Sex Trafficking Facebook Post that is as Viral as it is Insane

UPDATE: ahbtszezhr
This Facebook post has 13, 000 likes. (Because what’s not to like about a story of a kid sold into sex slavery on her first day of kindergarten?) A reader sent it to me because two friends had just sent it to her. 
And they didn’t send it ironically.
My heart was pounding as I read the post, too, in part because I get so frustrated, railing at a world which clearly wants — LOVES — to believe all kids are beset by predators, and in part because a story like this affects us no matter how rational we are: It’s a kid! In danger!
But why do we swallow a “warning” like this? A warning about something incredibly convoluted and outrageously unlikely? Security expert Bruce Schneier terms this kind of thing the “Movie Plot Threat.” Our brains are good at picturing stories with all sorts of specifics, he says. And because we can picture it, the real odds don’t matter. It seems likely simply because we can imagine it. And of course, sometimes we’ve even seen something very similar in a movie or TV show.
As disheartening as it is to think of individual parents freaking out, the effect on society is worse. When those in power take these fantabulous scenarios to heart,  we get laws and systems created to thwart them. Think TSA requirements. (“No you may NOT bring that nail clipper on board!”) Think about the kids-can’t-wait-even-a-few-minutes-in-the-car laws. (“They could be abducted!”) Think Zero Tolerance laws (“If a boy draws a bomb, he just may make one!”). And think CPS investigations of parents who let their kids walk outside. (A white slavery ring could take them their first day of school! I just read about it on Facebook!)
We are great at fantasy and terrible at skepticism. So I’m posting the item below to get it out of my system. Please jump on it and figure out some way to convince anyone who believes it is happening “all the time” and “thank goodness someone posted this!” and “this will save some poor innocent kids!” that the way to really save poor, innocent kids (and poor, forgotten, aged folks, too) is to help the people in your own city who need food or kindness or shelter. In other words, do some real good, instead of just shivering with excited disgust and re-posting. – L (feeling a bit grumpy, yes.)
A guy sends you a friend request. You don’t know him, but he’s got a cute profile picture, so you accept his friend request.
It’s your baby girl’s first day of school. She looks SO cute in her new outfit you just have to take a picture and put it on Facebook so all your friends and family can see.
You’re so excited dropping her off that you ‘Check in’ to her school on FB saying
‘I can’t believe how big she’s gotten. Time sure flies. One proud momma/daddy right here’.
Meanwhile, the mystery guy whose friend request you hurriedly accepted earlier this morning is saving that picture you posted of your daughter in her cute new outfit to his phone and texting it to 60 other grown men across the world with the caption –
‘Indian Female. Age 5.
Brown Hair. Black Eyes.
Rs. 70,000/-‘.
Not only did you provide a picture of your little girl to a child trafficker, you’ve handed him the name and exact location of her school on a silver cyber platter.
You go to pick her up at 3:00 this afternoon, but she’s nowhere to be found.
Little do you know, your precious baby girl was sold to a 43 years old pedophile before you even stepped foot off campus this morning, and now she’s on her way to South Africa with a bag over her head, confused, terrified and crying because a man she’s never seen before picked her up from school, and now she doesn’t know where her parents are, where she’s going, or what’s gonna happen to her.
posting everything about your life on Facebook.
Avoid keeping children’s pictures as profile picture.
Please share it for the sake of all kids and parents.
Forwarded as received!
And  this is the photo that ran with the post:

Wow! I sure hope this picture doesn't scare any more parents!

Wow, I sure hope this picture doesn’t prompt any irrational terror! 

Like · Comment · Share · May 22

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81 Responses to Sex Trafficking Facebook Post that is as Viral as it is Insane

  1. Beth May 29, 2015 at 9:52 pm #

    As usual, this totally ignores the actual fact that if someone wants to kidnap a kid, he doesn’t need Facebook, or photos, or check-ins. Kids are everywhere, and it’s pretty well known where they gather and can be found.

  2. Warren May 29, 2015 at 10:34 pm #

    Isn’t this the plot to Liam Neeson’ s Taken 4?

  3. hineata May 29, 2015 at 10:45 pm #

    @Warren – no, because the kid is Indian. Liam only seems concerned about the American teens, not the poor Eastern European women also trapped with his daughter. You’d think he could have used his special skills to save the whole lot, given how crazy that whole scenario was.

    As for this Facebook post, how ridiculous. Everyone knows sex traffickers are only interested in blonde Nordic types.

  4. Abigail May 29, 2015 at 11:03 pm #

    Seems like Facebook is the problem…

  5. Michelle May 30, 2015 at 12:25 am #

    Don’t actual sex traffickers target at risk girls who won’t be quickly missed?

    Not to mention that friending strangers on Facebook in the hopes that they’ll post just the information you need to kidnap a child has to be the least efficient system EVER.

  6. Uly May 30, 2015 at 12:43 am #

    But that story doesn’t make any sense!

  7. Donald May 30, 2015 at 2:23 am #

    “….We are great at fantasy and terrible at skepticism ….”

    There is a good reason for this. 50,000 years of evolution made us this way. This is normal (sort of) However it was gotten out of hand because the part of the brain that keeps this under control is becoming dysfunctional. The last few decades of hysteria has damaged the amygdalla. Emotion is going out of control like a runaway train.

    However it’s also addicting. ‘joy juice’ such as dopemine gets released when we feel outraged. That’s why people love it so much!

    ‘………….I get so frustrated, railing at a world which clearly wants — LOVES — to believe all kids are beset by predators ……………’

    This joy juice addiction is the reason why the amygdalla has been battered so much in the last few decades. This is spurred of the hysteria which in turn abuses the amygdalla even more!

    What came first? The chicken or the egg? Or perhaps what do we do first? Do we stop the hysteria from battering the amygdalla or do we keep the battered amygdalla from creating the hysteria?

    The outrage gives us our ‘fix’. It doesn’t matter how stupid the plot is or even if it is as realistic as Harry Potter, Too Fast Too Furious 7, or The Kardashians!
    We still get the joy juice.

    For my info please see

  8. Me May 30, 2015 at 3:31 am #

    The logistics of kidnapping a child and taking them across intercontinental boundaries are prohibitive. We’d need an international white slavery ring with its own ships, for one thing, as taking a kid who has been reported kidnapped onto a plane with faked documentation is kind of tricky.

    I, personally, think you should exercise discretion when you post pictures and info about your kids on Facebook, or other social media sites. This isn’t for safety, it’s because your kid is going to grow up and be seriously annoyed that all the embarrassing details of their childhood are archived on line.

    And as far as kidnapping – never use your child’s name in a public place, or discuss anything personal. Someone could overhear you, follow you home, and then use your child’s nam , and other details you’ve discussed with them, to lure them into an unmarked van.

  9. bsolar May 30, 2015 at 4:45 am #

    The problem is that people assume the universe revolves around them. Sorry to burst your bubble, but you putting a photo of your precious snowflake on facebook doesn’t make any head turn, it’s simply background noise as far as Internet is concerned. I mean, your *real friends* and *family members* are likely not to care about it! There will be no trafficker caring about it either.

  10. What, even? May 30, 2015 at 7:12 am #

    Maybe if you’re a well-known billionare/celebrity, that might be useful information. Or if your child is legitly vulnerable in some other way…

    Otherwise, you’re not that special. Your kid’s not that special.

    What is a bad idea to plaster all over your timeline is ‘I live at this address and I’m a single parent. I’m just going out to pick up my only child from Kindergarden. Leaving at x time, will be back at y time’

  11. C. S. P. Schofield May 30, 2015 at 7:20 am #


    Oh, don’t go brining in reality to something as fantastic as TAKEN. If TAKEN happened in a world notably more real than the one the James Bond movies happen in, Neeson’s character would be in prison for life from the fallout of the first film. Assuming that the french police, who are far less incompetent than the film suggests, hadn’t simply shot him full of more holes than a colander.

  12. lollipoplover May 30, 2015 at 8:12 am #

    Ah, Facebook.
    I can count on it for news like this:

    Supervise your kids at all times! Keep them away from pencils! Why do people post this sh@t???


  13. Dhewco May 30, 2015 at 8:37 am #

    Facebook needs something besides Like and Share. There needs to be a dislike button. Also, why haven’t we seen the kidnappings of Youtube kid celebrities if it’s that easy? These kids post a lot of information about themselves. Some even their home cities.

  14. ChicagoDad May 30, 2015 at 8:41 am #

    No facebook, because predators. No stick figures on your minivan, because predators. No tacky wooden stork on your lawn, because predators. No taking photographs at school, because predators. No dads at the park, because predators. Don’t put your kid’s name on their clothes or back pack, because predators. No walking to the park, because predators. Did I miss anything?

    What’s next? No swingset in the yard? No fireman’s sticker on your back door because it will tell people that there are kids in the house? No birth certificates because the county clerk might be a perv? You must have your children in secret, avoid any acknowledgment of their existence, and hide them in a non-disclosed, non-descript location if you want to have any chance of avoiding these predators. And, if you are not prepared to live like a mobster in witness protection, you shouldn’t have kids! You can NEVER be too careful, am I right?

    Well, you don’t need to see my Facebook page to know that I have small children at home, because, to paraphrase Jeff Foxworthy, I have that exhausted, hunched-over-searching-the-ground-for-lost-change walk of a married father of 3.

  15. Jill May 30, 2015 at 9:06 am #

    This story makes no logical sense. Try taking a child with no ID on an international flight with or without a bag over her head and see how far you get.

  16. pentamom May 30, 2015 at 9:18 am #

    Without this Facebook post, would the pedophiles be unaware that there are children to be found at schools?

    I’ll retire to Bedlam.

  17. Beth May 30, 2015 at 9:45 am #

    @pentamom, that was my point above!! Why would a predator have to rely on a harried mom friending him and posting exactly the information he needs, when there are schools, libraries, playgrounds, and parks? This post acts as if this complex and inefficient plan, which basically depends on luck, is the only way to find a child.

    Besides which, are there any adults, even harried ones, who accept friend requests from people they don’t know?

    @Me, please tell me you used the sarcasm font when you wrote this: “And as far as kidnapping – never use your child’s name in a public place, or discuss anything personal. Someone could overhear you, follow you home, and then use your child’s nam , and other details you’ve discussed with them, to lure them into an unmarked van.”

  18. Kimberly May 30, 2015 at 10:02 am #

    Yea! my family and friends none of them have posted this nonsense.

    Obviously those who wrote and are posting this have never been in an elementary school during dismissal time the first week of school. Teachers and aides spend a lot of time checking and double checking lists to get the kinder and 1st graders in the right group then herding the cats excuse me children to the right location.

  19. ChicagoDad May 30, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    I forgot a few:

    No sleepovers, because predators. No playing outside, because predators. No browsing the toy aisle while mom shops, because predators. No waiting in the car with the windows down, because predators. No letting the kids use public bathrooms, because predators. No lawn mowing, babysitting, paper routes or lemonade stands, because predators.

    These predators are real killjoys! If I had known the English speaking world was so dangerous, I would have started my family somewhere safer, like Syria or South Sudan. Geez

  20. Tiny Tim May 30, 2015 at 11:37 am #

    No sleepovers and no babysitting are probably the closest things to sensible advice. I’m not advocating that, of course, just that actual risk does come from people you know, not strangers…

  21. bmommyx2 May 30, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

    This is the reason that so many parents now sign no photo authorization forms at school. I mentioned the idea of a Closed / Private Facebook page for the preschool parents & some of them went crazy & I wasn’t even suggesting posting photos. I know some people who will not post any photos of their kids online. What’s to stop someone at the mall, grocery store, park or other public place from photographing your child & doing as they please with it? You can’t keep them in a bubble or worry about the worst case scenario.

  22. That_Susan May 30, 2015 at 12:30 pm #

    So I’m puzzled — did this happen to an actual little girl, or did someone just fantasize that it hypothetically could happen?

  23. Gina May 30, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

    I believe this photo comes from a story about a man who DID try to sell a little girl on FB. The man was her FATHER. It was HIS daughter. NO STRANGER DANGER….

  24. Resident Iconoclast May 30, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

    Find some early interviews with Mark Zuckerberg. Before he hired an expensive “public speaking” coach. He started out every sentence, with the word “So…” And the waffling and dithering made the impression that everything that came out of his mouth was a lie. A complete P.R. Disaster.

    But it hasn’t kept millions of gullible lemmings from giving him free content, and deceiving themselves that “everyone” is just dying to hear their latest thought or activity, just like they want to hear the latest from the Kardashian sluts.

    The government and the cops love Facebook. I’m sure, if they want to find out if “mom” has been leaving in the car unattended, they’ll just log on and look at the phone photos she uploaded, proving their case. In fact, many teenagers find out, to late, that their auto-driving hijinks work just fine, as evidence for the judge to look at. And they posted it themselves.

    All so that F-tard Zuckerberg can make billions, while you’re wasting six hours a day being his slut.

    So it’s little surprise that the trolls and manipulator-bastards will post lies and propaganda, to keep you in line. I know that most people will laugh at me, but if you use Facebook you should stop and give it up as surely as an alcoholic should give up booze.

  25. Buffy May 30, 2015 at 1:44 pm #

    Hey Resident Icon…? How about if you just live your life the way you want, and the rest of us will make our own choices. And I don’t think the word “slut” is necessary to use toward Facebook users, or anyone else for that matter.

  26. MomOf8 May 30, 2015 at 1:53 pm #

    @Me You said, “…to lure them into an unmarked van.” You forgot white. Unmarked WHITE van.

  27. MichaelF May 30, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

    I never friend strangers on Facebook anyway, so meh.

  28. Gina May 30, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

    @ResidentIronclast & Everyone: May I respectfully request that we don’t use the words F-tard, Retard or any other kind of “tard” on this site.

  29. JP Merzetti May 30, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

    First thing I noticed is that the precious baby kindergardner appeared to age a dozen years or so first day at school………..according to the photo. I just love the manipulation of media. Laugh a minute.
    But it’s no laughing matter at all if you happen to live in Thailand, and you’re dirt-poor.
    Same thing in Bangladesh…..

    But that is there. This is here. Facebook provides enough of the tyranny of the toy, no doubt.
    Which is why I mostly use it to keep track of people related to me who I don’t know (but would probably like to.)
    Including kids (second cousins.) My last name, posted boldly, has always been my calling card.

    The global numbers around the planet concerning this problem are appalling.
    Which is why a sensible community includes eyes on the street. And competent and accurate knowledge of the community makes good sense……………in order to allow kids a safe kind of freedom.
    Because isn’t that the issue? Freedom isn’t “safe” anymore. (or, ironically – free.)
    It now costs a hell of a lot of money.
    Far more than we used to just pay the army, the police force – to keep things tidy.
    Now it’s an entrepreneural opportunity, apparently.

    But back to facebook for a second…..If you’re the star of your own tv show – then doesn’t this give you a self-perceived celebrity status? (or so you might think) What is private now becomes public.
    And now it’s up to you to wrestle your way through that reality. (or maybe more to the point – the gazzillion unrealities sloshing around out there.)

    If kids are no more in danger than they were when I was a kid – why is that, really?
    Is it because we’re all so marvelously perfect in our protections?
    Or is it because the nature of the actual danger hasn’t really changed all that much………..
    but what has changed – is our perception of it.
    (That blind man over there really does swear that the elephant’s trunk is actually a boa constrictor) – and so on.

    But I do agree. We fantasize like mad. Pickled in it. I did that too….as a kid. After which good solid bite-sized reality sandwiches became the sustenance that sustained me. We used to refer to it (as teenagers) as growing up.
    Thankfully, this life’s passage happened before we ever became parents.
    Between fantasy and skepticism…….I figure the latter always leads the dance. Avoids stepped-on toes. Follows the beat. While the band smiles on, and a good time is had by all.
    (I learned that from American Bandstand, I think…….remember when we figured out they were just lip-synching?)
    “Dude! Put your hands back on the guitar! The tune hasn’t stopped yet!!!”

  30. Reziac May 30, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

    The question I always ask is:

    Do you actually, firsthand, yourself, know someone this happened to?

    ALWAYS the answer is, “No, but I heard about it from [social media or similar rumor mill]. Or if they’re really really sure it happens, “No, but my friend said..”

    And I have yet to find someone has firsthand experience of whatever is the Movie Plot Evil of the day. When I point this out, the response is always, “It’s happening, it’s real, you’ll see!!” and similar protests, without a shred of evidence.

  31. Reziac May 30, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

    And furthermore… if someone really wants kids for sex trafficking, you can get them a lot easier in various third world countries. An acquaintance who lived in Belize for a while said that little kids there tried to sell themselves to foreign adults all the time, because that was the best way for a poor kid to eat regularly. So why bother with the risks of stealing kids in first-world countries, if they’re just going to be shipped to another third-world country anyway?? Seriously, are your kids that much more valuable than the local product??

    Epic economics logic fail.

  32. Charlie Chandler May 30, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

    Find out who called the authorities. They should be sued for making such a frivolous call if there is not a state law against it.

  33. Papilio May 30, 2015 at 6:06 pm #

    @Reziac: My thoughts exactly! Why on earth would you kidnap an Indian kid from the USA and bring her to South-Africa if you can just go to India and pick whatever poor orphaned/neglected girl you want?!!
    Same plothole in that Taken movie: why would traffickers from Eastern Europe go all the way to Paris to abduct some rich (rich enough to pay for a trip to Europe anyway) little American girl who most certainly will be missed and searched for, when they can trick/abduct plenty of girls in their own much poorer countries?

    “a man she’s never seen before picked her up from school”
    And he breaks into banks in his spare time?

    Re the photo: that red-shirting thing is really getting out of hand…!

  34. Dhewco May 30, 2015 at 6:43 pm #

    I’m assuming the writers of these movies must be assuming that there are people who would consider American girls more of a challenge to dominate for some reason. Or that sex with them is better than an emaciated girl from a poor country?

  35. Kimberly May 30, 2015 at 7:23 pm #

    LollipopLover —

    I just read that article. What struck me about it is that where these events are taking place you find populations that are extremely religious in either Christianity or in “paganism” (I use paganism colloquially) — both of which believe in evil and demons.

    My daughter laughs about this whole Charlie Charlie thing. As she said, even if there was a child demon that could be contacted, with it blowing up on the internet like this, a single demon wouldn’t be able to visit all of these places.

  36. Kimberly May 30, 2015 at 7:35 pm #

    The problem with posts like this is that it diminishes the actual problem of human trafficking that DOES exist — similar to this whole “gluten free” frenzy that’s going on. People who actually suffer from diseases like Celiac are finding it harder and harder for people who work in the food industry to take them seriously because servers have seen an astronomical increase in people claiming “I can’t have gluten”.

    Does human trafficking exist? Absolutely. But we need to be on the lookout for ACTUAL symptoms and signs rather than painting everything with broad strokes. If people become so busy analyzing and editing their actions and lives — worried about what “might” happen — then they will be more likely to miss situations that should be raising red flags.

  37. pentamom May 30, 2015 at 7:56 pm #

    Reziac and Papilio — heck, if you’re in South Africa, you can get Indian kids THERE!

  38. Peter Grace May 30, 2015 at 11:16 pm #

    Irrational people

  39. sexhysteria May 31, 2015 at 2:29 am #

    What can a five-year-old do for anybody – sexually or otherwise? 70,000 Indian Rupees are worth about US$1.10. The very premise of risking a kidnapping charge to profit by selling the child is insane.

  40. Ben Carter May 31, 2015 at 7:32 am #

    “confused, terrified and crying because a man she’s never seen before picked her up from school,”

    If you can find an American school that hands kids off to strangers you’re living in a fantasy world.

  41. Dhewco May 31, 2015 at 8:52 am #

    I was thinking the same thing. You can’t even have a father wave at his kids without someone panicking. There’s no way this could happen in the US schools of today. Not with a stranger. If, as someone pointed out, it was someone the kid knew…different story. Still unlikely, though.

  42. Miriam May 31, 2015 at 10:27 am #

    OMG Fear factor to the extreme.

  43. Erics May 31, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

    @Abigail. Facebook isn’t the “problem”. It’s a tool. And just like any other tool, it’s as useful or destructive as the one who uses it for their purpose. PEOPLE are the problem. In fact, in pretty much all facets of life, you look at the common denominator for all the problems we have, and what do you see. That’s right, someone/some people, somewhere, is doing something for their own self gain and satisfaction. Not caring about anyone else. Some are so delusional, that they actually think they are “helping”, but never realizing they are actually making things worse.

    No, Facebook, Media and the Internet aren’t the issue, they just made it easier for people who use them to spread fear and paranoia.

  44. Erics May 31, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

    @Me: I would mostly agree with you, if it weren’t for your last point.

    “And as far as kidnapping – never use your child’s name in a public place, or discuss anything personal. Someone could overhear you, follow you home, and then use your child’s nam , and other details you’ve discussed with them, to lure them into an unmarked van.”

    Lol. I had to laugh at that one. Sure, that could happen. As much as a large object from the sky can come crashing down on someone’s home killing everyone in it. Kidnappings by strangers is an uncommon thing to begin with. And they most certainly would not be picking kids at random. If they are smart, they will target a specific child. The aren’t going to a public place and listen to everyone’s conversation. lol No, they will probably have already picked out the child. Track them for a few days, and see what the family’s schedule is like.

    No. The best way of protecting children is still the old ways. TEACH them to be able to protect themselves. Teach them to be observant. The do’s and don’ts with people they don’t know. What to do when they come into a situation that makes them feel uncomfortable (not shy uncomfortable, but bad uncomfortable) or threatened. Don’t spoil or coddle them. It will only diminish their capacity to be focused and alert. They would be complacent. And complacency is always a bad thing.

    How do you want your children to be when they’re adults? THAT is how you raise them to be from the time they able to start learning. This also helps to take a lot of parenting pressures off of parents.

  45. Tamara May 31, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

    Erics. I agree with you about people being the problem. However I don’t think the majority are being manipulative or simply selfish, I think people have just been so trained and ingrained to follow the crowd instead of evaluating for themselves. To stand out against the majority view simply isn’t encouraged.

  46. Emily May 31, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

    Yeah, Warren, I was going to say the same thing. I didn’t even finish watching “Taken,” because it was just so awful, and UNREALISTIC to boot–I mean, this young woman and her friend were given permission by their parents to go on a trip to France after high school, by themselves, and this caused them to be sold into sex slavery within 24 hours of landing there. When I watched this movie (or, part of it), I was living in Australia, and I’d flown there from Canada by myself, and lived to tell the tale, maybe because I had the good sense not to go off with a strange man at the airport.

  47. SKL May 31, 2015 at 3:12 pm #

    LOL that showed up on my newsfeed months ago. My response was: “because without facebook, child traffickers wouldn’t know that there are kids at elementary schools.” Duh.

  48. SKL May 31, 2015 at 3:27 pm #

    But seriously. Yesterday was a bad day for me as a mom of 8yo girls who ought to be more free-range. First I wanted a coffee from Panera. I was driving my kids from the horse farm to a pool party, so they were dirty & smelly and I told them to stay in the car. One of them is still scared to stay in the car for 5 minutes because she’s afraid the cops will take her away. It’s been almost 2 years since the cops bothered us, but she was in tears and left the car and came into Panera despite my instructions. I sent her back to the car. People around were giving me “that look” as I went back to wait for my damn coffee. How much longer? My kids will be 4th graders come Thursday.

    Later I was doing a read-aloud. The story had two boys, age 6 and 8, whose parents left them home alone and told them to meet Mom & Dad at a restaurant at 6pm. I paused and said, “notice that these boys are 6 and 8 years old and their parents –” I was interrupted by an auntie, who started in about all the horrible things that would happen to my kids if I tried that. Child trafficking happened to be her theme yesterday. She insisted that was highly likely right here in Suburban Midwest America if two 8yo girls are seen walking in their neighborhood. When I pointed out how safe our neighborhood is compared to wherever people regularly snatch and sell young girls as sex slaves, she said, I still need to teach them to be afraid because if I don’t, they will be dumb enough to walk alone down any street in the most unsafe place in the world. Really?

    I kept pointing out that I’ve walked alone all of my life, and not only am I still alive, but nobody ever tried to snatch me. I also suggested that maybe I’d stop letting my kids be around her if she couldn’t stop saying that kind of nonsense to them.

    My kids were like, you guys are saying completely opposite things, so let’s drop it and continue with the story.

    One of my kids believes me, the other is falling for the scare tactics. I’m so sick of this. I though that now that they are 8yo, people would shut up. Apparently this crap is never going to stop, because everyone knows that the statistical risk only increases as girls get older. The problem with that is, they won’t ever have a chance to learn how to keep themselves safe if they are never allowed out. Ugh ugh ugh.

  49. Amanda Matthews May 31, 2015 at 5:56 pm #

    “This isn’t for safety, it’s because your kid is going to grow up and be seriously annoyed that all the embarrassing details of their childhood are archived on line.”

    Since all of their peers’ childhoods will be archived as well, it won’t be cause for embarrassment. It’ll be no different than moms pulling out the photo albums after home cameras became common.

    “never use your child’s name in a public place, or discuss anything personal.”

    LOL, just try telling my highly social daughter that. It never fails that I take her out of the house and she tells at least 1 new person (could be anyone, a cashier, another kid in a line, another library patron, another kid at a homeschool event) her name, discusses her interests, and tells them that they should check out her YouTube channel. At this point, she says, they are no longer strangers but “new friends”. I guess it’s a good thing that I taught her to never be “lured” anywhere without asking my (or my husband’s) permission first.

  50. SteveS May 31, 2015 at 9:35 pm #

    This is stupid, but the internet has always had a fair number of fear mongering stories that make the rounds. In the 90’s there was no shortage of e-mails, warning me about all sorts of dangers. FB is certainly not going to be immune to this.

    As for TAKEN, it is an action movie. It is supposed to be escapist and unrealistic. If you require realism in an action movie, I am curious what would pass the test. Fast and Furious? Expendables? The Hobbit?

  51. Buffy May 31, 2015 at 10:10 pm #

    ” I think people have just been so trained and ingrained to follow the crowd instead of evaluating for themselves. To stand out against the majority view simply isn’t encouraged.”

    So if I decide that I would like to have a Facebook account, and use it in the manner that I feel is appropriate for me, I am “trained and ingrained to follow the crowd” and have not evaluated for myself? I refuse to “stand out against the majority view”?

    Maybe you shouldn’t be quite so judgmental of people you haven’t even met.

  52. Dave B June 1, 2015 at 2:59 am #

    If you follow through all the fear mongering, to protect your children from everything, your only recourse is to lock them up in your basement. If you want to be really sure, lock up the pregnant mother too.

    To prevent any further harm, use an automated feeder and watering system so even you couldn’t harm them.
    And you only have to do this for 18 years.

    And on their 18th birthday you open up this schroedingers box of childhood and you will see if you “brought” up a normal human being or something quite unlike this.

  53. MichaelF June 1, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

    I thought Something*Positive did a nice bit on Charlie Charlie

  54. Gary June 1, 2015 at 12:59 pm #

    “No stick figures on your minivan, because predators.”

    I would get one of these for my truck but then I would have to worry about some predator trying to kidnap my ‘hog…

  55. Janet C June 1, 2015 at 1:32 pm #

    I went and looked at the post on FB, and many comments are pointing out how stupid and fearmongery it is, so there’s that.

    The group that posted this is located in some town in Manchester, England.

    Funny what goes viral.

  56. julie5050 June 1, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

    In Oklahoma an adult woman caused a panic about Human Trafficking after posting a story of being followed in Hobby Lobby. Even though there was no incident..The comments were amazing.. You cant be too careful. She was soooo lucky. annnnd my favourite “We must constantly be in a state of panic . The police will not protect you it is up to us to stay alert and trust no one” As is a real crime had been thwarted.

  57. Ellie June 1, 2015 at 6:03 pm #

    Everyone seems to be rationalizing the moral of the story. Be it true or not. What we all need to realize is this type of thing can happen. We don’t need to always check in, we don’t always need to post our whole lives on fb, and we really shouldn’t accept strangers friends requests. Anyways be aware of your surroundings online and on the street. Be safe

  58. oncefallendotcom June 1, 2015 at 9:16 pm #

    Well hell, I have been waiting here to be abducted for sexual purposes by some cute lonely female but no one stalks my social media accounts. I put my real face, name and address out there, too. What am I doing wrong?

  59. hineata June 2, 2015 at 1:42 am #

    @MichaelF- must say, the Charlie Charlie thing is one that I wouldn’t want to play with, the combination of both an indigenous and a fundamentalist background leaving me quite convinced that there is more out there than we know of, thank you Horatio . Had enough ‘fun’ at a seance as a 10 year old to never touch that again. ..:-)

    There’s all sorts of stuff outside for kids to play with. …they don’t need to be playing with spiritual heebeejeebies.

  60. Rinowish June 2, 2015 at 8:28 am #

    Lenore, I almost sent this to you too. I’ve also seen it make it’s rounds on Facebook with some of my friends and my reaction was the same each time – Fear mongering propaganda. They don’t even make an attempt to wrap it in any “facts” or “statistics” (even though most readers here know that something like this is extremely rare, statistically speaking). It is a made up story (maybe based upon a true event, maybe not, the forgot to mention that also) with the sole purpose to incite massive amounts of fear for an exceptionally rare scenario.

  61. Alex June 3, 2015 at 5:04 am #

    While I support “don’t add strangers on Facebook” (or even acquaintances you never ever talk with on Facebook) just as a policy to keep your friend list clean and your posts quasi-private (never truly private on the Internet, of course), I really really really really REALLY do not think adding a stranger on Facebook would suddenly result in a situation as absurd as this.

    I mean this has to be satirical… it’s obviously fake, but what I mean is I hope the author realized it’s not realistic at all. If someone just wants some 5-year-old kid, I don’t think they’d be impressed with your Facebook photo and go through the effort to get yours in particular. It’s not like these people never see any other kids in their lives.

  62. brian June 3, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

    Its even better because it not only suggests abductions but also subtly stigmatizes single moms who are trying to date. Because everyone knows that right now it is just too easy for single moms to date. We should be sure to make it so that they are paranoid (and or shamed) when they even try to meet people.

  63. Tiny Tyrant's Mom June 3, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

    REALLY?!?! Has anyone tried gaining unauthorized access to a school or even a daycare post-Columbine? You’d have better luck breaking into a Supermax prison.

  64. pentamom June 3, 2015 at 4:30 pm #

    Well said, Buffy.

  65. Dave B June 4, 2015 at 3:00 am #

    good thing the charlie charlie thing is a viral marketing stunt for a horror movie

  66. Rachel June 4, 2015 at 6:03 am #

    Actually, I’d be far more worried ’bout the PARENTS than the child. Many strangers on facebook will try to friend you as a way of stealing your identity. They’re much more interested in your bank account than your child. Besides, stealing your identity can be done thousands of miles away from you and yours, the profits higher, and the penalties far lower than what they’d get for kidnapping.
    Even in the example above, there is good info for an identity thief; many people use the name of children or school mascots as passwords or responses to security questions.
    If you’re interested in protecting your facebook account from prying eyes, Lifehacker has an page called “The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Managing Your Facebook Privacy” – if you Google it, you’ll get directed to a site that shows, in simple language, what to do to make sure your facebook page stays YOUR facebook page.

  67. Buffy June 4, 2015 at 8:38 am #

    Thanks, pentamom. I wish Tamara would return and address my question.

  68. Warren June 4, 2015 at 10:36 am #

    Up here in Canada, we have not turned all of our schools in to max security prisons yet. I can walk in to a lot of schools, easily. It’s actually nice.

  69. Papilio June 4, 2015 at 4:33 pm #

    @Pentamom: I know, but I thought the local kids would be more likely to have not-so-poor parents and get their face on the news and if they escape, they speak the language and can ask for help – SO impractical 😛

  70. Kathrin June 5, 2015 at 9:53 am #

    Whenever I see something like the post mentioned, I post the “Snopes” response to the story in the comments of my friend’s share.

    I do this with every story that gears towards panicking people… I wish people would check on the story first and if there is anything to it, before mindlessly sharing it and just spreading the lies.

  71. Paula June 6, 2015 at 10:15 am #

    I just have to ask you why it matters if it is convoluted~or completely ridiculous fiction. If it goes viral and manages to make parents more aware of what they are doing on social media…it has served us well.
    I dont understand the logic behind your words~whatever it takes to protect children yes? We use a fictitious bear named ‘Smokey’ to teach about forest fires, we use a fictitious dog named ‘Sparky’ to teach about fires….
    Why would be different?

    Disappointed at the tone of your article

  72. hineata June 6, 2015 at 10:33 pm #

    @ Dave B – didn’t know that! Thanks for that. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to stop my primary school students playing it at school and freaking each other out. I just tell them that we don’t do spiritual stuff at school, leave it for home, but haven’t got through to them yet.

    @Paula – no, it isn’t helpful at all. At all. Kids in Western countries simply aren’t trafficked. Trafficking, which is a great evil, is going on in developing nations.

  73. What, even? June 7, 2015 at 8:39 am #

    Look what I found:

    “Children under 10 years must be accompanied by an adult aged 18+ AT ALL TIMES. However, those aged 10 or over can move around without you, if you wish.

    Simply request an ‘Authorised Unaccompanied Wristband’ on arrival at the wristband exchange, or from the Children’s Area welfare team throughout the weekend. Parents must sign for this.

    Any child aged 10 – 12 years without one of these wristbands, or any child under 10 found unaccompanied will be looked after by the Lost Kids/Welfare team who will make efforts to contact you.

    Please remember however that the Welfare service is not a crèche. Social Services and/or Suffolk Constabulary will need to be involved in any cases of lost children after a significant duration.


    Using the “authorised unaccompanied wristband” scheme for your child, does not mean that our liability or duty of care is increased in any way, but simply gives parental consent for the child to go through the main and family arena entrance gates unaccompanied.”

  74. Lisa Robertson June 7, 2015 at 9:40 pm #

    I can tell you of an abduction involving a family in our small town. This child is grown now with children of her own but here is how it went down. The family was in Disney World. Children go into restrooms. Mom waits outside the doors as she has children of both genders. Her 8 year old does not come out. She notifies authoritis immediately and immediately Disney closes the park. No one in or out. A family member is placed at each entrance along with police. It was told they had a tip of some type of questionable people in the area. The child goes through the gate her mother is at. She looks at her and then up and down. The juice she had spilled on her shoes was there. She looked back into her eyes. It was her. She had been hyperdermically drugged, hair cut, boys shirt and baseball hat in the time she was in the restroom and marched right past her mother. Rare story. If the internet had been in existence, I am sure it would have been all over it. Yes, I know of no child as of yet sold into sex trafficking from a facebook post.

  75. hineata June 7, 2015 at 10:21 pm #

    Lisa, do you know the names of the people involved, and have you personally met them? Because that particular story is an old urban legend.

  76. Mikel June 7, 2015 at 11:00 pm #


    Hi Lisa –

    What was the name of the family whose 8-year-old daughter underwent the attempted abduction at Disney World?

    I was interested in researching this incident, but it looks like that will be difficult without a name. This story is so common it has it’s own section on Snopes:

    Did you know this family directly yourself, or was the story passed along to you?


  77. Warren June 8, 2015 at 1:16 am #


    I am going to assume this is a story passed around town for ages. Because for as long as I remember Disney and most other amusement parks have had a standing rule to not let sleeping children out the gate. They are to be woken up and verified to be with the one they came with. Therefore no would be abductor would go thru that whole planning and attempt, when systems are in place to prevent just that sort of thing.

  78. Warren June 8, 2015 at 1:17 am #

    Let me just add, that if this did actually happen, it happened before those measures were put into place, making it basically ancient history and irrelevant.

  79. SOA June 8, 2015 at 6:44 pm #

    Someone I know posted this and I snopesed her and posted the snopes link refuting it. No comment from her on it. People usually get pissed when you snopes them but I do it anyway.

  80. SOA June 8, 2015 at 10:07 pm #

    That disney story is a total urban legend and a really stupid one at that. Disney first of all is one of the safest places on earth. They value their reputation above all else. They have plain clothes security people everywhere. You never even realize you are standing right next to them.
    They also have cameras everywhere. Also it is extremely crowded. Have you ever been in a totally empty Disney bathroom? I go during off season and still never been in a totally empty bathroom. There are always tons of people going in and out of them along with employees. Do you really think someone could abduct a child and cut their hair and change their clothes all in a few minutes and with no one noticing?

  81. ck June 10, 2015 at 2:06 pm #

    Things like this get by based on truisms. People really do post too much online; posting your work schedule, or your vacation dates, publicly online, is a really dumb idea. World-wide child sex trafficing is a thing and pedophiles really do use the internet to identify and groom targets. Publishing your daughter’s photo online will not cause her to get IDed by an international trafficking ring and sold into slavery. Trafficking rings have no problem picking up run-aways and poor children in 3rd world counties. They don’t need to break the safety nets that schools have in place to prevent *family abductions*, never mind *abductions by weirdos that my kid doesn’t even recognize*. If they *must* snatch a cute facebook child, they likely have the resources to do it with the parents standing right there.

    Funny thing is, people who are SOOO concerned about strange weirdos picking their children up from school because they saw a picture on Facebook are usually strangly lax about allowing their kids to use the Internet or online gaming totally unsupervised. The child-abduction mafia may not be a thing, but online trolls, bullies, and jerks sure are. Have you ever read the comment section of a YouTube video? We live in a world where fearing the flashy, but uncommon scenario is rational, but fearing the common, yet mundane one is paranoid.