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Creepy kid-am I overreacting?


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It would have been very weird here. People just don't go in others yards. I wouldn't be worried about a connection to trafficking or anything like that but annoyed. I know teens can be clueless, my son is entirely oblivious a lot of the time. I would have asked if they lived nearby because I would be wondering if they were trying to make friends with my kids. I also would have told them it is rude and not ok to record people without their permission.

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Do people not expect kids to talk to other kids and play with them? I keep seeing people say "he was on her property" but I'm picturing him on the sidwalk, seeing two kids, talking and interacting with them, and in the course of talking with them moving closer to be on the grass with them. Which is what I certainly did as a kid, and no one  considered it weird or an invasion of their property or anything. I mean, if there were no kids in the yard and he just randomy walked up toward th house, weirder. But he was interacting with other kids. 

I don't know...I just am sad I guess that people's first thought is trafficking and bullying. 

I also wonder if on some forum his mom is posting about if she should be worried about the stranger who was asking her kid a bunch of personal questions - wanting to know his birth date, address, etc. And people there all concerned about the potential predator wanting this kids information to come track him down. 

They'd be wrong, and likely all the speculation about this kid is wrong too. 

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21 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Do people not expect kids to talk to other kids and play with them? I keep seeing people say "he was on her property" but I'm picturing him on the sidwalk, seeing two kids, talking and interacting with them, and in the course of talking with them moving closer to be on the grass with them. Which is what I certainly did as a kid, and no one  considered it weird or an invasion of their property or anything. I mean, if there were no kids in the yard and he just randomy walked up toward th house, weirder. But he was interacting with other kids. 

I don't know...I just am sad I guess that people's first thought is trafficking and bullying. 

I also wonder if on some forum his mom is posting about if she should be worried about the stranger who was asking her kid a bunch of personal questions - wanting to know his birth date, address, etc. And people there all concerned about the potential predator wanting this kids information to come track him down. 

They'd be wrong, and likely all the speculation about this kid is wrong too. 

I am not speculating about the kid having done anything wrong.  I think recording kids he doesn't know without the parents permission is not appropriate, but it doesn't sound like he had any sort of negative motivation.  And I certainly didn't automatically think trafficking and bullying.

And sure, I absolutely expect kids to talk to other kids and play with them.  But I don't think it's bizzare at all for a parent to ask a kid who he is or where he lives when some random kid they don't know shows up on their property.  Isn't that how people get to know each other anyway?  

If a stange adult comes to MY house and starts randomly asking my kids such questions out of the blue, sure....I would be concerned.  But that's not what happened here.  This kid came to her house.  Asking such questions of a kid at your own house is just not bizzare or wrong.  

 

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Some of the replies on this thread are... interesting. If someone has come 20 FEET onto my property (as the OP said he did) and starting filming my young kids without permission, the LAST thing I'm going to worry about are that person's comfort and feelings. Now that doesn't mean I'm going to be harsh or aggressive with a kid. But I'll ask whatever questions I want. My first obligation is to protect MY kids. If the other kid's parents haven't discussed the responsibilities/proprieties of having a phone with the young videographer, he will get a firm explanation from me and sent on his way.

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47 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Do people not expect kids to talk to other kids and play with them? I keep seeing people say "he was on her property" but I'm picturing him on the sidwalk, seeing two kids, talking and interacting with them, and in the course of talking with them moving closer to be on the grass with them. Which is what I certainly did as a kid, and no one  considered it weird or an invasion of their property or anything. I mean, if there were no kids in the yard and he just randomy walked up toward th house, weirder. But he was interacting with other kids. 

I don't know...I just am sad I guess that people's first thought is trafficking and bullying. 

I also wonder if on some forum his mom is posting about if she should be worried about the stranger who was asking her kid a bunch of personal questions - wanting to know his birth date, address, etc. And people there all concerned about the potential predator wanting this kids information to come track him down. 

They'd be wrong, and likely all the speculation about this kid is wrong too. 

I think  the OP said he came in 20 feet. That's not just stepping off the sidewalk to talk. Now he probably didn't mean any harm. But that doesn't meant the OP was wrong. SHE didn't approach a random kid on a public street and pepper him with questions. She approached and questioned someone who was doing something many people consider inappropriate in HER yard with HER kids. I really could not care less that many or even most kids film everything. The kid was wrong to do what he did without permission. In my opinion, of course.

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She’s perfectly within her rights and I think it’s reasonable to ask him questions about what he’s doing on her yard. But he is perfectly within his rights and it would be a reasonable response from him to not feel like answering. 


 

 

 

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I think you all are giving too much credit to 12-13 yr old boy cluelessness. I was molested by a 13 year old boy when I was 8. He was not clueless. I have a teen son, so I know how clueless a boy can be. But, if I found out he was filming random people I would have taken away anything he could record with for a long time.

If someone had come onto MY property, filming MY young kids I would have been all over that. I don't care if his mom told him not to answer stranger's questions. She should have taught him not to film kids he doesn't know. I would be fine if my questions scared him off for good.

Just to keep people from calling me a helicopter mom, I wasn't. My kids rode their bikes all over town, went to their friends houses alone, went to the library alone, blah, blah, blah. 

I did, however, monitor interactions with older kids. I also monitored the interactions my young teens had with younger kids. I didn't want something inappropriate happening or a miscommunication that was deemed inappropriate. 

Kelly

Edited by SquirrellyMama
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8 minutes ago, SquirrellyMama said:

I think you all are giving too much credit to 12-13 yr old boy cluelessness. I was molested by a 13 year old boy when I was 8. He was not clueless. I have a teen son, so I know how clueless a boy can be. But, if I found out he was filming random people I would have taken away anything he could record with for a long time.

If someone had come onto MY property, filming MY young kids I would have been all over that. I don't care if his mom told him not to answer stranger's questions. She should have taught him not to film kids he doesn't know. I would be fine if my questions scared him off for good.

Just to keep people from calling me a helicopter mom, I wasn't. My kids rode their bikes all over town, went to their friends houses alone, went to the library alone, blah, blah, blah. 

I did, however, monitor interactions with older kids. 

Kelly

I think the boy who molested me couldn't have been much older than that.  I was three.  He was the youngest of four, and the other three were still home. and sil's ex-dh's nephew - was penetrating victims at that age.

some are clueless - but some are downright dangerous.

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2 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

I think the boy who molested me couldn't have been much older than that.  I was three.  He was the youngest of four, and the other three were still home. and sil's ex-dh's nephew - was penetrating victims at that age.

some are clueless - but some are downright dangerous.

Agreed, and on the surface you can't always tell the difference. If you get a vibe, I think it is appropriate to listen to it. 

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No one is saying that the OP shouldn't have asked the boy to stop.  Or that his filming kids wasn't inappropriate.  But automatically jumping to a sex trafficking scenario is going zero to 60, in my opinion.  Also - you can tell someone to stop filming and to leave your property without violating their privacy in return. 

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Well like I said earlier, I have worked extensively with groups of kids teaching, tutoring, facilitating, etc. 

A kid that was molesting others by the early teen years probably has some dark history in their own past whether they remember it or not. Statistically over 75% of abusers are adults and 93% are people kids know.  In our homeschool groups it wasn't unusual for 8-12/13 - pre-pubescent/tweens to all run together.  And then in days, those kids on the older end very typically are just done with the younger kids. These were highly supervised kids and I never saw anything intentionally malicious.  Silly, clueless, immature, unknowingly inappropriate?  Yes.   

It is super common for some kids to make little videos for fun.  And even for parents to let tweens/young teens have silly youtube channels, etc.  There are thousands of channels like this on youtube. Is that something I would let my kids do to post publicly at these ages?  No.  But plenty of parents have zero issues with this.  

I really recommend people train their own kids to say NO to filming/photo taking by strangers and give them direct strategies to deal with behavior from others they find inappropriate. 

We have had to lay out a very clear policy at our homeschool co-op where there are about 50-70 families in a given year that have a WIDE variety of backgrounds and preferences on filming/photos.  We also have had kids with ADHD, ASD, etc that don't necessarily remember clear boundaries all the time and struggle with impulse control.  And actually this is where my mind goes when kids are crossing boundaries and/or seem immature for age.   There are a couple families who have very specific reasons for not wanting any photos of them public.  YOUR child/teen needs to know to remove themselves from photo opportunities.  The age of the smart phone in immature hands has these things happening more and more.  These are things to start laying out early before your kid hits 12/13 and is suddenly interested in social media and may need a phone.  

I don't think the OP reacted inappropriately given this was a new situation to her, but as your kids get more toward the teen years stuff situations like this just become more common as your kids meet more kids and might get dropped off at activities.  It's good to set a tone that your kids should tell you about anything you are not ok with and that they can and should say no and find an adult if they recognize something isn't appropriate.  I do think jumping to stranger sex trafficking is a leap and this wouldn't have been a big deal to me at all.  

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11 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

No one is saying that the OP shouldn't have asked the boy to stop.  Or that his filming kids wasn't inappropriate.  But automatically jumping to a sex trafficking scenario is going zero to 60, in my opinion.  Also - you can tell someone to stop filming and to leave your property without violating their privacy in return. 

Asking the kid who he is, where he came from, etc etc......is quite a far cry from automatically jumping to a sex trafficking scenario.  The questions are appropriate when someone is at your own house.  I don't disagree that automatically presuming a sex trafficking sceario is rather extreame, and said as much.  But that doesn't make the questions that were asked inappropriate and the OP certainly had a right to ask them....regardless of why she was asking really.  Because he came to her house and started filming at her house, asking such questions isn't a violation of his privacy.

It would however be if she had showed up at HIS house and started randomly asking such questions.  

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4 hours ago, whitehawk said:

Having taught 6th and 7th grade, I would encourage folks not to underestimate the cluelessness of 12-13yos.

Never attribute to malice what can be chalked up to stupidity

4 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

Do people not expect kids to talk to other kids and play with them? I keep seeing people say "he was on her property" but I'm picturing him on the sidwalk, seeing two kids, talking and interacting with them, and in the course of talking with them moving closer to be on the grass with them. Which is what I certainly did as a kid, and no one  considered it weird or an invasion of their property or anything. I mean, if there were no kids in the yard and he just randomy walked up toward th house, weirder. But he was interacting with other kids. 

I don't know...I just am sad I guess that people's first thought is trafficking and bullying. 

I also wonder if on some forum his mom is posting about if she should be worried about the stranger who was asking her kid a bunch of personal questions - wanting to know his birth date, address, etc. And people there all concerned about the potential predator wanting this kids information to come track him down. 

They'd be wrong, and likely all the speculation about this kid is wrong too. 

This makes me sad too. 

I have this 12 yo. He's absolutely on another planet most of the time but he's funny, kind, and empathetic. He absolutely would think "Cool! Kids to play with" and never realize he was 20 feet on someone's property, that their parents might not appreciate his videoing the kids, and that someone would think his behavior is predatory. 

My son is quite on the immature side, but it makes me kinda sad that the first impulse is "creepy."

(BTW, most of my son's friends could end up doing a similar type of thing, so he's not that out of the ordinary for a 12 almost 13 yo.) I guess this is something I should talk to my boy about. He will not understand it at all.  He'll want to know why parents would not like him filming their kids. I hate things like this. 

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18 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

No one is saying that the OP shouldn't have asked the boy to stop.  Or that his filming kids wasn't inappropriate.  But automatically jumping to a sex trafficking scenario is going zero to 60, in my opinion.  Also - you can tell someone to stop filming and to leave your property without violating their privacy in return. 

We'll have to agree to disagree that she somehow violated his privacy. I find it funny that the people who are minding their own business and not doing anything to anyone else are the ones supposed to be concerned about the privacy of the person doing the inappropriate activity. One reason to ask who he is, if it turns out to be a neighbor kid, is so you mention to the parents, "Just wanted to let you know why I sent Johnny home when he stopped by the other day." Because honestly, I'd want to to know if my kid were doing something like that so I could correct the behavior. But I get that others see it differently.

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3 hours ago, Valley Girl said:

I think  the OP said he came in 20 feet. That's not just stepping off the sidewalk to talk. Now he probably didn't mean any harm. But that doesn't meant the OP was wrong. SHE didn't approach a random kid on a public street and pepper him with questions. She approached and questioned someone who was doing something many people consider inappropriate in HER yard with HER kids. I really could not care less that many or even most kids film everything. The kid was wrong to do what he did without permission. In my opinion, of course.

I'm wondering though, did the her KIDS say they were okay with the filming? I can see where he'd think he had their permission...but I can't remember how this played out between her kids and him, or if she saw the initial interaction and how he came to be up in her yard. 

I mean, did he think he was playing with them, in which case it is totally normal to come up into the yard. Or were her kids ignoring him totally and he walked up into the yard filming. The first is fairly normal, the second I could see being more weirded out by it. 

1 hour ago, whitehawk said:

Making silly little videos together is the way a lot of kids play now.

 

Yup

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29 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

I'm wondering though, did the her KIDS say they were okay with the filming? I can see where he'd think he had their permission...but I can't remember how this played out between her kids and him, or if she saw the initial interaction and how he came to be up in her yard. 

I mean, did he think he was playing with them, in which case it is totally normal to come up into the yard. Or were her kids ignoring him totally and he walked up into the yard filming. The first is fairly normal, the second I could see being more weirded out by it. 

Yup

In talking with my kids about the situation afterwards my daughter told me she asked what he was doing with the video when he first approached and he said he's betting on getting 40 likes.  She told him that they weren't allowed to have any videos on Facebook or YouTube or "anything like that."  This apparently wasn't enough to make him stop.  It was also before I had come out that he had told them it was his birthday party but that when they asked how old he was he wouldn't say.  To me, that is the sort of thing that could be easily followed up with " do you want to come and have some cake? " if I had not come outside at that point.  As a general rule my kids are not allowed to engage strangers who might be passing.  My 11 and 9 yo kids (the11yo boy was not outside at the time) can be trusted to follow this but my 7yo might occasionally forget himself if there is something particularly interesting.  They did not engage him at all from what they tell me.  He just approached filming and my daughter thought the whole thing was bizarre.

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1 hour ago, SquirrellyMama said:

Agreed, and on the surface you can't always tell the difference. If you get a vibe, I think it is appropriate to listen to it. 

Mom gut.  We have it for a reason.

51 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

I'm wondering though, did the her KIDS say they were okay with the filming? I can see where he'd think he had their permission...but I can't remember how this played out between her kids and him, or if she saw the initial interaction and how he came to be up in her yard. 

I mean, did he think he was playing with them, in which case it is totally normal to come up into the yard. Or were her kids ignoring him totally and he walked up into the yard filming. The first is fairly normal, the second I could see being more weirded out by it. 

Yup

This is so unfair to put it on the younger kids. They may or may not have been uncomfortable - it wasn't their determination to make if something another kid was doing is appropriate or not.  Even kids who have been specifically taught what is appropriate behavior and what isn't  -may miss things because they lack experience.  That's why parents need to be aware of what's happening around their kids.

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25 minutes ago, Syllieann said:

In talking with my kids about the situation afterwards my daughter told me she asked what he was doing with the video when he first approached and he said he's betting on getting 40 likes.  She told him that they weren't allowed to have any videos on Facebook or YouTube or "anything like that."  This apparently wasn't enough to make him stop.  It was also before I had come out that he had told them it was his birthday party but that when they asked how old he was he wouldn't say.  To me, that is the sort of thing that could be easily followed up with " do you want to come and have some cake? " if I had not come outside at that point.  As a general rule my kids are not allowed to engage strangers who might be passing.  My 11 and 9 yo kids (the11yo boy was not outside at the time) can be trusted to follow this but my 7yo might occasionally forget himself if there is something particularly interesting.  They did not engage him at all from what they tell me.  He just approached filming and my daughter thought the whole thing was bizarre.

Now this is a bit of a different picture that your original post and follow up.

Yes, I would find it weird that the kid wouldn't answer another kid's question about his age when he was asked...in direct response to telling them that it was his birthday.  I mean " Oh really, how old are you?" is a completely normal conversational question to be asked after stating you were having a birthday party, and coming from another kid, who is probably younger than you, vs an adult who might be intimidating....that would make me think that there might be some lying involved.  And combine the whole "betting on getting 40 likes" with later stating that he wasn't going to put it on youtube" makes me think that yeah, there was probably some lying going on.

Now, it could still be innocent....he could have just been trying to randomly film stuff to put on YouTube or TikTok or whatever.  But it seems likely that he at least knew what he was doing was something he shouldn't have been doing.  

But, once I get the feeling he knows he is doing something he shouldn't, yeah I would totally be more suspicious.  

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38 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

Mom gut.  We have it for a reason.

This is so unfair to put it on the younger kids. They may or may not have been uncomfortable - it wasn't their determination to make if something another kid was doing is appropriate or not.  Even kids who have been specifically taught what is appropriate behavior and what isn't  -may miss things because they lack experience.  That's why parents need to be aware of what's happening around their kids.

OH, I'm not blaming the kids. But I could see a situation where they started talking and playing and the kid came in the yard to play with them, and was filming something funny - not okay but not weird or scary. 

Vs him randomly walking up on the property filming but not engaging with or having fun WITH the kids. One is kids playing together, one is a kid filming other kids playing, and it is a different vibe to me. 

 

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2 hours ago, Syllieann said:

In talking with my kids about the situation afterwards my daughter told me she asked what he was doing with the video when he first approached and he said he's betting on getting 40 likes.  She told him that they weren't allowed to have any videos on Facebook or YouTube or "anything like that."  This apparently wasn't enough to make him stop.  It was also before I had come out that he had told them it was his birthday party but that when they asked how old he was he wouldn't say.  To me, that is the sort of thing that could be easily followed up with " do you want to come and have some cake? " if I had not come outside at that point.  As a general rule my kids are not allowed to engage strangers who might be passing.  My 11 and 9 yo kids (the11yo boy was not outside at the time) can be trusted to follow this but my 7yo might occasionally forget himself if there is something particularly interesting.  They did not engage him at all from what they tell me.  He just approached filming and my daughter thought the whole thing was bizarre.

This update changes my perspective that he might be just a clueless kid.  He still might be, but it definitely is not the kind of interaction I initially envisioned from the first post. This makes him sound more like a kid who knew he wasn’t being on the up and up with any of you.

I’d be ticked as heck that someone was going to film my kids and post it on social media for “likes.”  We don’t even do FB here, I don’t want our kids online.  Period.

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2 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

OH, I'm not blaming the kids. But I could see a situation where they started talking and playing and the kid came in the yard to play with them, and was filming something funny - not okay but not weird or scary. 

I agree with you that in a very general sense, such a situation isn't necessarily weird or scary.  But the fact that it's not weird or scary doesn't mean the mom doesn't have the right to ask identifying of a random kid she doesn't know who shows up on her property.  

 

Lets make it not about her kid's safety.  Lets make it about the safety of the kid who showed up on her property.  He starts playing with her kids.  It's all innocent fun, pretending the box is a space ship.  Everyone's running around, having a great time, mom does not want to interrupt to find out who the  kid is or where he came from, how old he is...anything.  And everyone continues running around, kid trips and falls on the sidewalk, smashes his head, bleeding all over and is knocked unconsious.  Mom freaks out and calls 911....paramedics ask her for his information-

What's his name...I don't know
Who are his parents, where do they live......I don't know
How old is he.....I don't know
 

etc etc etc.

 

I don't know about you, but when kids are at my house, playing with my kids.....I do feel a particular sense of responsibility.  And I can't imagine not even being able to figure out who to contact to tell them that the kid is hurt and being taken away in an ambulance.  I am guessing paramedics often show up on the scene of an accident without any way of knowing who they are treating or where the kid's parents are.  But gosh, if it happened on my property I would want to have SOME information to give.

It's not wrong to ask identifying information about a kid who is there at your house.

It would be wrong to walk up/ride up/drive up to some random kid at his own house and start randomly asking questions like that.  

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Where I am people can record in public spaces without explicit permission, but not on private property.  I could also be held liable for what might happen to him.  Our homeowners insurance considers knowledge of the person on your property without asking them to leave is permission for them to be there.

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5 hours ago, Syllieann said:

In talking with my kids about the situation afterwards my daughter told me she asked what he was doing with the video when he first approached and he said he's betting on getting 40 likes.  She told him that they weren't allowed to have any videos on Facebook or YouTube or "anything like that."  This apparently wasn't enough to make him stop.  It was also before I had come out that he had told them it was his birthday party but that when they asked how old he was he wouldn't say.  To me, that is the sort of thing that could be easily followed up with " do you want to come and have some cake? " if I had not come outside at that point.  As a general rule my kids are not allowed to engage strangers who might be passing.  My 11 and 9 yo kids (the11yo boy was not outside at the time) can be trusted to follow this but my 7yo might occasionally forget himself if there is something particularly interesting.  They did not engage him at all from what they tell me.  He just approached filming and my daughter thought the whole thing was bizarre.

Yeah I would definitely be concerned about it I think.  Not panic and call the police level concerned but watch my kids any time they’re outdoors concerned.   

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