Is Your Child in DANGER?

Hi Readers! Here’s a nifty little brochure I picked up the other day for a child safety device. I won’t say which one, since I don’t want to give it any publicity. Perhaps you’ll see why. Here’s what the brochure said, in all its grammatical creativity. Please note: The dot-dot-dots are theirs. I haven’t left anything out of this lovely intro:

PLEASE ydnbbardsb

Sexual predators…how do you recognize them?

Everyday you see relatives in your house, you pass people on the street, you watch television, the computer brings different individuals into your home and work place.

Does it ever enter your mind about who these individuals really are?

What do they think? Where are they from? What are some of their inner thoughts? We have heard about stranger danger…but who is really a stranger in your life?

Think about it…

If you are home and the repair person comes to fix an appliance and your daughter sees Mommy speak to them and has them in the house then they think they are a friend. This is not all together true. When Mommy is not home they come back to the house and the child thinks that it is OK to let the person in. Let’s think again. This is NOT OK.

A perfect opportunity to catch a child off-guard and the person can have their way with the child. Mommy may never know if the child doesn’t tell or the person kills the child and leaves without a clue they were ever there.

OK — that’s it. Let’s just examine a few of the points, beginning with that first paragraph: “Everyday you see relatives in your house (relatives? yikes!), you pass people on the street (strangers going about their own business? yikes!), you watch television (and it’s really scary when the people start climbing out), the computer brings different individuals into your home (yup, they walk right out) and work place (well, some of the people there ARE scary. Point granted).”

In other words: Every single person your child encounters, from the moment she wakes up to the moment she goes to sleep, is quite possibly a sexual predator. Why this brochure neglected to add, “Every night you meet scary people in your dreams, too,” I can’t say. Seems to fit. Anyway, your child is ostensibly at risk from people in her home, outside her home, and even in household appliances.

Next, the reader is encouraged to IMAGINE everyone’s innermost thoughts — which is such an accurate way to figure out the world, right? Whatever you do, don’t actually talk to people. Just imagine their most disgusting, disturbing thoughts.  Especially…

The repairman’s! Because he’s going to come back and kill your child “without a clue they were ever there.” So now we’re not just talking about scary people climbing out of the TV, we’re talking about guys who know how to repair washing machines AND commit the perfect crime. What a gigantic demographic.

But what really gets my goat is the brochure’s main, pleading message, “Please take notice. Anyone can harm a child.” Why bother begging us to take notice? That fear has become the default setting for many parents these days: Don’t trust anyone at any time, anywhere.

So why should we trust the folks who wrote this brochure? — Lenore


52 Responses to Is Your Child in DANGER?

  1. Bernadette November 10, 2009 at 12:14 am #

    I actually think this crap is written by predators. Their minds work that way and so they assume everyone’s minds work that way. It is mind numbing to say the least. UGH!!!

  2. HappyNat November 10, 2009 at 12:15 am #


  3. Susan November 10, 2009 at 12:42 am #

    I don’t think the people who wrote that brochure are in tune with modern parenting. Don’t they know that the people who are nodding along with that brochure would never, ever leave their child alone without Mommy?

    The last sentence is just odd. It sounds as though Mommy knowing is more import than something actually happening to the child. “If only the repairman that killed my child left a clue!”

  4. Rich Wilson November 10, 2009 at 12:45 am #

    Please take notice. Anyone can save a child.

  5. Michele November 10, 2009 at 12:45 am #

    Geez–by this account I need to lock the doors, get rid of anything that might require outside maintenance (stoves, electrical service, washing machines, internet, etc.), never get near another family member, get rid of the internet and our television and DVDs–heck, let’s add books and newspapers because there are bad guys in those, too–and stare at the walls when we’re not raising our own food (because we can’t risk going to the grocery store). Wait–I’ll keep the kids in a house next door to mine and push food through a trap door so they are not exposed to their parents who might also be bad guys! Yea! Our kids will be so safe! Hooray!


  6. Rich Wilson November 10, 2009 at 12:45 am #

    er, maybe ‘Help’ could be a better contrast.

  7. Krista November 10, 2009 at 12:47 am #

    I love how they picked on the repairman, when it’s actually more likely that the relative will harm your child.

  8. Estella November 10, 2009 at 1:00 am #

    So, what kind of parent leaves their child home alone so that the evil repairman can come back and get them alone?

  9. Shelly November 10, 2009 at 1:05 am #

    The curiosity is just killing me. What kind of product are they trying to sell? Some sort of mind reading device?

    “Know what your repairmen are thinking BEFORE you let them enter the house!”

  10. Greg November 10, 2009 at 1:09 am #

    This text goes beyond mere over protection or cynical exploitation of fear. It was chilling!

    I had this irrational urge to go lock all my doors and the kids aren’t even home. It goes straight to the jugular: how do we know what anyone is really thinking? People are evil.


  11. LIbrary Diva November 10, 2009 at 1:18 am #

    Honestly, this piece is such a linguistic mess that I’m surprised some of the other commentors still found it effective. It’s quite possibly one of the most poorly written things I’ve ever read, and that includes the stove-top grill instructions translated from Korean. “Please to putting water in her dish before the fire comes” sounds like Shakespeare compared to this.

  12. Ben November 10, 2009 at 1:35 am #

    “I love how they picked on the repairman, when it’s actually more likely that the relative will harm your child.”

    I don’t think a relative harming your kid is significantly more likely. Sure 0,01 percent more is technically more, but let’s not worry about tiny variations like that. We’re talking fractions of already small risks.

  13. AirborneVet November 10, 2009 at 1:36 am #

    OMG!!! That brochure will harm my child! Please! Someone gouge my eyes out! It harmed me! I am so going to sue!

  14. Christina November 10, 2009 at 1:39 am #

    You know, children today may not be the ill-mannered little brats people always claim they are – they may simply be too terrified to properly interact with the world around them. Wow. Wow. Wow. Am I the only one who feels like we’re entering a mental dark ages?

  15. Sheila Sidhu November 10, 2009 at 1:45 am #

    What are these people selling anyway?

  16. Marion November 10, 2009 at 2:24 am #

    Wow. The incredible stupidity of that brochure is so irritating! The repairman, who met your child while in your presence, is going to come back and knock on the door just HOPING 1-mom won’t be home 2-child will be home alone 3-child will answer door.

    Yep, that’s likely. *sarcasm*

  17. Maggie November 10, 2009 at 2:25 am #

    @Sheila: Fear. The same thing they’re all selling.

  18. Waltz November 10, 2009 at 2:28 am #

    “And what about yourself? Remember that cigarette you snuck behind the gym in 10th grade. Who are you to parent your own child. Just call CPS now, have a seat and wait to have your children taken from you. After all, do you even know who YOU really are!?”

  19. izdelava spletnih strani November 10, 2009 at 2:33 am #

    Ben, you’re quite right. The “repairman” is the man who did it. But i think a parent should notice if there’s something wrong with the child. A child simply cannot hide such a thing to parent.

  20. Marion November 10, 2009 at 2:36 am #

    You know, if people are this fearful of a repairman, they should be absolutely terrified to send their children to public school. Schools are filled with dozens of random adults who work there, plus all those suspicious parents who volunteer. The cafeteria lady could be plotting to kidnap your child AS YOU READ THIS. (more sarcasm)

  21. Uly November 10, 2009 at 2:42 am #

    Sheila, I’m wondering what they’re SMOKING, not what they’re SELLING!

  22. pentamom November 10, 2009 at 2:47 am #

    Wow, this is REALLY hard to figure out. How, if I let a nice repairman into my house, will my child old enough to be left home alone know that it’s not okay to let him back into my house if he doesn’t have an appointment? I’d better just teach my kid that nobody can be trusted.

    Or…wait…wait…I think I’m having a brainwave, wait….

    I’ve got it! It’s so brilliant, I can understand why the brochure writer couldn’t come up with it, because it’s a highly complex and creative solution:

    “Tell you kid not to let anyone into the house when he’s home alone unless it’s a family member or close friend, or you’ve told him to expect the person. And if you have someone coming for an appointment, that’s probably not a good time to leave you kids home alone.”

    Whew, I think I’ve done all the thinking I can manage for the day. That was SO HARD.

  23. pentamom November 10, 2009 at 2:48 am #

    “Mommy may never know if the child doesn’t tell or the person kills the child ”

    You know, if someone killed my child, I think I’d twig onto the fact that something was amiss. Maybe that’s just me.

  24. pentamom November 10, 2009 at 2:54 am #

    I’ll start taking these brochures seriously when they start warning people not to let unrelated men live with their children. No, I know all unrelated men are not a danger to children, nor even more than a tiny minority. But if repairmen are to be construed as a danger, then it’s only logical that a statistically hugely greater danger should be at least mentioned. Otherwise, they’re just being stupid.

  25. DairyStateMom November 10, 2009 at 2:54 am #

    Honest to goodness, do people not understand that all commercials, even those purporting to help you keep your kids safe, are designed to SELL SOMETHING?! Just like the eye makeup commercials are designed to make you unhappy with your eyes, and the food commercials are designed to make you unhappy with what’s in the pantry, these brochures (and like-minded commercials) are designed to make you unhappy and scared to death!

    Lenore, your island of sanity has never been more necessary. PLEASE keep it up!!!

  26. Olivia November 10, 2009 at 4:02 am #

    Ok, for the record, I DO hate when people walk out of my TV. That just creeps me out. Especially with hair all hanging in front of their faces.

    I certainly remember being told as a child that if I was home without a parent that NOBODY could come into that house. Not even friends of mine (unless planned in advance and approved on all sides) Oh, and if the phone rang, Mommy was always in the shower. Somehow that never fooled her friends – lucky for me she wasn’t friends with any child killers, I suppose.

  27. Jenne November 10, 2009 at 4:06 am #

    Wow. These advertisers are plagiarizing ChickTracts again, aren’t they?

  28. S Barringer November 10, 2009 at 4:41 am #

    They are definitely selling a lot of things. Fear is the first. Next, after they have everyone amped up on fear, the kid will need either psychotropic drugs to help him/her cope with the mommy induced anxiety levels, and mommy will need psychotropics and probably parental counseling too. See where I’m going here? This helps S.U.V. sales too since the mommy/kid would never consider walking or cycling anywhere, therefore the needed 2 tons of metal to haul 200 lbs of flesh that’s been incapacitated by the culture they live in. I could go on. — I’ve seen parents at a local elementary school drive 1 block to pick up their precious cargo. They couldn’t walk? Even a little child can walk that far. Oh, I’m sorry, it’s too dangerous, that one block to school for either the parent, child, or both together to walk! After all, all neighborhoods are so dangerous that it’s probably a kool idea to have courses for all parents to obtain a concealed weapons permit, don’t you think? Oh, I forgot, weapons are way too scary too! (Especially in the hands of people who are pumped on adrenalin all the time like these parents are. The death-rate of appliance repairmen would go up astronomically!)
    I’m glad I found this site and discovered that some parents are NOT on the T.V./media induced paranoia trip. Very refreshing! Thanks.

  29. Sky November 10, 2009 at 5:37 am #

    Copy editors, clearly, are potential predators, and must not be allowed anywhere near this brochure.

  30. BPFH November 10, 2009 at 6:48 am #

    Hmm… well, it DOES say “please take notice.” Or rather, “PLEASE TAKE NOTICE”.

    Did you remember to take it? 🙂

  31. Brian November 10, 2009 at 7:33 am #

    Ben – statistically it is much more likely that a child will be harmed by a known person than a stranger. (I don’t have the stats handy so these following numbers are for mathematical demonstration purposes only).

    If the chances of a child being harmed by a stranger are .01%, and the chances of a child being harmed by a known person is .05%, it is true that there’s only a .04% difference. But I think the point that many are trying to make is that if you are worried about something unlikely (child being harmed by predatory action), then you should focus on the people that your child repeatedly comes into contact with. Because it is 5 times more likely that the danger is from a known person than an unknown one. (again, those are not real stats, just examples)

    I do think it’s a good idea to know the people that your kids hang out with. Trust your own judgement (unless you have a history of bad judgement, then trust some else who has good judgement). This even applies to family – if cousin Billy always creeped you out, don’t ask him to babysit.

    But – and this is the really important part – pay attention to your judgement. If it tells you that most people are scary, then you are very likely wrong and may need to stop watching so much Nancy Grace (or stop hanging out with such scary people). If you go through life believing that everyone you meet is always god, then you might need to ramp up the fear a little bit. Most people are OK. Every now and again we come across someone who makes us feel a bit odd. Listen to that feeling. Teach your kids (especially girls) to listen, and act on, that feeling.

  32. ebohlman November 10, 2009 at 7:52 am #

    S Barringer: Disgustingly, in some cases would be non-trivially risky for that kid and/or parent to walk home from school, because they’d be in danger of being hit by all the parents who are driving short distances. It’s almost like the Tragedy of the Commons in reverse, where everyone would be better off if they all didn’t do something (drive short distances to/from school) but an individual would be worse off if they made that decision while others didn’t.

    Uly: I think the idea is that they sell you the product, you grind it up, get some good rolling papers and smoke it. Then you start thinking like the copywriter, and it all makes sense.

  33. Laura Vellenga November 10, 2009 at 8:54 am #

    “Friends, either you are closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge, or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated by the presence of a POOL TABLE in your community!”

    Perhaps the author of the brochure is also selling boys’ bands.

  34. Dragonwolf November 10, 2009 at 11:01 am #

    That reminds me of an episode of South Park where the parents find out about “stranger danger” (in this case, revolving around child abduction) from the news and get all hyper-protective, including child tracking devices and eventually just following them everywhere. They end up building a wall around the town to try to protect the children. At some point after the wall is built, they learn from the news that most abductions are perpetrated by family members, so they send the kids off with the Mongolians (who kept breaking down the wall that the town built [it’s part of a subplot]).

  35. Kim November 10, 2009 at 11:08 am #

    Wow. That sounds more like stuff you’d hear in a movie trailer. (“In a world where EVERYONE is just waiting to kidnap, brutalize and murder your children…”)

    While I certainly wouldn’t want to provide free advertising for whatever this “child safety device” is, I have to say that I am really curious to know what they claim the thing can do to prevent predatory relatives, passers-by and appliance repair people from giving in to their baser instincts.

  36. Charles November 10, 2009 at 11:58 am #

    “Please take notice. Anyone can harm a child.”

    shouldn’t it read

    “Please take notice. Anyone can harm Anyone.”

    The people who make these fliers are not only harming the parents by adding extra stress to their lives, but the brochure makers are their by harming the kids by having parents turn them into paranoid little messes.

  37. Anita November 10, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    I am so afraid now, I may just stay in my bedroom all day tomorrow – and forgo the risk of driving to work (over a bridge nonetheless!), getting out in the dark scary parking lot, getting on an old elevator, crossing the crazy street, and entering an inner city hospital. In fact, I may have the girls hide under the covers with me, all day…no TV, or radio, or any reading! AAAARRRRGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

    C’mon people. Geez.

  38. LIbrary Diva November 10, 2009 at 2:31 pm #

    “Ok, for the record, I DO hate when people walk out of my TV. That just creeps me out. Especially with hair all hanging in front of their faces. ”

    I agree! And I’m getting tired of all the people in my house ever since I connected to the internet. I asked all of my 145 Facebook friends to leave an hour ago so I could go to bed!

    If this magical device connects to people’s innermost thoughts somehow, though, I want one. Despite the poorly written propaganda. I would put it to much better uses than finding out if random people were pedophiles!

  39. sylvia_rachel November 10, 2009 at 10:32 pm #

    YES! Anyone CAN harm a child!

    Particularly its parents, by raising it to be completely incompetent, afraid of everyone and everything, and unable to fend for itself. And the manufacturers of child safety devices who encourage them to do so and, when encouraging doesn’t work, bully them, scare them, and guilt them into doing so.

  40. CLT November 11, 2009 at 2:16 am #

    I had to laugh at the way that last line was written. I would say a body would be a pretty big clue that someone had been there.

  41. Into The Wild! November 11, 2009 at 4:09 am #

    OMG! My frig is broken and THE REPAIRMAN IS ON HIS WAY! Quick, what will I do? Call his office and cancel? No, wait! That means he knows I’m on to him. Meet him at the front door? In the front yard? At the curb? Down the block? Then he’ll really know that I know, that he knows, that I know, that he…AGH! I forgot! He’s my Brother-in-Law… I’m doomed!

    *sigh* I give up.

  42. bethan November 11, 2009 at 11:06 am #

    can you please just send me an email and let me know who wrote that? please? because … ffs. that’s just 100% wrong.

  43. RobC November 11, 2009 at 2:27 pm #

    “If you are home and the repair person comes to fix an appliance and your daughter sees Mommy speak to them and has them in the house then they think they are a friend. This is not all together true. When Mommy is not home they come back to the house and the child thinks that it is OK to let the person in. Let’s think again. This is NOT OK.

    A perfect opportunity to catch a child off-guard and the person can have their way with the child. Mommy may never know if the child doesn’t tell or the person kills the child and leaves without a clue they were ever there.”

    Good grief! Has this ever happened, at any time, ever?!

    And to think there are people being paid good money to sit around thinking up this crap, while the people who are actually entrusted with our children’s well-being (teachers, childcare workers) are paid a pittance.

  44. Tracey Rollison November 13, 2009 at 12:46 pm #

    What is really frightening is that while I’m my child’s mommy and therefore I’m ok, I’m not YOUR child’s mommy, and therefore someone you have to watch out for. And my child’s dad is a RELATIVE. Not the mommy, and therefore not ok.

    And, logically speaking, the only safe person must be the one who wrote this brochure…and only for her own kids.

  45. Sean Penn November 13, 2009 at 8:53 pm #

    nice article……

    keep it up…….

  46. Jennifer November 14, 2009 at 2:28 am #

    It’s hard. I mean I love the idea of free range kids, but what about the statistics? Of REPORTED incidences, (and how many are not reported?), 1 in every 3 girls will be sexually molested by the time she turns 16. That’s scary. I have 3 little girls. So, statistically speaking, one of them will be molested before she turns 16. Back when I was a kid it was 1 in 4. So it’s going up. There has to be a balance, right? I know the best defense is to teach your kids how to react in those situations. But how do you do that without ruining their innocence or scaring them. I don’t think ignoring it will solve anything either. And I realize it’s mostly from friends/relatives/and other adults regularly in the child’s life and not strangers. sigh….. So how do you guys all balance it with your little ones? I’m so torn in 2 different directions. 🙁

  47. Listen Live Radio November 14, 2009 at 7:48 am #

    Thank you for posting another excellent interview. You guessed it I posted on my blog, lol.

  48. Uly November 15, 2009 at 7:03 am #

    Of REPORTED incidences, (and how many are not reported?), 1 in every 3 girls will be sexually molested by the time she turns 16. That’s scary. I have 3 little girls. So, statistically speaking, one of them will be molested before she turns 16.

    Probably not when they’re little, though (unless your family contains a molester). More likely when they’re 12 – 15.

    And of course, for every three families with three girls who aren’t going to be harmed, there’s one with three girls who are ALL going to be molested by a relative. Statistics don’t break down so easily as counting eeny, meeny, miny, moe with your own girls.

    As for numbers going up, that may be a good thing. It may be that girls are more likely to report these incidents than they were before. Progress.

  49. kherbert November 15, 2009 at 12:26 pm #

    You do it by teaching them their body is their own not just by words but by actions. Don’t make them hug and kiss people as a greeting. Eye contact and a verbal hello is all that is required. If a relative pushes the issue, back your child in saying no.

    My elementary school did good job with general self defense in PE. Even saved a school mate that was kidnapped for ransom. They failed with the bodies are our own – because at my school the danger wasn’t a stranger but another child. I was threatened with graphic descriptions of rape from K – first part of 5. I was also beaten regularly by the same boy. This was dismissed as he likes you and is trying to get your attention, to his father saying I liked it and that is why I “provoked” him. My uncles recognized the danger I was in during a visit to Canada between 4th and 5th grades. They had a serious conversation with my Dad.

    My parents threatened legal action with a high powered lawyer and things stopped that day. The next year we had a rape prevention class – that addressed date rape in kids (6th grade early 80’s). Several girls from my elementary school said, “that is what the bully said he would do”. The health teacher locked the door and asked what we meant. She was ready to call the cops then and there. Fortunately he had left public school. I wish the health teacher had been on my elementary school campus.

  50. Lihtox November 18, 2009 at 4:17 am #

    @Uly: I wonder how many of those incidents are with boys aged 12-15? I worry that the definition of “sexually molested” might become overbroad– not that it’s okay for anyone to coerce anyone into sex, but there’s a difference between an awkward teen going a little too far on a date, and some guy in a van cruising the neighborhood. Calling both of these “molestation” may foster the fear that we’ve been trying to fight here.

  51. Danielle L Grant Of Las Vegas is A RAPIST September 12, 2010 at 5:44 am #

    Danielle L Grant 22, of Las Vegas is a RAPIST, she and another man used a date rape drug on Victom at 2900 El Camino apt 170Danielle L Grant sodomized the victim with a plunger, Intestines were hanging out of rectum of victom.She is lite skinned mixed women 4 ‘9 to 4’11 and she drives a black ford Focus, She works as an dental assistant during day.STOP her Please. Victom is too ashamed to go to police, HER LAST PH # 702-685-9588 Danielle L Grant MUST BE STOPED


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