The Short of It
As part of a "social experiment," YouTuber Joey Salads approached kids on a playground to see how quickly he could get them to walk away with him—a stranger. Turns out, it was super quick. All he needed was to bring along a puppy.
In the video, which has gone viral, Joey asks several mothers how likely they think it would be that their children would talk to and walk away with him. Most of the moms said, not that likely, because they often talk to them about strangers. But in the video, three different kids talked to Joey about his puppy and walked off with him while holding his hand—within seconds. The moms were shocked.
"Over 700 kids are abducted a day. That's over a quarter million a year. Are your kids safe?" Joey asks.
This video should be a reminder of how we should be talking to our children about strangers. Tell young kids which adults are safe to talk to—like police officers and crossing guards—but to immediately tell a trusted grown-up if anyone else approaches them. Friendliness and saying "hi" is fine, but kids should be told never to go anywhere with another adult unless you say it's okay.
As your child gets a little older and becomes more independent, you can be more specific with action plans of what to do if someone follows them or stops to talk to them. Tell them which places are safe—a friend's house or a store—and never to get close to a car if someone stops to talk to them through the window. While we don't want to scare our children too much, we also want to protect and empower them for a worst case scenario.
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