From Belgium comes this encouraging note:
Have you seen this [Joey Salads’ puppy/park/predator] video circulating on the internet which warns parents about child abduction? It’s going viral right now.
Good news, the Belgian public organization (called Child Focus) that helps families whose child has been lost of kidnapped, has taken a stance against this video.
Child focus says that the situation of a kidnapper approaching a child with a young puppy in a peaceful manner, while its parents are sitting nearby is completely unrealistic. Kidnappings mostly take place when a child is all alone, and the kidnapping often takes place under violent circumstances. But more importantly, Child focus claims that giving your child the advice to not talk to strangers is a bad advice. Freely translated from Dutch, the spokesperson of Child Focus says:
“If you teach your children not to talk to strangers, you create a fearful child. They will think that the world is generally a dangerous place with few safe havens. A child must above all develop self-confidence and inner strength, and it does not happen by repeatedly hearing how dangerous strangers are. Besides, there are many examples showing that “strange people” do good deeds to children. Just think of those who bring lost children back to their mom and dad on the beach or in a busy shopping center.”
Full statement (in Dutch) can be found here: http://www.standaard.be/cnt/dmf20150504_01662183?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_term=dso&utm_content=article&utm_campaign=seeding
I think this statement is especially relevant, given that Belgium has been traumatized by a serial killer (Dutroux) who raped and killed several girls in Belgium in the 90s. This has had a huge impact on free play in public spaces.
I wish that someone in a position of great authority here would issue a similar statement, instead of presenting the video as half of a debate — as if full blown hysteria about the rarest, most random of crimes and a rational approach to risk are equally valid. (See this CBC interview with me.) – L