Puppies, Predators, Parks, Paranoia, The BBC…and Me



Let’s knryirhbfa
hear it for the reporter in this BBC report on the Joey Salads puppy/park/predator video. She takes him to task for pulling the “700 children are abducted a day” factoid out of his fannypack. (Or, worse, randomly off the Internet.) What I do not love is that, of course, many of my most trenchant points ended up on the cutting room floor, including the fact that this stranger-with-a-puppy-AND-a-camera-crew scenario almost never happens, and that if you really want to warn parents about a common danger they’re unaware of, make a creepy video of mom or dad driving their kidsto soccer practice.

I was also kinda sickened by the scary music, and the hoary trope of the empty swing. If I were a swing, I’d file a class action suit against the media for defamation of character. Or maybe I’d get some fellow swings together and we’d protest in front of a newspaper or TV station, carrying signs like: “Just because I’m empty doesn’t mean a child was snatched off of me.” “Swings Aren’t Scary” and “I’m Empty Because of YOU!”

Swing #1: "Boy am I tired of representing a missing child." Swing #2: "Tell me about it."

Swing #1: “Boy am I tired of representing a missing child.” Swing #2: “Tell me about it. And I’m frayed! Even worse!”  


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26 Responses to Puppies, Predators, Parks, Paranoia, The BBC…and Me

  1. trishwah May 12, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    She takes him to task for pulling the “700 children are abducted a day” factoid out of his fanny.

    Um, you know that fanny doesn’t mean in the UK what it means in the US, right? In the UK it means female genitalia. So he doesn’t have a fanny.

  2. John May 12, 2015 at 11:47 am #

    Interesting trish….just goes to show you how dialect can get us ALL into trouble. The term “fanny” would certainly get me into trouble if I were in jolly old England! But I also understand that the term “fag” over in England is referring to a cigarette. Well, using that term in the U.S. would certainly get YOU into trouble nowadays!

  3. John May 12, 2015 at 12:02 pm #

    Just a couple thoughts on this video. He says that parents came up to him and thanked him for making this video. That’s because most parents are uninformed on the facts themselves and think it’s a bigger problem than it really is. It seems as if Salads is trying to get across the point that children should never even TALK to strangers and he goes on to “prove” that merely talking to them precipitates the kids to go off with the stranger. Well, this is a flawed argument as far as I’m concerned. Because even if I tell my kid never to TALK to strangers, what guarantee is there that he would not TALK to him in this experiment and subsequently go off with him seeing how convincing and friendly he is?

    I also believe that these children saw him talking to their mom on the bench before he approached them. In order for them to not see this, they would have to be completely out of their mother’s sight which is the reason mom was there with her child in the first place. To keep an eye on her child so why would she let her kid out of her sight? Doesn’t make sense. Now if the child saw their mom talking to him before the experiment, this completely invalidates the end result of this experiment!

  4. Nadine May 12, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

    I remember asking for the shower in Yellowstone and using the dutch word for it ….”douche”. Almost landed me an bum whooping. Never making that mistake again!!! But the puppyguy made a factual wrong and fearmongering video. Its like one of those election videos, just missing the wolves. Not very imaginative. I bet if you dive the archives youll find a dr phil or Oprah episode doing the same thing

  5. Havva May 12, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

    You know… it would be interesting to test the theory that the kids were/were not reacting to the fact that the kid saw that entertainer talking to their mom. Probably as simple as re-runing the same ‘experiment’ only having a woman with kids chat the mom up and get permission, then have someone else approach the kids.

    I also think another good experiment to run would be to take a group of say 4 or 5 year olds, or maybe some 6-8 year olds too. Give 1/3 of them the standard stranger danger “don’t talk to strangers” lecture. Teach another 1/3 “It’s okay to talk to strangers. But, don’t go off with strangers.” Talk about tricky people and advise them to make sure a parents/guardian know where they are and who they are with, and advise against bad secrets. And for the final 1/3 use them as a control, giving them a lecture about some other safety related topic (like fire safety).

    Then a week or a month later see if there is any difference in the ability to lure the kids. See who is most likely to go off with strangers/without parental knowledge (have mom pretend to be distracted perhaps). I would also test, both before and after the lectures, who if any has stranger anxiety even when right next to mom. I would also test how they handle getting separated from mom in a store.

    I think those ideas could make some pretty good videos.

  6. JP Merzetti May 12, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

    Well, any little word can be abducted to mean something cute. It’s pore little meanings abused all over the place.
    It’s up to intelligent creatures to figure out the meaning, stagger through the lexicon and stumble in the vernacular.

    Sometimes I get the impression that we ask too much of the media. Like we expect them to behave any better than lawyers and politicians.
    (Or in some cases, misbehaving dogs and naughty children.)
    With those, we’ve learned to exercise patience, cunning, and street smarts according to our acquired experience and intelligence.

    So pal Joey had his 15 minutes of fame. Sort of like a hired gun in Tombstone…….high noon at the OK Corral.
    (where’s a Hollywood hero when you really need one?)

    The most dangerous part of my drive to work every day happens two blocks north of my downtown campus.
    Running the gauntlet past an inner city elementary school. Vast herds of fat cars parked both sides of the street….the great 52 hundred pickup. Inner city kids who must by law live within the school district. And the street narrowed down to less than a free lane’s worth with all the maneuvering and jousting going on.
    A free range kid would feel just like a football linebacker playing dodgeball with the behemoths.
    But they’re all doing pickup because it’s dangerous, right? Zipadeedoodah…….they wouldn’t know “urban” if it came up and bit them on the behind.

    I’m constantly struck by a strange observation: that so many kids are controlled and moved about much the same way incarcerated people are. Like criminals. I wonder if one day I’m not going to see a kid handcuffed to a kid-watcher. Or ankle-braceleted (or RFID-chipped) and watched 24-7 by satellites in the sky.

    Children are little people. Emphasis on the human part.
    I suspect some livestock live better lives. (Though factory farming has certainly shredded that notion.)
    The Industrial Complex of child-rearing.

    As an ex post-production person…..I can sorta understand the scary music and empty swing trope.
    We just couldn’t help playing with all the toys lying around. It takes a good producer to throw a fit and clean up the rec room.
    Thankfully, the majority of viewers still post-edit with their own sensibility. A slight head-nod from the pendulum avoids the pit.
    In the meantime, childhood can be an awful strange time in a person’s life. When no-one listens.
    Too much din and racket going on to focus on small voices.

  7. Jana May 12, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

    Joey might mean well, but otherwise I think that this video is pretty useless. My son likes people, he would talk to them, but I am quite convinced that he would never go away with them. I remember being warned by mom and teachers never to get tricked by strangers with sweets or puppies etc. It was about 35 yrs ago!
    Anyway, regarding differences between UK and US English, I recall when I moved to the US and was looking for a “petrol” station. There was not any! Later, I wanted to buy a “pram” for our daughter – again, no sign of it! But I am a smart person (and so were people I talked to) and very soon figured it out. Stay safe and sound!

  8. lollipoplover May 12, 2015 at 2:07 pm #

    Joey doesn’t mean well. He makes prank youtube videos.
    His purpose is to be outrageous which is why he inflated his *data* and perpetuates the urban myth of the boogeyman creeping around parks. He admits he made up his figures.

    It serves him well. Videos like this watched by brainless Facebook moms will keep kids indoors and away from strangers. These kids will be the ones watching his moronic youtube videos when they are stuck inside with nothing to do.

  9. Nadine May 12, 2015 at 2:08 pm #

    just a idea popped up.
    If he really wanted to show the risk those 700 abductions a day face. He would have shown the child soldiers that are forced to kill their family, the kids sold into slavery by their family to make his hipster T-shirt, stolen from their communities by gangs to be sold into the sextrade, the kids that were put on transport by human trafficers to the VS from south america or to Europe from Africa with the false tail of a better life. blows that bs argument right out of the water. Or is he warning yezidi women not to let their kids play on the swing?

  10. SKL May 12, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

    At least he admits that he is 100% irresponsible. Not that it matters at this point. Few people will ever see his admission.

    But, I just had an inspiration. You know how they want to make it an automatic child abuse crime to leave a kid in a car for any short amount of time in any circumstances? Well how about we apply that logic to “abducting” a child? How about we make a law that any human who convinces someone else’s kid (or takes him by the hand) to go off with him, under any circumstances, gets placed on the child abuse registry for life? I would kinda love it if someone pranked this prankster by arresting him for being videotaped taking children and then saying “I wanted to abduct a child.” I would really really love for him to be on every state’s child abuse registry for life. I’m sure he would understand how it is all for the benefit of the children.

  11. Liz May 12, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

    Wait, it started with his desire to take children as a prank?!!? And nobody sees a problem with that?!!? This is not someone we should be giving any of our time to!

  12. Jana May 12, 2015 at 3:22 pm #

    Liz, true. Silly people will always believe silly things…

  13. Diana Green May 12, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

    The ones that clean up running the prisons in your state or the ones that run the Legislature in mine?

    What in his background makes people think he acted alone?

  14. lollipoplover May 12, 2015 at 5:43 pm #

    We had an Amber Alert here yesterday that was ALL over Facebook and the news looking for a 12 year-old boy who went missing. He was found:


    He played hooky from school. Not judging, I actually cut school with my friends to go to the store and buy candy at this age. But since we’ve conditioned parents now to think stranger abduction is so common, helicopters and massive search parties were sent out to find this kid…who was hiding in the woods.

  15. Wendy W May 12, 2015 at 6:44 pm #

    Havva- “Then a week or a month later see if there is any difference in the ability to lure the kids.”

    I would be very surprised if it made any difference at all. Telling a kid ONCE is almost useless beyond the 5min it takes to move onto other interests. That’s why we have to tell them 1000 time to close the door when they come in, or – put your endless instruction here. It’s what we teach them over the YEARS of early-childhood that matters, not what one person tells them one time.

  16. Earth Waratah May 12, 2015 at 8:14 pm #

    Youtube is full of these videos and they all carry the same theme. Scary music and they pick on children who are too young to be left unsupervised at the park.

  17. The Other Mandy May 12, 2015 at 11:40 pm #

    Wait…what? A kid was gone for 12 hours and everybo’s acting like he’s the prodigal son? How long was he “missing” before they had the dogs and the helicopters out? The cops have nothing better to do than mount a huge search party for a kid who skipped school?that poor kid slips his leash for just a bit and they’re acting like it was a prison break. No wonder he hid from the cops and the dogs– they were strangers, all!

    Back in my day, skipping school earned me detention and my most dreaded chore, yard work (2hours for every hour skipped). I never got caught skipping school again.

  18. sexhysteria May 13, 2015 at 2:06 am #

    Fanny pack! It’s important to know the differences between American and British English! But the person in the video does seem to be the type who had a sex-change operation so maybe he does have a fanny. I would guess he’s suffering from danger confusion disorder, rather than gender confusion.

  19. Diana Green May 13, 2015 at 7:20 am #

    I nominate 12 year old Mason of Jim Thorpe, PA, for top award as FREE RANGE KID OF THE YEAR!

    I’ll bet they ban TOM SAWYER and HUCKLEBERRY FINN in all the schools in the coal mining regions of Pennsyvlania and in all the surrounding states.

    Can’t allow kids to skip school! Lose tax dollars!

    I’ll bet he’d have been home for din-din if he hadn’t been terrified by the POLICE. As it was, he found a person not connected with the search authorities to walk out with. A stranger, but a safe one. Smart kid!

    THANKS lollipoplover!
    Do you all know about the Olympic Athlete JIM THORPE? He was a bona fide free ranger, half Native American, Fox and Sauk, whose people are of the “Woodland tribes”. How fitting that Young Mason went off by himself INTO THE WOODS to have his adventure on a day off school! I’m sure every kid in town is jealous!

  20. Mark Davis May 13, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    “the hoary trope of the empty swing”. How poetic – and the rest of the paragraph is hilarious! Lenore, your column is a never-ending delight – a cause worth fighting for, and a good sense of humor to boot. Keep up the good work.

  21. SKL May 13, 2015 at 11:54 am #

    LOL I didn’t know that Jim Thorpe kid was playing hookey. We played hookey as kids and I am awfully glad the cops weren’t involved.

    The world has certainly changed a lot. I hate to ask what kids do nowadays to feel daring, since hookey is no longer a viable option.

  22. SarahC May 13, 2015 at 12:55 pm #

    This is the quote that gets me: “i didn’t say US in the video. I was just speaking in general. Even if my numbers are incorrect for the US it’s still the whole world out there.”

    This statement lumps the US with countries where there is civil war and children are abducted by opposing armies or areas where terrorist groups, such as Boko Haram, are abducting hundreds of children in one incident. A child playing in their local neighborhood park in the US does not come close to facing the same stranger kidnapping danger as other children in the world.

  23. lollipoplover May 13, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

    @Diana Green- my son research Jim Thorpe for an assignment for school- he IS a free range legend. Ironically, we tell our son that if he has perfect attendance at school (which he does every year) he can choose a day to play hookey and pick an activity. He loves mountain biking so one year we did go to Jim Thorpe, Pa as they have amazing bike trails.
    But there wasn’t a search party and helicopters searching for him (we called him out of school).

  24. pentamom May 14, 2015 at 10:13 am #

    Sarah — and in megacities in the developing world where homeless children are snatched off the street for one type of trafficking or another, and, and….

    Yeah, either it’s meant to signify the U.S. and is wildly inflated, or it’s worldwide and is completely useless as a measure of the threat to typical American children. There’s no way the statistic can be defended.

  25. I wish to remain anonymous May 18, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

    Doesn’t really have to do with stranger danger but look at the link if you want (it’s kind of dumb 😐 )

  26. http://www.gowns.gr May 22, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    Thanks For Sharing The Video…