

    Don’t tell Fox News about this. They’ll probably do it.

  67. Sue Nasseff May 4, 2015 at 6:26 pm #

    It is not so much talking to the stranger, it is not going to your caregiver if someone the child does not know approaches the child. Always have a secret code word before the child goes with anybody, even family. So everybody is being careful of their most prized possession, so what. If it keeps one child from getting taken, raped, tortured, or killed would that not make you feel better. It is not important to you, until it happens to you or someone you love. In this day and age there is no such thing as a safe playground, kids get taken even if the caregiver is there. The abductor is bold and nobody will notice. It does not matter how many are abducted each day, it is the fact that there is an abduction of a child, even one is too many.

  68. Elizabeth May 4, 2015 at 6:44 pm #

    You know what we now spend more time on at our house than “stranger danger”?

    – What to do if someone at the park wants to know your age or “where are your parents?”
    – What to do if you get detained at a store by the security guard for being “too young to shop alone”?
    – What to say if the police or a stranger asks where you are going/doing/where’s your supervision?

    That is what keeps me up at night — wondering if someone is going to see my kids walking to the park alone and call the authorities — and we’ll go bankrupt defending ourselves in court.

    That’s real “Stranger Danger”.

  69. WillB May 4, 2015 at 6:52 pm #

    there may well be the number of children that have been kidnapped from their parents as his numbers suggest. As long as you take into consideration the ones that have been legally kidnapped by the government. and they don’t even use a cute puppy to get the job done. http://sosen.org/blog/2014/12/27/legally-kidnapped-by-carlos-morales.html

  70. Donna May 4, 2015 at 7:12 pm #

    @Sue Nasseff – My child is not my most prized possession. She is a human being, not a possession. Unlike my possessions, my child needs to be able to function on her own and she needs freedom to learn to do that.

  71. Kelly May 4, 2015 at 7:32 pm #

    Cassie, EXACTLY!!! He just said he was doing this, didn’t point out cameras, they didn’t show him coming back. I wouldn’t have let him go approach my child, even if it WERE abundantly clear it was a social experiment. As far as he was walking with them, they could easily have had a van over there and run off with the kid, then someone even tell mom ‘it’s part of the experiment, he’ll bring him right back’ or whatever. “Yeah, I teach my kids not to talk to strangers, but you, a stranger, who I am talking to, can go talk to my child… help yourself.” Grrrr. You know the kid isn’t going to go running back to mom just because someone with a puppy at a park talked to them. And of course they probably did see mom talking to him – one even waved at their child… and they only said “over there” when asked which was their child among many children. No clarification? Seems like a contrived video, never mind the ridiculous stat about 700 a day. If you’re trying to feed that hokeyness to us, the rest is supposed to be believable?

  72. lollipoplover May 4, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

    “So everybody is being careful of their most prized possession, so what. If it keeps one child from getting taken, raped, tortured, or killed would that not make you feel better.”

    Children are not objects or possessions. They are thinking, feeling, capable human beings that will one day need to navigate this crazy world of ours, strangers and all.

    What about “If it keeps one child from being killed in a car accident, you should never drive your car” or “If it keeps one child from developing a debilitating anxiety disorder based on irrational fear of abduction, leading to suicide”? Where does it end with keeping kids safe?
    Banning them from public places? Concealing their identities until adulthood and then releasing them into the world and expecting them not to be afraid of their own shadow?
    Stop it. Just stop. This madness of trying to prevent every death is what is harmful to children. YOU are the problem.

  73. Wow... May 4, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

    @Sue Nasseff: Bluntly, harshly and callously but succinctly: There is no such thing as a death rate of zero from a cause. What cause? Well…any cause really.

    “all substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison from a remedy” – Paracelsus

  74. Victor V. Soto May 4, 2015 at 8:37 pm #

    OK, so the statistics may be wrong. Or ARE wrong. I think the video is worth its weigh in gold if it can keep just one child from being taken by anyone not entitled to take him, stranger or not. Even worse from being molested.

  75. hineata May 4, 2015 at 9:29 pm #

    @Victor – once again, statistically speaking, kids are less likely to be molested by strangers than by their parents, relatives and people known to them. Maybe we should allow all children to be kidnapped by strangers….one way of dropping the child abuse rates.

  76. Laura Gold May 4, 2015 at 9:39 pm #

    Thank you for your important response to this extremely misleading and unhelpful video, which now has over 25,000,000 views(!). Several of my friends have posted the video and I’ve responded to each of them by sharing your sage response, Lenore.

  77. Andrea May 4, 2015 at 10:12 pm #

    Yes, strangers are not the most likely people to abuse kids. Why is that? Because predators are opportunistic. Therefore, if children ar e generally unsupervised we would see higher rates of strangers abusing kids. This should be obvious, but for some reason I keep reading the tired old argument that it’s adult the child knows who,s most likey to abuse them. That’s an issue of accessability and opportunity, not simply a function of being family or family.

  78. Andrea May 4, 2015 at 10:19 pm #

    The other laughable thing I’ve seen with some free range parents is wanting to step right in when another adult interacts with their children in a way they don’t agree with. Shouldn’t allowing a child space to navigate those social situations without their parents interjeciting be part of that process? I think so.

  79. Puzzled May 5, 2015 at 12:36 am #

    So Victor thinks that silly old idea of telling the truth is of less value than scaring people into behaving the way he wants. At least, that’s what he seems to think – who can tell when someone doesn’t value the truth?

  80. hineata May 5, 2015 at 12:43 am #

    @Andrea – heard of sarcasm?

  81. hineata May 5, 2015 at 12:52 am #

    But quite seriously, in my work with children I have met several who would be much better off with almost anyone than their biological family.

  82. J.T. Wenting May 5, 2015 at 12:57 am #

    “Not addressed are a few salient facts, including the biggie: Isn’t it more than likely that these kids feel fine going off with this man because they just saw him talking to their mom?”

    Or more salient: are these scenes staged, the children the guy’s own children or those of his personal friends…

  83. mary May 5, 2015 at 2:51 am #

    The fact is that this CAN happen and has happened in the past. Your kid getting kidnapped in the park IS possible.
    The message he was trying to convey (which you choose to ignore) is little kids DO speak to strangers (if you think they don’t then you as a parent are delusional). It’s easier to approach kids with something they like + being super nice …etc.
    Parents need to inform their kids that they should never go anywhere with strangers (not matter what), since I am certain all parents are aware their kids speak to strangers.

    I do agree with you, Don’t live your life in fear. But don’t be delusional either. You need to be certain your kids and you are on the same page in order to be safe and worry free.

    Also, one kid being stolen per year is a big number.
    Fact is that the majority of kids stolen, are from family members, or better said one of the parents (commonly after divorce). I too thought 700 was a big number.

  84. sexhysteria May 5, 2015 at 3:09 am #

    Over 7,000,000 little girls are mentally castrated every day. Why isn’t anybody concerned about that?

  85. Roger W May 5, 2015 at 5:29 am #

    Heh, I saw it here:

    and I commented:

    Um, so that’s 2 in 2 weeks in 1/2 of NZ? So 2 a week? or one every 3.5 days? That we know of that is. Of course, you also didn’t say whether the men were known to the children, so that might cancel out.

    Let’s see, 1 million children under 18 years old in NZ at the last census.
    So, if I let my child run the risk of being abducted every single day until they are 18, that’s ~6500 days (though really under age 1 shouldn’t really count)

    Let’s say 10 abductions per day, about 35x as much as that random figure above, so we might be over estimating the risk.

    Relative to the US population, you’d expect ~7/day based on the figure in the video.

    So every day, a 1 in 100,000 risk of being abducted, and a 99,999 in 100,000 change it won’t happen.

    0.99999 ^ 6500 is 0.937

    So that’s a 93.7% chance that my child would NEVER be abducted even at a ridiculously high rate of exposure (every single day).

  86. Beth May 5, 2015 at 7:23 am #

    “Also, one kid being stolen per year is a big number.”

    So is one kid being killed in a car crash per year. The actual number is far, far greater than that, but I’m still betting you drive your kids in the car.

  87. Tiny Tim May 5, 2015 at 7:35 am #

    GeorgeStephanopoulos @GStephanopoulos
    Next on @GMA: A frightening new video experiment showing just how easy it is to abduct a child. A must see for all parents with @maracamp

  88. SKL May 5, 2015 at 8:03 am #

    Am I the only person who thought it was suspicious that the first little girl guessed the dog’s name as Duncan? (Actual name is Donut.) Now why would a kid pull “Duncan” out of the air for a fluffy white dog, unless she had some previous donut assumption with him?

    So yeah, I thought it might be staged too.

  89. SKL May 5, 2015 at 8:04 am #

    I was thinking – maybe FRK (or a FRK parent) should produce a “shocking” video showing kids being approached by strangers (in public) and coming out totally unharmed?

  90. Donna May 5, 2015 at 8:08 am #

    Andrea – Even back in the days when children left the home after breakfast and didn’t return until the street lights came on (aka my childhood), the vast majority of abuse on children was done by people known to the child and not strangers.

    There is absolutely no indication that stranger crime, which has always been very rare, is decreasing. All crime is decreasing, but I’ve seen no numbers that indicate that stranger crimes make up a smaller percentage of crime than in the past which is what you would need to show to prove your assertion that constant supervision is helping. Since the numbers don’t exist, you are really just stating an unfounded belief as a fact.

  91. Jill May 5, 2015 at 8:16 am #

    @Sue Nasseff “In this day and age there is no such thing as a safe playground.”
    I’ll take that even further.
    In this day and age, just like in any other day and age, nothing is safe. Children choke to death on hotdogs. They are smothered by their bedding. They drown in swimming pools. They die in car accidents. They consume toxic substances. They fall down the stairs and break their necks. They are burned to death, shot and electrocuted. The list goes on and on. Children die. Often in horrible ways. Nothing is safe. Even drinking water can kill you if you drink enough of it.
    Despite the fact that terrible things happen to children all the time nothing gets people worked up the way stranger abduction does. People get fixated on obsessing over children getting “taken, raped, tortured or killed,” as Sue Nasseff put it. They lose all sense of logic and any critical thinking skills they might have had. It’s almost as if they enjoy imagining some innocent tot being carried off from the playground by a man driving a white van and subjected to the most depraved forms of torture that they can possibly imagine.
    Fear is addictive. There’s a man named Stephen King who makes quite a bit of money by scaring people out of their wits. But what he does is fantasy. Reality is far less exciting. It’s not the man in the white van who’s coming to get the children it’s cars and cancer and drowning and poisoning. Those are what we should fear, not playgrounds.

  92. Donna May 5, 2015 at 8:51 am #

    SKL – I agree that Duncan is a strange name for a child to pull out of the air. I suppose that the girl could have a dog named Duncan or know someone with a dog named Duncan and that is why she came up with it, but it makes it seem staged. Who asks a total stranger to guess a name anyway? The whole conversation seemed weird.

    That said, my kid would have almost definitely gone with him at that age to see the other puppies so I don’t find the girl’s conduct staged at all. My daughter may still go at her current age. The fact still remains that someone walking through the park with a puppy to lure children to their death is exceedingly rare. And even if all children everywhere stopped falling for the puppy trick 100% of the time, another lure would simply be devised. Nefarious people are not going to be completely stumped by kids conquering the puppy lure and just throw up their hands in surrender.

  93. Beth May 5, 2015 at 9:03 am #

    Duncan = Dunkin’, maybe, as in Dunkin’ Donuts?

    I’m thinking that she was told the dog’s name ahead of time, and either forgot it or was told to pretend she didn’t know, so she word-associated Duncan-Dunkin.

  94. sarah May 5, 2015 at 9:28 am #

    For me, this was a good reminder to do exactly what you said- not promote “don’t talk to strangers” but rather, don’t leave with a stranger. I will say though, when I was pretty young (early elementary school age) we were allowed to walk around our neighborhood unsupervised. One time a stranger approached my sister & I in a vehicle offering us candy. (I know sounds so stereotypical but promise it’s true) I would have gone for it but my sister was smarter and told me to run away screaming. We did and we made it home. I don’t know for sure if that person had ill intentions but thankfully my sister knew what to do to keep us safe.

  95. CrazyCatLady May 5, 2015 at 9:40 am #

    Last week I was a chaperone for a camping trip with kids from about age 8 to 13. We went hiking and school staff handed out cheap whistles so that if the kids got lost they could blow the whistle and someone would find them. The whistles were cheap and fell apart almost immediately.

    Because of things like this above video, I gave the kids better advice. 1. Stay near the group. 2. If you wander off and you find yourself alone and hear a stranger calling your name, know that the adults in your group TOLD THE STRANGER YOUR NAME, so that we could FIND you!

    As an additional strategy, we made sure that we had some adults spread out in the line of kids. Some in the front, middle and back. No one got lost, all had a great time.

  96. SKL May 5, 2015 at 9:49 am #


    I had a similar situation when I was with my younger sister. I’m guessing our ages at 4 and 6. A new-ish neighbor (whom we later dubbed as “the crazy guy”) invited us in for hot chocolate. I was skeptical right away, but my younger sister was unafraid and she walked right in. The guy made the hot chocolate. I refused it, but my sister drank it. (I was worried about poison but I wasn’t sure what to do.) Next the guy invited us to his bedroom to see his money jar. Again all my alarms were going off, but my sister would not listen to me, and all I could think to do was follow and protect her. He offered us a quarter if we would kiss him. My sister did, got her quarter, and at that point I knew I needed to drag her butt out of there. I then told her why she needed to be afraid (kidnapping). I did not know about molestation/sex, but I managed to scare her out of ever doing that again.

    When I was 4, a much older neighbor boy got me into his garage and was trying something, but thankfully a neighbor lady had noticed and come over to investigate before it got far.

    I don’t remember any canned speeches or warnings given by my parents about not doing xyz. But I do remember a story my dad used to tell, which he heard from his dad. It was called “Doctor Stocking-Toe,” and it was about a boy who allowed himself to be lured by kindnesses and promises behind closed doors, where torture ensued. I don’t remember all the details, but it was enough to make a kid think twice before accepting anything or going anywhere with a “nice” stranger. Though apparently it did not work on kids as young as 4. So that is why very young kids needed to be with an older sibling just in case.

  97. Le Fopps May 5, 2015 at 10:08 am #

    “Which is interesting, as the U.S. Dept. of Justice puts the number of children abducted by strangers at 115 a year.

    He says 255,550 a year. The crime stats say 115 a year.”

    So typical americans to asume he’s only talking about the US. Even though the number seem high even for world wide, he’s not saying “in murica, 700 hundred children are abducted each day”.

    Atleast try to think outside the box…

  98. Andrea May 5, 2015 at 10:18 am #

    Donna my belief is not that there would be more stranger predators than family or friends, only that rates would be higher than a rare event, as it often presented. If you feel the benefits outweigh the risks, feel free to let your roam unsupervised, but don,t characterize parents who prefer to
    reduce that risk as paranoid freaks. It is possible to allow freedom and independence without adhering to some trendy parenting styLe free range parenting.

  99. Warren May 5, 2015 at 10:22 am #

    Well haven’t heard back from this guy, as of yet. Go firgure.

    As for the dog’s name………..I assumed that she more than likely heard Joey tell the name to numerous other kids, you know the ones that didn’t go off with him. Then just repeated what she thought she had overheard. Considering the lack of controls to this socalled experiment, I highly doubt he would wait for the parks users to leave and be replaced by new ones everytime he failed to lure a child.

    How bout we do our own experiment. I will troll public places showing people cellphones, or tablets or something at great prices, and see how many are willing to follow me to the parking lot. I bet we could lure more adults than he did kids.

  100. Warren May 5, 2015 at 10:29 am #


    You failed to notice, or just chose to ignore that Donna points out that stranger crimes have not gone down because of the “trendy parenting style” of overprotecting your kids. The numbers have remained fairly static thru the decades. So you have gone thru our childhood with Free Range freedom, through the recent hyper vigilant parenting decades, and the stranger crime has not shown any effect of the change.

    Also, Free Range Parenting is not some trendy parenting style. How can teaching your kids and raising them to be capable, well rounded adults be called trendy. Oh that is right. Normal is raising them to be infants well through their college years.

  101. Andrea May 5, 2015 at 10:40 am #

    Also, I forgot to mention that I would be very careful attempting to make accurate comparisons between reported or even estimated child abuse rates today versus previous generations.

  102. SKL May 5, 2015 at 10:42 am #

    Ugh! My sister just commented positively on that video. My sister takes my kids to the park. I love my sister, but it makes me angry every time she (or other family/friends) make a comment, in front of my kids, about what a dangerous world it is for kids. A couple weeks ago she was chiding me for not being more protective about other people’s dogs around my kids (at the park). Ugh ugh ugh ugh.

    My kids are drinking the kool-aid, too. They hear it from too many people. What does Mom know?

  103. Andrea May 5, 2015 at 10:45 am #

    Also, it’s a false premise to assume Anything less than allowing kids to run free range means they’re being hovered over or their parents are overprotective.

  104. Andrea May 5, 2015 at 10:48 am #

    There is more than one way to get a well rounded adult with strong skills of executive functioning than this label and trend of free range parenting. Yet another leap.

  105. Andrea May 5, 2015 at 10:53 am #

    Additionallly, this idea free range is dependent on where you live. It’s hardly remarkable when your upper middle class white kid is roaming around the upper east side. In many neighborhoods, You, general, would be nervous to ride public transportation WITH your kids let alone them by themselves. Hence why I label this a parenting trend in higher SES families.

  106. Donna May 5, 2015 at 11:03 am #

    Andrea – On what do you base your belief that the numbers would be higher? Do you have any evidence that the number of stranger abductions was higher in say 1975 or 1965 or 1955 (when children regularly ran without supervision from very young ages) on which to base your assertion that it is supervision that is making this crime low? Do you have any evidence whatsoever that stranger-on-stranger child crimes are actually decreasing as a percentage of overall crime?

  107. Andrea May 5, 2015 at 11:09 am #

    I don’t and I never made the claim I have data on that comparison. I stated my skepticism on believing we actually have accurate data no matter what a person’s opinion might be.

  108. Michelle May 5, 2015 at 11:13 am #

    your numbers are inaccurate, 115 is the number for children transported at least 50 miles. The non family abduction rate for that year was over 58,000

  109. SKL May 5, 2015 at 11:19 am #

    I really think it’s more problematic that kids are growing up not knowing how to interact effectively with people outside of their tight inner circle. And being afraid to use human interaction to get important things done.

  110. Warren May 5, 2015 at 11:22 am #


    Maybe if you took the time to learn about Free Range ideas, you would know, it is not a blanket recomendation for everyone. One of the most important factors is knowing your kids, in combination with the envioroment, and the local laws.

    But then again, I have also found that too many people make excuses out of race, poverty, crime, and such. Because it is easier to not allow your kids out of your sight than it is to let them have freedom.

    The non family abductions, are by those known and trusted by the family. Not strangers. Nice try, please play again.

  111. Donna May 5, 2015 at 11:23 am #

    Andrea –

    Constant supervision is what is upper middle class. Poorer families don’t have the ability to helicopter their children. They are too busy working to keep a roof over their children’s head and food in their children’s stomach. They can’t afford after school programs or sport leagues or even babysitters. Poor children tend to be highly free range by necessity, many to an extreme that even us here would not consider particularly positive (ie choices we would not make personally because we have options, but not choices due to a of lack of interest in their children).

    And yet poor children are also not being abducted in high numbers. 16.4 million children in the US live in poverty, many of them free ranging by either necessity or actual neglect and there are still only 115 stranger abductions a year. Kinda defeats that argument that there is a supply and demand problem with children.

  112. James May 5, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    Take the video for what it is. It is an awareness on how easy it is for kids to trust strangers if they looks “nice” to them! No matter if you tell them daily not to do it.

  113. Donna May 5, 2015 at 11:27 am #

    Andrea – So basically you are saying nothing more than it is your belief that our actual facts are wrong. You base this belief on absolutely nothing whatsoever, but you believe it nonetheless. And this completely unsubstantiated belief is a valid reason to not allow your children freedom. Got it.

  114. Warren May 5, 2015 at 11:28 am #

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    They have just discovered a fantastic new way to avoid child deaths…………………Don’t have kids.

    For all you that think you can control your child’s destiny. That you can keep them from death. You are wrong. As our family doctor points out…………”From the moment one takes their first breath at birth, you start to die. Now it is just a matter of time.”

  115. Jill May 5, 2015 at 11:29 am #

    @SKL – The story of Doctor Stocking-Toe sounds awesome. Could he have been a real person who existed long ago and the story was passed down until his name was corrupted to “Stocking-Toe?” I NEED to hear the terrifying tale of Doctor Stocking-Toe!

  116. bsolar May 5, 2015 at 11:38 am #

    @Andrea: “Yes, strangers are not the most likely people to abuse kids. Why is that? Because predators are opportunistic. Therefore, if children ar e generally unsupervised we would see higher rates of strangers abusing kids. This should be obvious, but for some reason I keep reading the tired old argument that it’s adult the child knows who,s most likey to abuse them. That’s an issue of accessability and opportunity, not simply a function of being family or family.”

    You misunderstand the kind of opportunity a child predator usually looks for. The opportunity is being able to get the trust of a child and his/her parents so that the parents don’t suspect and the child doesn’t talk. Unsupervised unknown children roaming around wouldn’t change the fact that gaining this kind of trust is still much easier without raising suspect as family member, friend or caretaker than as complete stranger.

  117. Esther May 5, 2015 at 11:59 am #

    Can anybody here actually point to concrete numbers for child abductions by strangers? Neither 700/day nor 115/year seem to match anything I could find online (FBI, Dept. Justice, etc.). Maybe there are no reliable (or comparable) statistics, but maybe somebody can enlighten me here..

  118. Rachel May 5, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

    Thank you for keeping it real Lenore. We have so much to worry about already. If you want to be productive with worry, give your kids swim lessons and make sure they wear seat belts (booster seats/car seats when younger). The same number of people die a day in the U.S. in car accidents as number of children abducted by a stranger every year. Plus, overprotecting your kids when they’re young will make them all the more likely to act irresponsibly when they’re teenagers and there is nothing you can do. So give them age-appropriate lessons on functioning in the world independently -and start by talking to your damn friend while your kids are playing with theirs.

  119. SKL May 5, 2015 at 12:12 pm #


    I have tried a couple times to find the story online, but I couldn’t. Memory of the details is faded. I can’t ask my dad to write it down, because of his dyslexia. And he won’t talk about it because those kinds of thoughts upset him in his old age.

    Maybe I will write it up at some point, and get my siblings to tweak it with their memories.

    I wonder if something horrible happened generations ago, and the parents of the day responded by turning it into a cautionary tale for their children.

    Of course nowadays you aren’t even allowed to tell Red Riding Hood the way it was originally written, so Dr Stocking Toe would not go over very well today. But when you think about it, it has a good message – no matter how nice a person has been to you, no matter what he promises you, don’t go behind closed doors with him (unless your parents know). Horrible things could happen and nobody will know how to find you and save you. These crimes are rare, but they do happen. Kids need to be a little street smart.

  120. Andrea May 5, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    Of course it generally upper middle-class whites who are overprotective. Nevertheless, it is also primarily upper middle-class whites who adhere to free range parenting. Both are true.
    And would
    What could be easier than free range.Come on. Obviously one of the benefits of free range is it is less time intensive for parets, which is a good thing.

  121. SKL May 5, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    OK I just realized that my last post sounded a little sensationalist. But it’s a good message to tell kids not to GO (alone, out of sight) with ANYONE that the parents don’t approve.

    I don’t mean kids shouldn’t go to the toilet with their daycare providers etc.

  122. Andrea May 5, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

    Yes, lower income kids are more likely to have less supervision than their upper middle-class peers, which, btw, is one of many confounding variables that puts them at higher risk of abuse.

  123. Wow... May 5, 2015 at 12:21 pm #


    I wonder what the definition of non-family is? If you look at child abuse definitions, the typical non-family perpetrator is “Mom’s live-in boyfriend.” Legally and by blood, not family but still very much part of the domestic situation.

  124. Andrea May 5, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

    Again, there is a lot in between letting your kids run wild and being overprotective. Generally, it is authoritative parenting that produces good outcomes in adulthood and that kind of parenting comes in more forms than only free range. Sorry, you all haven’t cornered the market on producing healthy adults.

  125. Andrea May 5, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

    I’m not misunderstanding anything. Familiarity forms trust, therefore a child who is familiarized and somewhat comfortable with adults in the community are naturally going to be more at risk. Since the statistical profile of the average predator looks like about most adults anyone knows, simply having more contact with more adults equals more risk.
    Look,I’m sure it might surprise some of you to know that I do allow my kid’s to roam. But i’m not under the illusion that it doesn’t come with some increased risk, nor am I writing of parents who don’t accept that marginally increased risk as paranoid. Their fears a r e valid even if unlikely. I ‘m just over the dogma I hear from fre range parents even if it is born out of a reactionary position.

  126. Donna May 5, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

    Andrea –

    No, it is predominantly middle class americans who refer to their parenting style as free range. Lower income parents just call it normal parenting.

    “What could be easier than free range.”

    Helicopter parenting is a helluva a lot easier than free range parenting. The lynchpin in free range parenting is extensive EDUCATING of your children before you send them out to roam. It is far easier, both physically and mentally, to hold my daughter’s hand every time she crosses a street than to teach her to cross the street, allow her to do it by herself while I am there and then allow her to do it on her own all the while stressing that she is going to forget to wait until she knows all the cars have stopped before stepping out and get hit by a car that ran the red light (common scenario on the road she crosses to get to and from school).

    In fact, EVERY person I know who helicopters does so because it is easier. Maybe not timewise, but stresswise. The only reason that they don’t allow their children to roam is because they would be worried the entire time that something less than perfect was going to occur.

  127. Jen Greyson May 5, 2015 at 12:56 pm #

    I blogged about this over on my site– I couldn’t add anything to the fear-mongering in the video, but I do think a media cleanse is in order. Since 9/11 it’s gotten so much worse and the media is playing on every fear we have–and as parents there isn’t one worse than losing a kid.

    Like one of the other commenters, I haven’t watched the video–no need to add another view. I already know it will make me cranky.

    This is just one more way to polarize us as parents and we have to find a way to all pull together, despite our different styles. We’re all after the same things–safe kids. The media will use whatever wedge it can to drive us apart and as a result increase their ratings. This guy is doing the same thing, using our fear to get a ton of views. I’m sure he meant well, but then, don’t we all?


  128. Warren May 5, 2015 at 12:57 pm #


    How many times must you be told that Free Range does not advocate “running wild”. It is not the same thing, not by a long shot. Freedom does not equal running wild. Going to the park and playing does not equal running wild.

    Now please either understand what we are trying to do, or stop with making insane comparisons.

  129. andrea May 5, 2015 at 1:00 pm #

    Donna i am not denying facts. I am scientifically literate and i am questioning the quality of the studies that formulated those so called facts.

  130. Warren May 5, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

    The results of this idiots experiment are suspect, for one other reason.

    How many of these kids that he approached actually have the life/street skills that we try to give our kids? I suspect that the kids that were lured do not have these skills due to the fact that mom is right there, mom always does everything, and they never were taught to handle this type of scenario.

    The kids, with mom right there do not have to think for themselves. They have a sense of security that in this case only caused more damage. A child playing alone, or with friends will react differently to all situations, as compared to a child that is being supervised by mom.

  131. andrea May 5, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

    Donna low ses parents are generally not describing themselves as free range. Parenting choices born out of necesity hardly qualifies by default as free range.

  132. andrea May 5, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    Ok, those socalled heli parents might also be educating their children. Hovering over a kid is more work, hence why i do not yet i am still having conversations with my kids. And why does it even matter anyway.

  133. bsolar May 5, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

    @andrea: “Donna i am not denying facts. I am scientifically literate and i am questioning the quality of the studies that formulated those so called facts.”

    Of which studies are you talking about and what are the concrete, scientific arguments which in your opinion put the quality of these studies into question?

  134. Tim May 5, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

    700 a day is a bit much, but looking at this study that gives us the 115 stereotypically kidnapped children statistic (https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/196467.pdf), there are also many thousands of children who do not fall under the definition of stereotypically kidnapped but are taken or held by a non family member and held for the purposes of committing a crime. So any statistic can be cited out of context of a larger study and be misleading or misconstrued.

    Even the 115 number is mostly older children who would not be following some dude to see a puppy:

    “Teenagers were by far the most frequent victims
    of both stereotypical kidnappings and nonfamily

    The more you read, the less the numbers seem to mean.

  135. Donna May 5, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

    Andrea – I never said that you were denying facts. I said that you are making an assertion without any facts to back it up. You insist that more children would be abducted if more children roamed, however, you have provided nothing on which you base that belief. It is simply a completely unsubstantiated assertion that we are supposed to accept as a fact, I guess just because you typed it. A scientifically literate person should know that you don’t successfully question facts with unsubstantiated beliefs, you question facts by providing differing facts.

    “Donna low ses parents are generally not describing themselves as free range. Parenting choices born out of necesity hardly qualifies by default as free range.”

    I am really not sure what your point is. The vast majority of people of all classes who allow their children to roam in the same way that they roamed as children because it is extremely safe to do so don’t describe themselves as free range. Read any article on free range parenting and half the comments that follow say something along the lines of “I thought this is just normal parenting.”

    I guess you are assuming that all ses parents who allow their children a free range childhood would do something different if they had more money. There are certainly some who step over the line by necessity who I do think would make other choices if they were available (the woman who left her toddlers in the car to go to a job interview for example), but still plenty for whom the concept of free range parenting is appreciated even if not by name. There is no inherent difference between a middle class parent who could pay for a babysitter but allows her child to stay home alone because she has decided that it is safe to do so and a poorer parent who can’t afford a babysitter but chooses to go out and leave her child home alone because she has decided that it is safe to do so.

  136. Kimberly May 5, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

    @ Andrea

    Please stop telling us that “free-range” parents let their children run wild in the streets. The whole purpose of this “movement” is to stop this random stigma that “free-range” somehow equals negligent and abusive. We are not abusive parents because we allow our children to explore their neighborhood as they mature. We are allowing our children to grow and mature organically and naturally through their experiences (as children have been doing since the dawn of time). That does not mean that we don’t step in when they are faced with a dangerous situation, but when circumstances allow for it, we choose to let our children make their own choices on how to proceed so they can

    1) Learn from any mistakes they might make
    2) Realize that they are capable of making (good) decisions on their own

    For example: I told my young daughter time and again not to reach up onto the counter at our local coffee shop because she might get burned. She continually did so. Then one day she went in to get a cup of water and knocked over a hot coffee and got burned. She never did it again.

    Another example: The same coffee shop had this old trunk that I was constantly stopping my daughter from trying to climb in to. Then, one day I allowed her to climb into it. What happened? She managed to lock herself inside of it when the latch flipped over. The experience scared her and she never did it again.

    I will recopy a study here that helps to prove what we are trying to explain every time we are forced to defend our parenting practices — that children can and are capable of protecting themselves in the majority of situations when they are given the proper tools:

    A study examined 403 attempted kidnappings {of children} by strangers or slight acquaintances that were reported by police or news media in 45 states from February 2005 to July 2006. It was conducted to learn how such attempts are foiled. The study did not look at successful abductions. Six in ten victims fought back and escaped, according to the ongoing study’s initial findings. Three in ten ran away before any physical contact, and about 10% were saved when an adult nearby intervened. (http://www.yellodyno.com/html/abductions_stats.html)
    – National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, USA Today 9/06/06

  137. Donna May 5, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

    “And why does it even matter anyway.”

    Shouldn’t you be answering this question not us? We didn’t seek you out to argue with you. You sought us out to argue with us.

    As to why we care about parenting trends in general, it is because people can’t keep their noses out of other people’s business. I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in how you parent except to the extent that it impacts my ability to parent the way that I want to parent. As helicopter parenting has become more mainstream, it is causing too many busybodies to interfere with our perfectly normal and safe parenting choices.

  138. Kimberly May 5, 2015 at 2:05 pm #


    Even the NCMEC, the primary organization used by everyone who claims that children are in increased danger, doesn’t support this video or the use of the term “Stranger Danger”. They also state that the number of actual stranger abductions is closer to 100 per year.

    Let’s also add a counter-argument to the ever classic response: “tell that to a parent who’s lost their child”.

    The Polly Klaas Foundation also agrees with the NCMEC. If you’re not sure why that matters, look up Polly Klaas online. A 12-year-old girl who was kidnapped from her bedroom (while under the supposed protective net cast by her parents — further proof that parents can only protect their children so much).

  139. Donna May 5, 2015 at 2:11 pm #

    “The non family abduction rate for that year was over 58,000”

    But “non family” does not equal “stranger.” Most of the people I know are not related to me. The most common non family “abductor” is a boyfriend/girlfriend. Not the parent’s boyfriend/girlfriend, but the child’s own boyfriend/girlfriend. And it isn’t an abduction at all. The child willingly goes with the person, but does so against parental orders. The most common scenario is: girl is dating slightly older guy, parents of girl insist that the relationship must end, girl runs off with guy, police get called and guy gets arrested for kidnapping at worst and interference with custody at best.

  140. SKL May 5, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

    The annual number of kids under 12 who are “stereotypically” kidnapped is appx 45 per year.

    Also, more kids are kidnapped from their homes than from parks. Hmm. Where is the video warning parents about kids at home being kidnapped??

  141. Esther May 5, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

    Thanks, Tim, for the link! I had seen that study but didn’t look further since it was done so long ago. Amazing how blurry this whole field/question is, in terms of hard data, I really had no idea. No wonder people can exploit any so-called facts in all directions they want, fueling vague fears, getting into moral arguments (both ways), … sigh…

  142. mainerinexile May 5, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

    Wasn’t Joey Salads a character on the Sopranos?;)

  143. Pauline May 5, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

    This “experiment” and the resulting “statistic” is beyond silly. Not GOIING WITH a stranger was the one thing my parents hammered inot my mind as a child. My mum even used the very example used here: don’t go with strangers, not even if they want to give you candy or a PUPPY. I completely agree with Lenore here, telling kids never to talk to strangers isn’t helping them, because what if they ever need help and all there are are stangers? What if they get lost? Talking to strangers, sure. Going off with them to pet the cute kittens in their car, big no-no.

    Thank god I live in a country where not every male on the street is considered a possible paedophile ready to snatch your kid away.

  144. Pauline May 5, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

    Btw, none of these mums even asked for this man’s credentials or any proof he was really doing a legitimate social experiment….. Just saying….

  145. Cajava May 5, 2015 at 4:55 pm #

    Were the statistics mentioned world–wide, or just the US?

  146. Veronica May 5, 2015 at 5:24 pm #

    I know nowadays kids don’t walk to school alone, but I was a kid of the 70s-80s. I was in the 5th grade (83-84), and a classmate and her friend were accosted on their way to school. My classmate got away, but her friend was grabbed. Luckily, nothing really bad happened because my classmate ran screaming so the guy let her friend go. I know of too many parents who don’t teach their kids not to talk to strangers because they don’t want their kids “to think people do bad things.” And don’t discount the video because the kids probably saw the guy talking to their moms because he could have been offering to sell their moms drugs, or bootleg dvds (bootleg dvds are prominent in my neighborhood) and should still have been considered a stranger. Lets not forget Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus who knew their kidnapper since he was their schoolmate/friend’s father!!!

  147. Andy May 5, 2015 at 5:38 pm #

    We should be aware that trafficking IS serious and REAL and HUGE. There are millions trafficked every day – unreported, undocumented trafficking cases. It’s real. It’s big. It’s scary. Get real. 115 abducted a year? I’ve seen three abductions in the last week, just in my state. Hmm… seems fishy.

  148. Kimberly May 5, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

    @ Andy,

    Look at that stat again. It is an average of 115 “stereo-typical” stranger abductions. In other words, a complete stranger to the child and family. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children puts the number at closer to 100. I bet if you look at the 3 kidnappings in your area, you will find that the offender was known to either the victim or the family (acquaintance, family friend, parent or other family member, babysitter, etc.).

    As for trafficking, no one is denying that it is an issue, and a serious one at that. But don’t forget to look at not only the numbers but the facts as well. Illegal immigrants brought here as nannies and maids fall into the trafficking column. Child prostitutes working with pimps (more often than not runaways), fall into that column. Women and girls brought into the country illegally to work in brothels fall into that column. While these are tragic and have been ongoing for years, don’t forget that until very, VERY recently all of these examples mentioned were NOT considered VICTIMS by our legal system. When they came to the attention of law enforcement, they were treated as offenders and put into the system as offenders and prosecuted as offenders. Only in the last few years have the laws in the US started to change (much thanks to the many victim’s advocacy groups that have been working for decades to fix this flaw in our system) where these people are now being treated as victims.

    In effect, the numbers of trafficked persons aren’t going up. They’ve always been there, just filed in the wrong column (so to speak).

  149. Papilio May 5, 2015 at 6:00 pm #

    @Cajava: You’re optimistically assuming the person who made this stat up is aware there’s a difference?

  150. Serina May 5, 2015 at 6:27 pm #

    Although I see your point, and his statistics may be off, there is validity in what he said. I too thought, well maybe the kids JUST saw the parent talking to him, so they thought it okay. But that is the scary part that brings up another point. so if a pedofile makes small talk with me in the park, then talks to my child there is a good chance they will talk to him. Thats a sneaky way to gain the trust of a child. There is another level of discussion that needs to take place with kids. the biggest is exactly what you said. It is okay to talk to strangers, because sometimes they will need to in order to get help. BUT NEVER go with them, and I teach my kids that if they do need help you find someone appropriate. Who is that? depends where we are at. In a shopping center, someone who works there. Anyplace with employees, get an employee. at a park I tell them to look for another mommy, but again to never GO with anyone. Beacuse in my book 115 is 115 too many, and better safe than sorry.

  151. Alyssa May 5, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

    “According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, roughly 800,000 children are reported missing each year in the United States — that’s roughly 2,000 per day. Of those, there are 115 child “stranger abduction” cases each year, which means the child was taken by an unknown person.”

    .. meaning a stranger could walk off with your kid, an estranged parent or relative, the grocery store clerk you’ve seen a few times, etc.

    There’s a difference between freedom and irresponsibility.

  152. The Mama Bear Effect May 5, 2015 at 7:26 pm #

    Thank you for this. It is very challenging to persuade people to not be sucked into the fear tactics of these ‘awareness’ videos.

  153. Amanda May 5, 2015 at 7:28 pm #

    you do realise there is more to the world then just the U.S… The man in the video does not say 700 children in the US he just says 700 children… There are MANY other countries that exist outside of the close minded Americans & many children get abducted from our countries too!!!

  154. Rafael Rivera May 5, 2015 at 7:34 pm #

    Typical of an American to think there is no world outside of their borders. He never said it was in the United States alone.

  155. Buffy May 5, 2015 at 7:43 pm #

    @Andy, who said ” I’ve seen three abductions in the last week, just in my state. Hmm… seems fishy.”

    Yes, I agree that you seeing 3 abductions in your state in the last week seems fishy. Though upon giving it some thought, I’m guessing you didn’t actually SEE them or you might have intervened.

    So. Could you provide us links to those 3 abductions? I’m sure with 3 kidnappings in one week in one state would have gotten extended media play.

  156. Ralph Marana May 5, 2015 at 8:06 pm #

    You are all missing the point. A point that would be made PAINFULLY clear if your child goes missing because of a guy with a puppy. The fact that he has other dumb ass videos means absolutely NOTHING!!!!

    It happens all the time to people who least think it will happen to them. Blowing holes through this is the dumbest ducking thing I’ve ever seen.

  157. Kate May 5, 2015 at 8:09 pm #

    I watched this video the first time and fell into the trap with the other Facebook sheep, thinking this guy had just opened my eyes to something important… and then I watched it a second time on this blog and read all of these comments and realized you are all so right. This is pure fear-mongering. Unfortunately, my initial knee-jerk reaction of “OMG, that is crazy, my kid would totally do this!” stems from the fact that I was actually attacked and molested by a stranger in public when I was a child, and I have warned my kids about stranger danger because of that. My past has haunted me my whole life and my biggest fear is something similar (or worse) happening to my children. But what does living in fear do for people? Absolutely nothing. And the comments here actually help me to realize that more clearly.

    I had typical 80’s parents; they told me not to talk to strangers, not to get in anyone’s car that I didn’t know, to come get one of them if I was concerned, and we also had a family “code word”. So when one day my Mom left my brother and I in the toy section of a store while she went grocery shopping, I am quite sure she didn’t think anything bad would happen. We weren’t even that young (I was 11 and my brother was 10), and her one request was that we stay together. So when I noticed this guy staring at us in a really creepy way, my instincts kicked in and I knew he was not a good person. His face is burned into my mind even to this day. So I tried to do what I was taught to do- go find my mother. The only problem was my brother refused to leave the toys. So I had to make a choice, follow the 1st advice of telling my Mom (and have to leave my brother alone), or follow the 2nd advice and stay with my brother. My child instincts knew this guy was evil, so I decided to go find my mother to tell her about the creepy guy. I did what I had been taught to do. I chose to follow the advice that I had heard fifty times and not the request my mother had made an hour ago. The guy followed me. Luckily he didn’t do anything to my brother, although I felt incredibly guilty for years for leaving him there in the toy aisle. However, I didn’t know he was following me, and he managed to corner me in a section of the store where there were no other people and no way for me to escape.

    After I managed to find my Mom, the first thing she did was yell at me for leaving me brother alone (maybe another reason for the guilt), and I was already in such a state of shock as it was that I never got the courage to tell her what happened to me until much later (at least 20 years later). So I’ve always thought if I could just protect my kids from having something like that happen to them… but after watching this stupid video and reading these comments I realize maybe I can’t? If I had stayed with my brother and not gone to find my mom maybe nothing would’ve happened. But as soon as I separated myself I became a target, yet I was just doing what my parents had taught me to do to keep me safe. If my mother had not let us go off without her, maybe it wouldn’t have happened either, but really in the 80’s, with two kids together, her in the same store, I’m sure it didn’t seem risky to her at all at the time.

  158. Donna May 5, 2015 at 8:11 pm #

    Yes, children are kidnapped all over the world. However, kidnappings in China or South Africa or even Mexico have absolutely no bearing on the safety of American children, which is the target audiencenof THIS video.

  159. Donna May 5, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

    Alyssa – If you happen to have relatives who would abduct your child if given the chance, then by all means YOU should not allow your children to go anywhere unsupervised. For the rest of us with normal family relationships, this is not so much of a concern.

    And, yes, there is an extremely small possibility that my child could be abducted by a stranger, including random store clerks. Less than a 1% chance. That is not even close to irresponsible.

  160. Beth May 5, 2015 at 8:39 pm #

    “It happens all the time to people who least think it will happen to them. Blowing holes through this is the dumbest ducking thing I’ve ever seen.”

    A) It doesn’t happen “all the time”. If it does, you tell me where.

    B) What does happen a whole lot of the time is kids being seriously injured or killed in car accidents. Do you drive your kids anywhere, in a car? I’d like an answer. Because if kidnapping is a huge concern for you, and auto fatalities are not, you’re not thinking straight.

  161. Beth May 5, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

    And could one of the commenters who is pro stranger danger please, PLEASE explain to me
    the concept of “don’t talk to strangers”? Do you really want your kids to grow up being rude to everyone they meet? How are they ever going to meet new people if they can’t ever talk to them? How do they make friends? Do they respond to new teachers? Do they interact with anyone on their own?

    I guess I just don’t understand how this tenet even works without making kids, and the teens and adults they turn into, rude and socially inept.

  162. Krista May 5, 2015 at 9:30 pm #

    Immediate gratification is too common today. Children do not know how to wait. I would want to see the puppies, too, but I would ask first. It is about common sense, too.
    We teach our children that we do not trust them by not allowing them to talk to people or let them walk by themselves. In 1970 parents were encouraged to have their children walk to school in NJ by themselves! There was much more sense of community then. Today we must drive, connect electronically, and speak only with people we know. We don’t even know our neighbors anymore. Let’s try to create community in person and teach our children to wait. We could prevent a lot of other issues this way.

  163. Erin Oriah May 5, 2015 at 9:44 pm #

    I appreciated that video and I appreciate what your saying. The fear mongering has to stop, its destroying the magic of childhood.
    I have never told my daughter not to talk to strangers cause it seems to promote fear in little old ladies, other unknown children and new families in the community…which seems unnecessary.
    We have a password now, she’s not to go with anyone unless they know the password.

  164. lollipoplover May 5, 2015 at 10:20 pm #

    So kids walked alone to school in the ’70s in NJ. In PA and all over the country they STILL walk to school alone. Every day! Mine have biked to elementary school for the past 5 years. You say “We must drive”. That endangers children the most! Car accidents are the leading cause of death among children yet in your misguided efforts to keep kids safe, your driving them around in a rolling death chamber.

    You know what my biggest fear is when my kids commute to school? The other parents driving their kids as this increased traffic is a very real danger to childhood safety. The mom who is texting and driving and oblivious to crosswalks scares me more than any staged child luring video.

  165. Laura May 5, 2015 at 11:34 pm #

    Ever think that his statistic is based worldwide not simply a US number?

  166. Warren May 5, 2015 at 11:47 pm #


    It dawned on me that these people that are defending this lunatic and his 700 per day statistic, by saying it is worldwide, and not just the US. They are the same ones that will yell at us for bringing up how kids in Japan take public transit, or babies being left in prams outside the tea shoppe, and so on.

    We cannot use other countries as examples in support of Free Range Kids, but they are allowed to use other countries against our parenting.

    It does not happen ALL THE TIME, to anyone. Get that through your thick head.

  167. Warren May 5, 2015 at 11:54 pm #


    Until you know the difference between reported missing and actual abductions, you need to stop tossing those numbers around.

  168. M.J. May 6, 2015 at 12:48 am #

    I’m glad you’re okay with 115 kids going missing a year. Because any more than that would be bad, but 115 kids, that’s totally cool. As long as its not your kid(s), right? Numbers don’t matter. In my opinion, even 1 kid going missing is too many.

  169. hineata May 6, 2015 at 12:57 am #

    @Roger W. – good on you for responding to the NZ Herald mention of this ridiculous video. Out of interest, can you remember any child abduction by a stranger in NZ that ended awfully except for Theresa Cormack? That was terrible, but more than 30 years ago now. Unconscionable that the Herald should be paying any attention to this crap.

    As for the reference to 700 being a world wide number, even if it was I doubt that talking to strangers plays any part in that. More likely for kids to be sold by desperate parents, stolen by Boko Haran and like groups etc. Not attracted to puppies. …

  170. hineata May 6, 2015 at 12:59 am #

    M.J. – really? Who said it was okay?

  171. WillB May 6, 2015 at 1:23 am #

    Any one that believes this nonsense had better go in for a mental health check.
    Because of a similar incident, making the accusation that there were over 1 million children missing in the United States I wrote this in 2011 the person making the comment got their information basically from the same document that I got My information. Amazingly, they didn’t bother to read the document apparently just took the large number and ran with it.
    do the numbers people , 700 day get real, can you say fear mongering

    1,325,600 Missing Children

    In a report by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Throwaway Children, an estimated 1,325,600 children went missing in 2002. Of those children, 115 were still missing at the time of the study in 2004 of that 115 were taken by a stranger. And that includes children that were snatched for ransom; children that were snatched by a disturbed or distraught person who wanted a child of their own, so how many are left that were snatched and/or killed by the a stranger that are hiding behind every tree? Actually, the report tells us that number is less then 40 out of the 1.3 million who went missing- that’s less than 1/100th of 1%. and of those 40 only some possibly by a stranger/sex offender And probably not by one on the SO registry.

    Retrieved from: http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/documents/nismart2_overview.pdf
    It is a sad fact that there are more children who die each year than just these 40. Many more. Most of which are entirely preventable. A report by the Center for Disease Control, defining the primary causes of deaths of minors in 2002, show that there were 17,759 children who died. Of those:
    1296 were shot to death by someone,
    145 were stabbed to death,
    89 were strangled,
    37 were burned alive,
    17 were poisoned,
    603 shot themselves,
    559 hung themselves, and
    6132 were killed in traffic accidents.
    Retrieved from: http://webapp.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/leadcaus10.html

    What are the chances a child will die by means other than being abducted and killed by a stranger?

    Our children are:
    16,770% more likely to hang themselves
    18,090% more likely to shoot themselves
    38,880% more likely to be murdered by a firearm
    47,520% more likely to be stabbed, strangled, burned alive, or poisoned
    183,960% more likely to be killed in an auto accident*

    *Of the children killed in auto accidents, 68% were riding in a vehicle driven by a drunk driver. Over 50% of those drunk drivers were a parent of the child.

    Although some people because of their anger over things that have happened in their lives. Choose to form form a type of tunnel vision only seeing what they want, Good Americans are interested in upholding the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of this country and recognize that those documents are designed to protect individual rights from the powers of the majority/ mob/government.

    True Americans recognize if you take away one person’s rights and freedoms. It will eventually lead to everyone losing their freedoms. Of the 820,000 people that are on the sex offender registry. Only a small fraction of 1% have what can be called pedophilia and to use that term to justify taking away the rights of the 99% plus is nothing more than bigotry to vent your hatred towards a group of people.

    Trying justify it in the name of protecting children would seem to be nothing more than a ploy used by vigilante/ victims advocates unless you are willing to stand up and fight for all children’s safety concerns, In areas such as drunk driving, domestic violence or Alcohol and drug abuse

  172. alexis May 6, 2015 at 1:26 am #

    i havent done my own research on the stats or anything but where you say, “Not addressed are a few salient facts, including the biggie: Isn’t it more than likely that these kids feel fine going off with this man because they just saw him talking to their mom? What’s more, their mom is right there! If she didn’t want them going off, she’d intervene.” i at first thought the same thing, well the kid could have seen him talking with the mom and then thought he was okay. But an abductor could totally use that as a way for the kid to feel comfortable leaving with him because the kid saw the abductor talking with the mom. But the person talking with the mom is still a stranger to the child and the child should learn that even then they should never walk away with them ( i agree that its okay for them to talk to strangers but not to leave with them) and the other part about the mom intervening can potentially not happen too. Parents are not always watching their kids the whole time and may be on their phones or whatever and not paying close attention. They could assume that their kid is behind the slide just out of sight but it only took the guy in the video about a minute to get the children to walk away with him which is probably shorter than it takes for the mom to look up from her phone and realize she can’t see her kid and then get up and go look for them. The video probably isn’t 100% accurate with the numbers and may seem construed but I think it is a good eye opener for parents that we need to pay more attention and teach our kids more that just say don’t talk to strangers and leave it at that.

  173. Warren May 6, 2015 at 2:02 am #


    No one has ever said that 115 abductions is okay, fine or acceptable. What we have said is that stranger abductions are so rare, that it is not a worry parents need to have hampering their parenting.

    You attitude of even one is too many, is rather frightening, because you probably put your child in a vehicle everyday. The one most dangerous routine that all parents do. You do this everyday without thinking, without worry, yet you scream about stranger abductions. Sorry MJ, but that shows a very weak grasp of reality.

  174. Sarah May 6, 2015 at 2:30 am #

    I’m sorry, but no. It’s 100% good parenting to teach your children not to talk to strangers. Any normal adult doesn’t just walk up to a child they’ve never met and spark a conversation. They should know that’s not normal.

    I’m not saying pedophiles and murderers are hiding around every corner and under every rock, but they DO exist. And more prominently than we’d like to think. Idk about other people, but I won’t let my child be a statistic or percentage.

    No one ever thinks it will happen to them, not until it does. Call me paranoid. Don’t care.

  175. Ron Skurat May 6, 2015 at 2:34 am #

    Ran across this at dooce.com – I’m pretty sure she’s an unofficial FRK parent:

    “I’m surprised you haven’t been reported to child welfare with how public you are about some of the things you think and do regarding your daughter. Paper towels are very dangerous for your daughter to chew on. She could suffocate. don’t let her be alone with them. I’m amazed at how foolish you can be sometimes.”

    When you call Child Welfare, PLEASE get the story straight. Not only do I leave her alone with paper towels, I set her in the middle of a flea-infested floor and surround her with sharp objects and porn. Then I turn on a wood-burning stove in the corner of the room and seal all the windows. Before I leave the room and lock the door, I stick a bottle full of vodka in her mouth, you know, to muffle the screaming.

    Not actually recommended to tell the humorless!

  176. Ron Skurat May 6, 2015 at 2:42 am #

    My nephews live in a densely populated town outside Boston where all sorts of people meet & mix, Sarah, and I can assure you that normal people do in fact talk to kids they don’t know, frequently.

    There are always other folks around and not once in recorded history (>100 years) has there been a stranger abduction – estranged fathers or grandparents, sure, but no stranger danger.

    Social skills are a big boost in life & careers and I’m glad my nephews will have them.

  177. Warren May 6, 2015 at 3:10 am #


    I won’t call you paranoid. An idiot maybe, but not paranoid.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with talking to anyone, anywhere, anytime. No going off with someone you don’t know is definitely a no no.

    I hate to tell you, but I know many adults that spark up conversations with kids they don’t know. Usually when the child is demonstrating an interest in what the adult is doing, or something the adult has, or standing in line at the checkout, and so on and so forth. I would say that you are the one that is not normal, as you consider talking to kids to be off limits, and wrong.

    As for your child not becoming a statistic, well you will never be able to keep your child from becoming a statistic. If your child is not one of the ones that get snatched, then your child is one of the ones that doesn’t get snatched. Either way they are a statistic. Sort of how statistics work.

    Now as the saying goes Sarah, “Go learn things.”

  178. bsolar May 6, 2015 at 4:56 am #

    @Sarah: “I’m sorry, but no. It’s 100% good parenting to teach your children not to talk to strangers. Any normal adult doesn’t just walk up to a child they’ve never met and spark a conversation. They should know that’s not normal.”

    That’s actually *very* bad parental advice. The reason is that a child might find himself in need for help without a parent or guardian available and in many such cases asking a stranger for help is the best solution. If you taught your child to never talk to strangers he might be reluctant to do that, which might escalate his problem.

    That’s why the typical advice is not to associate all stranger with danger, but to teach children to recognise “safe” strangers and recognise dangerous situations, as explained e.g. by the National Crime Prevention Council: http://www.ncpc.org/topics/violent-crime-and-personal-safety/strangers

    “But don’t make it seem like all strangers are bad. If children need help–whether they’re lost, being threatened by a bully, or being followed by a stranger–the safest thing for them to do in many cases is to ask a stranger for help. You can make this easier for them by showing them which strangers are okay to trust.”

  179. Wow... May 6, 2015 at 5:26 am #


    Did you hear about Brennan Hawkins? This was an 11-year-old boy who was lost for longer than he needed to be because he classed the rescuers as strangers.


    And heck, there are some cases where you WANT your child to run to a stranger, never mind talk to them. The problem with “stranger danger” is that a young kid tends to run away from all strangers. Fine, if uncivil, for everyday life. But you don’t want your kid to run from a firefighter trying to rescue them which tends to happen with the typical “stranger danger” message.


    “Stranger danger” is DANGEROUS advice.

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  181. Beth May 6, 2015 at 6:27 am #

    “I’m sorry, but no. It’s 100% good parenting to teach your children not to talk to strangers. Any normal adult doesn’t just walk up to a child they’ve never met and spark a conversation. They should know that’s not normal.”

    So on the first day of school, they’re not allowed to talk to the teacher they’ve never met, or the lunch lady? Not a mother who helps out in the classroom? Not the checkout person at the store who says “hello” to them? The library assistant? No “hi”, no “thank you”, no social niceties whatsoever?

    Like I said earlier, rude and socially inept.

  182. Donna May 6, 2015 at 7:20 am #

    Nobody would ever say “it is not normal to strike up a conversation with a woman you don’t know” or “it is not normal to strike up a conversation with asian you don’t know.” In fact, as a social species, we consider these things not just normal, but highly desirable. Why are we excluding children from what would otherwise be normal human social discourse?

  183. Wow... May 6, 2015 at 7:37 am #

    Why do we put so much store in ‘normal’, anyway? There are PLENTY of normal behaviours that aren’t desirable. There are PLENTY of abnormal behaviours that are much better than normal ones. And there are plenty of behaviours that aren’t technically normal but….who cares?

  184. Edward Smith May 6, 2015 at 8:13 am #

    With Binfer there is no need to compress videos. Another nice option to send big videos.

  185. Puzzled May 6, 2015 at 9:55 am #

    In my opinion, even 1 kid going missing is too many.

    It depends what you mean by that. If you mean all kidnappings are bad, and shouldn’t happen, I agree. If you mean that even 1 kid going missing (ever?) would justify all sorts of paranoia and fear that your kid will be next if you don’t engage in a form of parenting that denies them basic social skills, then I disagree. Why exactly does 1 kid going missing (or 115) justify just an overreaction, but the number dead in car accidents don’t cause you to insist that they never get into a car (ever!) because even 1 person dead in an accident is too many?

  186. Eric S May 6, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    This is a perfect example of why society (especially parents) thinks the way they do. Fearful and paranoid. The slightest of notions sends them climbing for the hills. But again, they have selective fearing. Because there are plenty of other issues that are more likely to happen to their children, yet they would never think twice about it. Let’s use the car scenario again. More children are injured or killed in cars a year than his “statistics” on child abduction. Yet, he hasn’t made any videos in how to keep children safe in cars. And parents don’t think twice about putting them in one. And I’m sure many of these parents drive distracted while they have their kids in the car with them.

    I’m sure this guy means well, but let’s not kid ourselves. His primary intention is to get hits. Plain and simple. Because he knows there are plenty of people he can manipulate into clicking on his link. Even many of the comments on his page shouts of worse case thinking. No logic whatsoever.

  187. lollipoplover May 6, 2015 at 10:30 am #

    “It is possible to allow freedom and independence without adhering to some trendy parenting styLe free range parenting.”


    I am so not trendy. I still wear Docksiders. As for a *style* of parenting, I have none. I’m just doing the best I can to raise my kids to be capable, respectful, contributing members of this crazy society we live in. I try not to speak “at” my kids but more “with” them. 2-way conversations honestly help strengthen my relationships with my kids. I want them to grow up strong, savvy, and smart and hope to be a resource for them as they navigate young adulthood.

    I came to this website over 5 years ago. Honestly, I am a reformed helicopter-“Never talk to strangers” parent. 6 years ago, our school cancelled bus service in our neighborhood. Kids were classified as walkers and parents were outraged, calling it dangerous for the children’s safety, citing kidnapping and some even feared badgers and animals attacking children because they passed woods on the way to school. As for our family, we got on our bikes with the kids to see if it was as dangerous as everyone made it out to be. Turns out, it wasn’t. It’s a beautiful ride! Compared to the other option, driving them door to door and dealing with parent “drop off” and “pick up” hell, biking takes less time, feels better to get a quick burst of exercise, and overall is a much more enjoyable activity to do with my children.

    So I biked them to school every day for almost 2 years. Don’t call this “lazy” parenting. Some of the best conversations with my kids were on these bike rides. As for safety, we talked about the “What would you do?” scenarios that worried me as a parent (crosswalks: always stop look and listen, cars may not see you is a BIG one for kids) and which houses are friends and where they go if they have emergencies.

    There have been skinned knees. a bloody nose (riding with no hands, dummy), and a squirrel hit by a car that was given an impromptu squirrel funeral and a eulogy (by me) with a message about not darting into traffic. But mostly, our experience has been extremely positive. The kids are more responsible, check the weather every day and make arrangements to bike younger children for other families and get it done without needing adults holding their hand to get to school. It is “arrival” and “dismissal” and the kids are in control. Kids can be contributing members to our community if we let them.

    My honest fear is of cars hitting my kids. Look at the number of car accidents that kill kids!!!
    “If it saves just one”- why are kidnapped kids somehow more valuable that car accident kids?
    Why are you not instead taking this child-saving energy and focusing on the low hanging fruit- getting kids OUT of cars, walking and biking as alternative transportation to the #1 child killer, CARS? You’d also hit another child killer, obesity and diabetes. by getting kids to incorporate exercise as [art pf a daily routine.
    Yes, get involved and save kids!!
    Get them out of cars.

  188. bsolar May 6, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    @M.J. “Numbers don’t matter. In my opinion, even 1 kid going missing is too many.”

    Actually this is not true. As already explained many times there is no such thing as 100% safety: you can try to reduce risk as much as possible, but you’ll require more and more effort for less and less gain. On top of that, typically this effort has undesirable drawbacks, so you have no choice but strike a balance and the balance is typically not all the way toward safety.

    An good example is road speed limits. It’s demonstrated that reducing speed limits reduces the rate of deadly car accidents. Still you cannot unreasonably lower them, even if effectively it would save thousands of lives: you have to strike a balance between the safety and its drawbacks, which means you will have to decide that a specific speed limit is “safe enough” even though a lower, safer limit will always exist.

  189. Victoria Lybe May 6, 2015 at 11:30 am #

    Thank you for doing this. Please do more. Our society needs more eye openers. There is a wide range of topics that you can develop from.
    Thank you , Victoria

  190. Kimberly May 6, 2015 at 12:06 pm #

    @ everyone who says that a person talking to a kid’s parent is still a stranger to the kid:

    Do you remember having the stranger talk with your children when they were young? How many questions they had regarding what a stranger was? How many times you tried to explain that just because you know someone’s name, doesn’t mean they’re not a stranger? The confusion you felt as you tried to put into words where the line fell between stranger/acquaintance/friend? Do you remember how you found yourself thinking that what seemed like a simple and quick conversation was going on WAY too long?

    The point is, kids do not understand that there is a line between stranger/acquaintance/friend. Things are either black or white for kids — there are no shades of grey. How many times have your older kids come home bemoaning how they will “NEVER BE FRIENDS WITH ‘X’ AGAIN” because so-and-so didn’t want to eat lunch with them that day?

    Even now (my kids are 10 & 13), I find myself trying to explain to them how some people are acquaintances and not really friends. How I might spend more time hanging out with people I work with, but they are still really only acquaintances and not friends.

    Now you tack on all of the exceptions we put on the stranger rule. Policemen, firemen, mailmen, store security guards, store clerks, other women or families with children…Is it any wonder why kids are confused about what strangers are okay to talk to and what strangers aren’t okay to talk to? Then we, as parents, make it even more confusing by taking them to see Santa and expecting them to not only talk to the man, but to SIT ON HIS LAP! To the kid, Santa isn’t a stranger, but we all know that there’s someone entirely different beneath that red suit and beard.

    So, in conclusion, is it any wonder why children in this video — especially as young as they are — wouldn’t understand that anyone sitting with their mom, talking to their mom, smiling and laughing with their mom, shaking their mom’s hand, might not be considered a stranger to this child???

    The fact remains, there are just too many exceptions to the stranger rule to make it an effective safety technique to teach our children.

  191. lollipoplover May 6, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

    I have a friend who is a firefighter and teaches fire safety to preschool and elementary school children.
    He dresses in full gear and asks the children to come up and touch his face mask and tells them, “Firefighters are helpers who will get you out of a fire, please don’t run away from us and hide” as he tries to explain that although they look scary in all of their gear, their job is to save lives. The sad reality of teaching kids to never talk to strangers is that during emergencies, like fires and rescues, strangers trying to save the lives of children will face a more difficult task when children are taught to fear them.

  192. JJ May 6, 2015 at 12:59 pm #

    Kimberly, regarding the stranger-acquaintance-friend continuum, I agree. It is too nuanced for kids to understand. And what does it really mean in the context of “not talking to strangers” anyway. Just because I know someone doesn’t mean I necessarily trust them with my kid. Heck, I wouldn’t go off, myself, with a lot of people I “know”. You can talk to anyone but don’t go OFF with anyone (not even someone who is not a stranger). Makes way more sense.

    Also, can someone explain to me about the code word? I am not getting this. How does it work and why would you need it?

  193. JJ May 6, 2015 at 1:00 pm #

    Also, Lollipoplover, boating shoes are back in style. 🙂

  194. Buffy May 6, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    Isn’t it funny that the “one child is too many” group posts-and-runs when we ask them to explain why they don’t think “one child is too many” when it comes to injuries and fatalities from riding in vehicles? Crickets.

    And speaking of crickets, come on Andy. Give us the links for 3 abductions in one week on one state!

  195. Kimberly May 6, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

    JJ — I remember the code word idea from my childhood during the 80s when it really started to gain momentum after Adam Walsh and Kevin Collins disappeared. My parents never used it (we had a neighborhood watch program), but it was a really big thing.

    The idea is that you and your children come up with a word, a code word, that only you and them know. It’s not to be shared with anyone else. If an emergency arises where you are not able to physically go and get your children yourself, you would give this word to another person (family friend for example) that you have asked to picked up your children for you. This person would then give the word to your child and they would know that this person was there on your behalf to pick them up and therefore were a safe person to be with.

    The military utilizes something very similar in which troops are given a challenge and a response that changes often. When faced with someone who is unfamiliar or can’t be seen clearly due to the situation (night time for example) the person on guard duty issues the challenge to anyone approaching the site. If the person approaching doesn’t respond correctly, then they are to be treated as a hostile until otherwise proven.

    On a side note, looking back, the idea of a neighborhood watch is pretty funny. Homes were given these placards to be placed in their windows with the idea that any child who felt threatened could go to any of the homes displaying this placard for assistance. Yet, there was no vetting process for these people. Anyone could participate. Talk about worst-case thinking. A child molester could easily participate in the neighborhood watch to draw in any unsuspecting child in need of assistance.

  196. Wow... May 6, 2015 at 2:08 pm #

    @JJ: If you’re referring to the trust password, it’s a thing where you give your kid a ‘code word’ and you tell them that if you really have sent someone, you’ll tell them the password so the kid should ask for the password and if the person is genuine, they’ll be able to get the password ‘right’.

    If I recall correctly, it was originally designed for say, kids that have been taken from abusive families and subsequently adopted. Birth-family won’t be strangers if the kid was adopted at an older age but you don’t really want the kid going with them either. Hence, trust password.

  197. Cugo May 6, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

    No, the statics on Missing and Exploited Children states that 100 a year are murdered by strangers, not simply missing. The site also states there are in the 10’s of thousands abducted. Whether the child is abducted by a “friend” or a friend’s parent, or a stranger, the bottom line is that we need to better educate our kids.

    Your point that the child “saw” him talking to the parent and therefore that is why the child confidently went off with the stranger is unfounded. First off, there’s no evidence in this video to show one way or another that the kids saw the parental encounter. Secondly, what is to stop a perpetrator from engaging with any parent to test the waters before approaching the child? What better way is there to finding out how much the parent is actually watching the child.

    Don’t keep your head in the sand simply because you don’t like the video.

  198. Warren May 6, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

    LOL, I remember the password thing for kids. My youngest brought it up after they talked about it in I believe grade 2, one day. She stood outside the car, yes I was picking her up that day, to go to ball practice, anyway she insisted that we need a password for pickups. I suggested “Six miles.”. And explained that is how far she would be walking if she didn’t get her butt in the car.

    Hey they want to accuse me of being trendy, they can. Be the first time in my life, mind you.

  199. Warren May 6, 2015 at 2:43 pm #


    There is nothing educational about this video. There is no value to it. It is nothing more than a rehash of all sorts of scare tactic demonstrations done in the past.

    On top of that he lies about the data to instill even more fear. This guy is nothing more than a self proclaimed entertainer, using fear of child abductions to get his ugly mug on the screen in the hope someone will offer him a real job.

  200. WillB May 6, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

    here’s the really hard truth children go missing for any number of reasons and some, a very small percentage, may actually be abducted by a stranger the question is do we want to pass laws that are going to ham string. All of the children and parents to the point where a child can not have a normal childhood and grow to be a somewhat sane functioning adult. Instead of one that is paranoid, frightened, and fearful to go outside and interact with people, because someone is always out there to get them or hurt them I am so sick and tired of the scene in the statement if it saves one child , because I know what always follows that it is a law that in effect damages literally hundreds of thousands of children.

  201. SKL May 6, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

    To those who say there is no evidence the kids saw the parents talking to the guy: do you understand children? A normal young child frequently “checks in” visually or otherwise with her parent. It is subtle, but it is continual at that young age. I guarantee they noticed that guy practically snugging up against their moms, noticed their moms were sharing about the kids in some way, and also knew they were under mom’s watchful (not fearful) eye when the guy was interacting with the kids.

    And when the mom at the end confronted her little boy about it, he was confused. Why was it OK for his mom to be so friendly and trusting with the guy, if it was dangerous/naughty for the little boy to speak to him? This child did not learn anything useful; in fact, next time he is going to be even more confused about what to do when interacting with an adult.

  202. ajswillis May 6, 2015 at 4:46 pm #

    Thanks for publishing this. You’ll find our take on the video at the link.


  203. Aimee May 6, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

    There’s a LOT of comments here (I haven’t had time to read them all!) but here are my thoughts:

    1. I produce television. This guy totally could have had 50 kids who said “beat it, weird guy, I’m not going with you” – but those takes didn’t make it to his video because they weren’t within the scary-scope (anyone notice the vaguely scary music behind the vids? NOT an accident ;-).

    2. He only talked to kids who were playing alone. I think that when kids play with other kids, they have a (good) pack mentality whereby they tend to circle of wagons away from people who might be trying something sneaky like this.

    3. He only talked to really young kids. I mean, that last kid was so little he could still be held in his mother’s arms. That, to me, doesn’t disprove Free Range Parenting. When your child is so small you can still easily hold them in your arms, they might not be developmentally ready to be Free Ranging.

    This isn’t an experiment. This is just someone trying to see ad space on their YouTube channel. Guess it’s working – a lot of us watched it!

  204. Sarah May 6, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

    As a parent this is terrifying. Clearly, we can’t talk to our kids enough about strangers. You don’t have to live your life scared … check out LassyProject.com.

  205. Beth May 6, 2015 at 8:44 pm #

    “10’s of thousands abducted”.

    In what time frame? And how many were custodial disputes?

  206. Kimberly May 7, 2015 at 12:45 am #


    You almost had the stat right. Here it is verbatim:

    “The first three hours are the most critical when trying to locate a missing child. The murder of an abducted child is rare, and an estimated 100 cases in which an abducted child is murdered occur in the U.S. each year. A 2006 study indicated that 76.2 percent of abducted children who are killed are dead within three hours of the abduction”

    You might notice that nowhere in that fact does it state “abducted by strangers”. Therefore, with the totality of missing children listed in an earlier stat on the same page, that number suggests children who are also abducted by family, friends, or others. Not necessarily strangers.

    Additionally, since it seems I have a little too much time on my hands right now, I did a little digging on the California Attorney General’s website and pulled figures for missing children in my home state.

    Runaways — 449
    Parental/Family — 166
    Stranger — 17
    Unknown — 68
    Catastrophe/Lost — 8
    Suspicious — 66

    Of the Suspicious and Unknown categories (134 cases), 30 of them were children (including siblings) that were missing along with their parent or parents (i.e. NOT a family abduction, but that the parents may also be in danger or the family left willingly) and 3 of the missing under suspicious circumstances are sisters that went missing in Indonesia but were California residents at the time of their disappearance.

    Look at those numbers. 17 confirmed stranger abductions in the entire state of California over a period of time spanning decades.

  207. melissa May 7, 2015 at 1:47 am #

    Granted parents have enough worry, and children should be outside. And yes, maybe he misstated the facts. And the parents are there watching. But this could make some more aware of how quick it can happen. How many parents are on their phone and take their eyes off their child “for a second”? Someone the child knows can use the same ruse or similar. There are some bad people out there and as parents it is out job to keep our kids safe. We can still build confidence in them. I do like what you said about talking but not leaving but young kids are easily intrigued. Can they stop themselves? Maybe at that age “no talking to “strangers” unless your holding my hand is better”. Rules can change when they get older.

  208. Buffy May 7, 2015 at 7:01 am #

    @Melissa, so you never, ever take your eyes off your child(ren), even for a second? I’m calling bull; that’s just not possible. And if it’s true, I feel kind of sorry for you, never being able to turn your head, have a conversation with another mom, blink. What if you have more than one kid at the park – is it really possible to never take your eyes off any of them, even for a second? What if they’re on different sides of the park?

    This standard is impossible to reach, and your expectation that all parents (and yourself) should do that is judgemental and unrealistic.

  209. Mike May 7, 2015 at 9:25 am #

    Quite the diatribe. All I know is that my kids love candy and puppies and God forbid they wander just out of reach that something could happen. The only thing I like about what the author wrote is that you can talk to a stranger but not go with them. But trashing the entire video is ridiculous and I highly doubt parks will be empty. Give me a break.

  210. Mike May 7, 2015 at 9:28 am #

    Quite The diatribe.

  211. Brett May 7, 2015 at 9:59 am #

    Sure the video has some issues and the facts may not be entirely correct, but if even one child can be lured away by a stranger holding a cute puppy, then that is one too many.

    Despite its flaws, this video serves as an important reminder parents to discuss this issue with their kids and reiterate that not all strangers will look mean and scary, they can be someone who seems really nice as well.

    I for one am glad to see this video getting so much attention. At the very least maybe it’ll make parents be more aware of what their kids are doing and who they are talking with, rather than just completely ignoring them and burying their heads in their smartphones.

  212. Wow... May 7, 2015 at 10:28 am #

    @Brett: Do you drive your kids anywhere?

  213. Warren May 7, 2015 at 10:29 am #

    OMG…………..these parents and their smartphones. They are just horrible parents. Before smartphones parents were 110% focused on their kids at the park. Never once taking their eyes off of the snowflakes as they played. On constant alert for any and all dangers and adversity. Get rid of these evil devices invented solely for creating abduction opportuinities.

    Give me a break!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Parents were no more attentive before phones as they are now with phones. They were either all off at the benches talking away with each other, or most likely sitting quietly enjoying the time to read their book, magazine or newspaper. Things haven’t changed, just how they do it has changed. So please get off this smartphone distraction craze.

  214. Kimberly May 7, 2015 at 11:08 am #

    Brett —

    The problem with “stranger danger” is that it creates an undue panic in parents and takes their attention away from the bigger threat to children: people who are already in their lives. Uncles, babysitters, grandparents, family friends.

    No one is saying that 115 missing children (or even one) missing child is acceptable. In fact, it is 1000% Unacceptable. The problem with this video is evident in all the comments posted by people who are in support of this video: They all say how they’ll keep closer eyes on their kids while at the park, but none of them say that they’ll be more aware of the dangers closer to home when it’s a million times easier for someone who is known to the child and family to lure that child away.

    The question is really more about “acceptable” risk. Children are statistically unlikely to be lured away by a stranger and kidnapped yet everyday habits like driving pose a much higher risk to a child’s safety and well being. Yet we, as parents, accept that risk everyday when we buckle our children into the car because the odds of getting into a serious accident are small when compared to the actual number of miles driven every day by us. However, the fact remains, more children are killed every year in car accidents than are kidnapped by strangers.

    It is really impossible to reconcile those facts with not allowing your children unsupervised play but strapping them into a car to take them to a park.

  215. Mom in Canada May 7, 2015 at 11:11 am #

    He didn’t say that the stats were from the US only…the US is not the whole world…

  216. Warren May 7, 2015 at 12:06 pm #

    Mom in Canada,

    Again, if this moron is quoting his numbers on a global scale it only goes to prove how he intentionally is trying to frightenen people with inflated numbers.

    You cannot compare crime in the US, with crime in Somoia, or China, or anywhere else. About the only place you can compare it with is Canada, and even that is a stretch. Canada just does not have the same population and or population density as the US. So in many ways the US is isolated in many ways.

  217. Kimberly May 7, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

    No, he didn’t specifically say the US. And yes, there is a whole wide world beyond the borders of the US. However, one of two things can be taken away from the fact that he DIDN’T specifically say what geographical location he was referencing:

    1) He omitted it on purpose in the hopes that viewers would assume it was the US
    2) He omitted it through an oversight on his part

    Either way, it calls into question the validity of his ENTIRE “social experiment” because:

    1) if he omitted it on purpose, that implies that he twisted the entire “experiment” to fit his hypothesis
    2) if it was an oversight, then you have to wonder what else he missed or overlooked

    While I fully understand that he in no way planned or expected this “experiment” to come close to meeting the requirements for an official scientific experiment, it’s hard to dismiss the fact that he violated a major tenet of not just experimentation but of a basic research project as well. If I had submitted that video to any of my college professors, I would have gotten an immediate ‘F’.

  218. SKL May 7, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

    “He didn’t mean just the US” – no, what he really meant to imply was that 700 little children are snatched daily from places just like that park in middle class North America.

    If he really wanted to share concern about 700 kids snatched daily worldwide (assuming that figure wasn’t pulled out of his butt), parks would be among the very last locations he would have mentioned, and he would have focused mainly on pubescent/adolescent kids, not preschoolers.

    Or maybe his point is that the only abducted kids we should care about is that tiny fraction of a fraction of a percent who “could be our kids.”

    Or maybe he was just using that figure to shame parents who don’t have their kids on leashes until age 12.

  219. Sandi May 7, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    Just watched this with my kids. I was happy that my daughter (9) was able to tell me immediately what the kids did that is OK (talk to him and pet the dog) and what they did that is not OK (go off with him). My son wasn’t sure, so I’m glad we talked about it.

  220. John May 7, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

    I was watching Fox News last night and this video was featured on “The O’Reilly Factor”. So I thought, oh know, here we go. We’re gonna hear uncle Bill tell the viewers that it’s such a dangerous place out there for kids and that parents must constantly watch their children and shame on those who don’t, yada, yada, yada. BUT to my utter surprise, I was PLEASANTLY shocked by the segment! Bill was discussing the video with Martha McCallum and the message Martha conveyed to parents was that they should not really get all that excited over this video because children abducted by strangers was “very, very rare” Bill, of all people, then gave his assessment of the video by saying that children nowadays have parents hovering over them all the time and are helicoptered to the point where they don’t know how to correctly handle these kind of situations. Because ordinarily mom and/or dad are always there to tell them what and what not to do.

    So yes, I was pleasantly surprised by this exchange cause both McCallum AND O’Reilly were spot-on with their assessment!

  221. kishke May 7, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

    Some truly dumb moms in that video. If some stranger would approach me with Joey’s lame shtick, I’d send him packing. I wouldn’t let him near my child.

  222. A May 7, 2015 at 4:28 pm #

    I am glad this video came out this week- the same week some ridiculous parents are partaking in ‘Leave your kids in the park alone day.’

    We should teach our kids that adults do not need help from a child, they should not go with any other adult even if they know them and if they feel uncomfortable or unsafe at any time then they should go to a ‘safe’ adult if their parent is not near (ex. principle, teacher or another mother nearby that has a baby or child with her).

  223. JKP May 7, 2015 at 6:30 pm #

    A – “I am glad this video came out this week- the same week some ridiculous parents are partaking in ‘Leave your kids in the park alone day.’”

    You do realize that the site you chose to post this on is in fact the site sponsoring “Take your kids to the park and let them walk home day”

    And all the parents that support such activities are already teaching their children not to go off with strangers. That’s one of the primary tenants of allowing your kids to free range unsupervised: that you’ve first prepared them for whatever freedom you’ve given them including training them that they can talk to strangers but that they can’t go off with a stranger.

    If anything, what the video proves is that parents can’t rely on their own supervision to protect their children. All of those children were being supervised by parents. Instead, they need to teach their children to protect themselves and make good judgements themselves, which they will never do if they are never given any opportunities to act independently from adults.

  224. Puzzled May 7, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

    (ex. principle, teacher or another mother nearby that has a baby or child with her).

    Spelling aside, I notice a certain type of parent is absent from this list. Oh, of course, I forgot – a father taking his child to the park is a child molester by definition.

  225. Warren May 7, 2015 at 9:56 pm #

    I have to apologize to the maker of this video. He is right about the number of kids snatched around the world each day. Why just here today we had four jeeps roar into town, with heavily armed warriors rounding up all the boys 10 to 14 yrs of age. They are being forced to joing the local Warlords army. They must have taken 25 boys today.

    I swear, I never knew Kingston, Ontario was such a dangerous place.

  226. Anonymous May 8, 2015 at 9:38 am #

    He said “700 kids are abducted a day” not “700 kids are abducted a day in america”

  227. Beth May 8, 2015 at 2:16 pm #

    Ya know, it might be nice if people would READ the comments before posting their own all-important-must-say-it-now comment. We have all been roundly criticized and taken down several pegs for not having enough ESP to know what countries are included in this guy’s 700 per day “stat”. And many of us have commented on it and its validity taking into account other countries (that, yes, we know exist).

  228. marion May 9, 2015 at 3:45 am #

    Having working with sex offenders through probation services I was struck by how friendly nice and normal they appear yes some of them are the type of person that you would make you uncomfortable immediately but I would say about 80 per cent of them are the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” type of person. This video showed how that type of situation, abduction in the sense of the child never returning is indeed rare but assaults are more common where the child is released immediately afterwards. I have worked with hundreds of victims of child sex abuse and sometimes it takes them years to report it to the police and indeed sometimes they never report it.
    You tell your child to not run across a road you don’t need to tell them the exact horrors of the injuries that might be sustained, you don’t need to scare your children but you can tell them to not go away with people that you have not said they can go away with and they call still enjoy their childhood. People can take from this video what they want and nobody is forcing them to change their parenting choices.

  229. R Ruiz May 9, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

    I find the video very use and informative. It’s telling parents to be vigliant and GET OFF YOUR ELECTRONICS! Go to any park and you will find parents who are doing double duty phone and watching their children.

  230. Puzzled May 9, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

    R – OMG! Parents are using electronics instead of focusing all their attention on a playing child! What will they do next – sleep at night?

  231. HIn May 11, 2015 at 8:01 pm #

    Perhaps he meant worldwide? Throw in the girls kidnapped by Boko Harum in Africa and the number could well be higher than 400 kids a day.. LOL

  232. Beth May 12, 2015 at 6:42 am #


  233. Trenton Renner May 12, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

    You are ruining the lives of children with this assault on “free-range parents” – and that is just a stupid name too by the way, I mean, what is going on in this country anymore. I cannot stand these leftist Authoritarian types who want little Johnny to act like little Jainie, so he can “understand his feminine side” get a grip on reality. Boys and boys and girls are girls, don’t force this crap on my kids – coming home talking about they can’t say boy or girl anymore because it’s exclusionary speech. I can’t call my son and his friends boys because one of them may have a gender identity issue? HE IS 8 YEARS OLD WHAT DOES AN 8 YEAR OLD KNOW ABOUT GENDER IDENTITY THAT HE DIDN’T LEARN FROM SOME LIBERAL NUTJOB THAT THINKS 5 YEAR OLDS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SEXUAL IDENTITIES. I have had about all I can take with this…I used to buy into a lot of these socially liberal ideas, and to an extent I still do, but why must we perpetrate our homophobic guilt (if you grew up in the 80s you know exactly what I am talking about, homophobic guilt! Everyone was gay or a fag all the way through high school they didn’t start this nonsense until after 2001) on our kids!? There is no reason that my 6 year old daughter needs to be taught what homosexual is. No damn reason at all. Who cares if someone in her class has two mommies or two daddies – they are 6 years old, they don’t really care, it just is with them, they are kids! I didn’t realize the boy up the street that I hung out with every single day for 8 years was black(different) until my 8th birthday when my redneck cousin came from Honkytown Indiana, and refused to get out of the car because my friend was at my party and he’d never seen a black person before. (Yes, I swear that is a true story) Look – this is America, we do what we do in the pursuit of our own happiness, but don’t push your crap on me and mine, because I certainly don’t want to push mine on you and yours….but people, you cannot sit back and look into your heart, your own conscious and actually think that any of this is good. Stop terrifying your children with these ambush journalist tactics and allow them to be children….allow them to hang on to their innocence. You did.

  234. Emily May 13, 2015 at 3:39 pm #

    I find it amusing that I wrote a blog post about why I am not afraid of kidnappers complete with accurate stats (http://smithsquad.com/why-i-am-not-afraid-of-kidnappers/) and a few days later this stupid video went viral. In addition to everything you already stated I find it interesting to note that childhood anxiety and depression are on the rise. We are actually harming our kids with all of our paranoia, not helping keep them safer.

  235. Louis May 13, 2015 at 7:51 pm #

    You claim that 115 children are kidnapped a year. That is according to a study called the NISMART-2 taken between 1997-1999. The study is a survey, in which they gather an estimation of how many kids are kidnapped every year. The source you sited (http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/documents/nismart2_qa.pdf) says that NISMART-2 reported 115 child kidnappings. Because NISMART-2 is a survey, this means that 115 cases were reported in the survey. In this case, the survey was out of 16,000 people. According to this table (http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/tables/pop1.asp) there are 71.9 million children from ages 0-17 in the year NISMART-2 was conducted (1999). I’m going to make this very clear, because it seems as if you have a difficult time interpreting data. 115 out of 16,000 is 0.71875%. 0.71875% of the nation’s 71.9 million children is 516,781 children kidnapped every year. Even the thought that you believed there were only 115 children kidnapped a year adds extra hilarity to this situation.

  236. SKL May 13, 2015 at 10:59 pm #

    Louis, you did not understand the study.

  237. Louis May 13, 2015 at 11:05 pm #

    Then please explain, SKL, because it is Lerone who does not understand

  238. SKL May 13, 2015 at 11:11 pm #

    Louis, not only Lenore but everyone who read the study other than you seems to have understood the numbers.

    I don’t have time to teach you statistics or reading comprehension, sorry.

  239. Louis May 13, 2015 at 11:20 pm #

    My friend, it is blatant that the information Lerone has interpreted is wrong. “NISMART–2, the second such set of
    studies…includes a large national survey (more than 16,000 households) of parents and other primary caretakers who were interviewed about their children’s experiences” (according to this study: http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/documents/nismart2_qa.pdf). So we can agree the study is a survey of 16,000 houses. Later, the same article states “Although the number of stereotypical kidnappings by strangers reported by NISMART–1 (200–300) and NISMART–2 (115).” I believe this is where Lerone obtained the number 115. However, this states NISMART-2 collected 115 reports of stereotypical kidnappings. Because NISMART-2 was a SURVEY of 16,000 households, and not a collection of every report of a kidnapping, this states that there were 115 reports out of 16,000 households. This is how I reasoned that her analysis of the information is wrong. I would love for you to simply point out where I went wrong, and I will be on my way.

  240. JKP May 13, 2015 at 11:55 pm #

    Louis – It’s obvious you have no understanding of how statistics work, nor any understanding of this particular study. Just from reading the link you provided and based your faulty conclusions on (http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/documents/nismart2_qa.pdf)

    #1) They did not get the # of abductions from a survey. Quote: “For example, NISMART–1 researchers studied
    police records from a sample of 83 law enforcement agencies. For NISMART–2, the sample was expanded to more than 4,000 agencies, and data were collected from police personnel who investigated the cases.” – Meaning the data was collected from official law enforcement records of missing children, not household surveys.

    #2) The survey part was a separate part of this study. Quote: “includes a large national survey (more than 16,000 households) of parents and other primary caretakers who were interviewed about their children’s experiences.” If you go to the report from the actual government agency (https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/196465.pdf) and not just the summary page you linked to, it explains in greater detail how the surveys were used. If you click on the link, you will see that law enforcement data was the main data used for the 115 stereotypical kidnappings.

    #3) Statistics 101: Even when getting data from a survey, the conclusion is the estimation for the whole population based on the data from the survey population. If the size of the sample is large enough, the deviation is small enough that you can predict accurately the number for the whole population without surveying the whole population. So even *if* they calculated that number solely from the survey of 16,000 people, they are not saying that 115 were kidnapped from that group of 16,000 surveyed. They would be saying that based on the numbers from that sample size, you can reliably predict that for the whole population of the US, the number is 115 a year. But of course the data was not solely from that household survey. It was from law enforcement data.

    Louis – “516,781 children kidnapped every year. Even the thought that you believed there were only 115 children kidnapped a year adds extra hilarity to this situation.”

    No, what’s hilarious is that you could actually think that half a million kids are abducted by strangers in the US every year. That’s 1,415 a day, double this video’s claim of 700.

  241. Louis May 14, 2015 at 12:04 am #

    Thanks so much for the explanation!

  242. Louis May 14, 2015 at 12:13 am #

    Lol didn’t think y’all would make me feel stupid, being on a parent’s website, but I suppose there’s no friends in this dog eat dog world

  243. JKP May 14, 2015 at 12:23 am #

    Louis: “I’m going to make this very clear, because it seems as if you have a difficult time interpreting data.”
    “Even the thought that you believed there were only 115 children kidnapped a year adds extra hilarity to this situation.”
    “it is blatant that the information Lerone has interpreted is wrong.”

    And then after being schooled-
    Louis: “didn’t think y’all would make me feel stupid, being on a parent’s website, but I suppose there’s no friends in this dog eat dog world”

    Louis – If you start out by implying that other people are stupid, and come off so arrogant and cocky, don’t be surprised when people are less than kind in their response. If your first message had been softer and inquiring, more like “I’m confused because when I look at the numbers, this is how it seems to me. Can someone explain how that 115/year was calculated?” You would find that people would be kinder in response when you start with kindness.

  244. Roxy May 16, 2015 at 3:37 am #

    My child was a victim of a stranger abduction many years ago. I have no idea what this person said to my son to get him to walk away with him. I had many conversations with my son about strangers and obviously none of them worked. He is gone and I still don’t know why but I still feel that most people are good and only want to help, not the other way around.