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6 hours ago, Dreamergal said:

 This is how they work for towards eradicating child trafficking.

https://www.cry.org/issues-views/child-trafficking

 

These are some of the other organizations.

https://yourstory.com/socialstory/2020/06/ngo-rescue-rehabilitate-sex-trafficking-victims

 

Thank you for providing pertinent, written information so that we can actually evaluate the organizations. 

5 hours ago, Selkie said:

Tell that to the parents of kids who are abducted by strangers - about 350 per year in the U.S.

Actually, it's way less than that. It's about 350 per year that are under 21; of those, about 100 are under 18. Of the 100 or so that are minors, the vast majority are in their teens. All stranger abductions are tragic, including those of adults, and I am not saying that teens aren't children - but the most common victims are not what most people are picturing when they hear 'child abduction.' 

5 hours ago, Selkie said:

Rare, but very real - which was my point. Saying "stranger danger is not really real" is simply not true. Lots of things are rare but real, and I don't understand the impulse to downplay this one. To me, that's as foolish as overstating the child trafficking issue. Why not just be factual?

I think she might be referring to "stranger danger" not in the literal sense of danger from people you don't know, but rather to the concept of stranger danger that was packaged and promoted beginning in the 1970s but really becoming popular in the 1980s. There were programs that focused on stranger danger and used the phrase, and programs that were literally named Stranger Danger. I didn't get the sense that she was saying that a stranger would never hurt a child. 

It is a fact that children are at very minute risk of being abducted by strangers, and it is a fact that they are more likely to be sexually abused by people they know. 

If anyone is looking for an alternative to stranger danger and 'never talk to strangers' in particular, I taught my kids "yes to talking, no to walking." I have no idea where I got it from, but hey, it rhymes just like stranger danger! It's the simple concept that it's fine to talk to people you may not know, but you should never walk with them or anyone, even people you know, without permission. It's a simple and easy to remember rule, and it covers two important facts about kids: most of them only have a hazy concept of who a stranger is, and they are actually in more danger from a person they know. If you teach never talk to strangers, they might go off to look for a lost puppy with a neighbor or your coworker they met when visiting your office. My kids grew up talking to strangers, and it enriched their life. 

Of course, this simple rule was accompanied by various talks on following your intuition, being rude to adults if you feel uncomfortable, and so on. 

 

3 hours ago, marbel said:

This seems crazy to me. People in their 60s - 80s most likely grew up with lots of freedom to roam and play outside. I am in my 60s and have great memories of freedom to play with friends outside, walk to the store, etc. I would have expected folks in my age cohort to be happy to see kids playing outside, not hassling their parents about it!  

Some people just delight in hassling parents about anything. If it's not that they're playing alone, it's that they're climbing too high on the monkey bars, they shouldn't be barefoot, they should have a jacket on - lots of people delight in offering unasked for commentary, lol. And there is a subset of those people who think that being older means they can say whatever they want (some of them probably dye their hair gray to reach that point sooner). I actually reported a little old lady working as a Walmart greeter once, because she would not shut up about how my toddler was not appropriately dressed for the cold, she shouldn't have a dress on because her legs should be covered. I politely pointed out the tights dd was wearing, and that it was a 2-minute walk from the car, and that we live in the deep south and not the arctic damn circle, but she would not give in. So, yeah, I spoke to the manager about somebody's 70-year-old grandma 😂

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I didn't open many of your videos, but I did see that there's one about the decades-old Satanic Panic that made me think it wasn't worth opening the other links since debunked scare tactics don't help

(Deleted personal details)... she let men abuse her child in exchange for drugs, food, and housing.  That is sadly common. Exploiting runaways, illegal immigrants, and alienated teens, manipulati

My personal opinion is that people latch onto these theories because the truth of child trafficking is too horrible to consider. We all know that it’s real and it’s a terrible problem.  However....it’

55 minutes ago, Thatboyofmine said:

do NOT quote. 
 

Leaving just so it's clear who I'm responding to. Sorry I missed your big ol' "do NOT quote" sign!

I don't think anyone has the intention of belittling another person's fears (I know I don't), but rather that the facts are helpful when making personal decisions, and when deciding what organizations and policies to support. 

Yes, it can happen to anyone, by anyone. Lightning strikes, plane crashes, and shark attacks can also happen to anyone, but you still have to live your life. You should care about percentages, because it's the only reasonable way to weigh risk vs reward. 

For example, I have an unreasonable fear of flying, but I know that the risk is low and the reward is high. That gives me the bravery to step on a plane, because how sad would it be to miss out on numerous great trips and family visits because I'm afraid of something that is very unlikely to happen? 

Everything has a risk and a reward, and everything has a price. Say that a parent makes decisions as if stranger abduction and stranger danger were actually high risk, and doesn't let their capable child talk to strangers or walk the block alone or essentially ever be unsupervised - that child is going to pay a high price in the form of losing very valuable experiences, gaining confidence, and gaining experience. As I mentioned before, my kids grew up talking to strangers (talk, don't walk). I placed a high value on talking to a wide and random variety of people as we went about life: it was interesting, it fostered a feeling of community, it widened their world. Likewise, we let them walk in the woods without an adult even though there was a slight chance they would go tumbling off the path into a ravine or get bit by a snake or even meet up with an abductor. 

Percentages do matter, because it's sad and limiting when kids don't get to do things that have a near 100% chance of something good happening, because there is an almost non-existent chance that something bad will happen. The same for adults, of course, but at least adults are limiting themselves. 

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3 minutes ago, katilac said:

I don't think anyone has the intention of belittling another person's fears (I know I don't), but rather that the facts are helpful when making personal decisions, and when deciding what organizations and policies to support. 

Yes, it can happen to anyone, by anyone. Lightning strikes, plane crashes, and shark attacks can also happen to anyone, but you still have to live your life. You should care about percentages, because it's the only reasonable way to weigh risk vs reward. 

For example, I have an unreasonable fear of flying, but I know that the risk is low and the reward is high. That gives me the bravery to step on a plane, because how sad would it be to miss out on numerous great trips and family visits because I'm afraid of something that is very unlikely to happen? 

Everything has a risk and a reward, and everything has a price. Say that a parent makes decisions as if stranger abduction and stranger danger were actually high risk, and doesn't let their capable child talk to strangers or walk the block alone or essentially ever be unsupervised - that child is going to pay a high price in the form of losing very valuable experiences, gaining confidence, and gaining experience. As I mentioned before, my kids grew up talking to strangers (talk, don't walk). I placed a high value on talking to a wide and random variety of people as we went about life: it was interesting, it fostered a feeling of community, it widened their world. Likewise, we let them walk in the woods without an adult even though there was a slight chance they would go tumbling off the path into a ravine or get bit by a snake or even meet up with an abductor. 

Percentages do matter, because it's sad and limiting when kids don't get to do things that have a near 100% chance of something good happening, because there is an almost non-existent chance that something bad will happen. The same for adults, of course, but at least adults are limiting themselves. 

I totally agree with you, as you know. But she did ask not to quote her 🙂 . 

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I think one of the reasons we talk past each other when we talk about statistics is that probability doesn’t really feel like a real thing for everyone. Like, “OK, so one is more likely, but what does that even mean? What if you’re one of the ones who have the unlikely things happen to them?”

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Some parenting fears, whether someone else finds them irrational or not, are very valid. I know that my children are more likely to be assaulted by someone they know, but in real life, a stranger actually tried to kidnap me off the street as I walked home from the dentist during the middle of the day when I was 11. If not for the heroic actions of a woman who just happened to be leaving for work and saw what was happening, who knows where I would be. I wish to this day that I had the chance to thank her. I was also assaulted as a young 20 year old. After a youth of being terrified to be alone, I had gotten left at a bar by an irresponsible friend and was assaulted on my way to my car.  I, thankfully, was never assaulted by someone I know, so even though I know logically that is the more likely scenario, the stranger danger thing is very real for me, and I have parented my kids like a freaking secret service agent to protect them from both. I am sorry they missed out on that independence, but you know what else they are missing out on? The trauma.  Statistically, I am an anomaly, but that doesn't make my fear for my family any less and it doesn't mean that I can't focus my attention on more than one risk.

I am so very sorry to all the posters who have suffered at the hands of someone else. I don't know how we managed to hold body and soul together after the things that we have been through. You are a tough bunch of chicks, and I am glad that you survived and able to make happy lives for yourselves.

ETA: I don't believe in Qanon theories, but I guess I just got my dander up about the statistics meaning someone's fears aren't valid vibe.

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I think the language of "stranger danger", and the way we talk to kids about stranger danger, is a problem.  I think we teach children, and adult with disabilities, that the familiar person is always safer, and that messaging can lead to kids being at more risk, rather than less.  

But that doesn't mean that I think that I think parents shouldn't also be watchful of our kids in public, or make choices that reduce their danger from kidnapping.  Yes, the risks are low, but I'm parent who bolts her furniture to the wall, and avoids blinds with cords, I think being aware of even rare risks makes sense.  I just think that we need to be careful about not inadvertently putting kids into riskier situations because we don't understand relative risk.

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I don't think it's belittling a fear at all to try and overcome it, especially when it's something that could happen, but is statistically highly improbable and not something anyone is likely to face.

Regardless, getting people arguing about these things is part of why the conspiracy theorists chose the issue of child trafficking to exploit. Because it's such a hot, touchy issue that people will argue about the ins and outs because no one wants to seem like they don't care about what is a very real issue.

I think it's pretty established here that stereotypical child abductions are super rare but real. Some people fear them anyway. That's fine. That's just a fact. Even if you fear this extremely rare but real thing, if you want to help victims of child trafficking, you'll condemn the idea that tons of high ranking politicians are involved in a vast conspiracy to traffic children in large numbers. Because that's not real in any way shape or form.

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17 hours ago, 4atHome said:

Yes, I think we all know it happens, but I don't leave my kids with other caregivers...  and I absolutely believe the foster system is fraught with abuse and kids would be better off in orphanages.

 

 

do you know anyone brought up in an orphanage?

 I do. my father spent time in an orphanage. he killed himself when he was 20. My aunt was brought up in an orphanage. she was repeatedly raped by the priest there. she killed herself in her  30s

 I also know people who are in and have been through foster care

 both systems are completely broken and the only solution that I can come up with is mandatory sterilization for people who take drugs and people who have had a child removed.

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6 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I think one of the reasons we talk past each other when we talk about statistics is that probability doesn’t really feel like a real thing for everyone. Like, “OK, so one is more likely, but what does that even mean? What if you’re one of the ones who have the unlikely things happen to them?”

I think it’s like Sissy in Hard Times says “it must be just as hard upon those who were starved whether the others were a million, or a million million”.

Also statistics maybe captures abductions or probability of abduction as an absolute compared the risk of dying of the flu.  But maybe it doesn’t capture the emotional weight of the two things?  Losing a loved one in any possible way is terrible but maybe some ways hurt in a different way to others.  It’s like we talk about with COVID stats - it’s not just the dying but the long term harm, the fear of dying alone etc.  the parts that aren’t captured in statistics maybe but still make up part of our feelings toward possible outcomes.

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11 hours ago, ktgrok said:

Same. She's just more anxious in general. I think when she was working she had an outlet - she worried about her patients. That spread the worry around. Now it's just focused on my sister and I and our kids. 

She sent me a link the other day to a news report about Ocala now a top crime city in Florida. Y'all....I don't live in Ocala. I'm over an hour away from there. There was zero reason this should be important news to me or my sister, but she sent it to both of us. 

If it is click bait, she clicks. 

I have been thinking about this a lot since I have been working. I think a lot of the phenomenon of believing in conspiracies seems to come down to this. How much time does a person have their minds focused on productive things vs. having a lot of time to go down rabbit holes on the web? The people I know with the most extreme views either a) listen to talk radio all day, every day, b) listen to certain TV news all day, every day, c) forward memes and tweets all day, every day, or some combination of those things. 

Sometimes I notice that the more intelligent someone is, the more easily they gravitate to this junk, because their prodigious brain capacity needs a task. 

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10 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

 

Also statistics maybe captures abductions or probability of abduction as an absolute compared the risk of dying of the flu.  But maybe it doesn’t capture the emotional weight of the two things?  Losing a loved one in any possible way is terrible but maybe some ways hurt in a different way to others.  It’s like we talk about with COVID stats - it’s not just the dying but the long term harm, the fear of dying alone etc.  the parts that aren’t captured in statistics maybe but still make up part of our feelings toward possible outcomes.

Feelings of control or its lack factor in too. People underestimate the risk of driving and overestimate that of flying, because they feel in control behind the wheel. Perhaps similarly people feel in control of their home environment vs. the strange outdoors and thus mistake the relative risks.

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1 minute ago, Laura Corin said:

Feelings of control or its lack factor in too. People underestimate the risk of driving and overestimate that of flying, because they feel in control behind the wheel. Perhaps similarly people feel in control of their home environment vs. the strange outdoors and thus mistake the relative risks.

Yep.  And I think there’s probably some kind of scientific thing that we’re instinctively more wary in a less familiar environment.  Our fear of danger reduces each time we do an action without anything bad happening even though the risks don’t go down.

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@PenYou showed considerable courage to post your original thoughts because from your words you knew you would receive backlash in this forum filled with opinionated parents.  Homeschooling also takes a decent amount of bravery to buck the status quo.  From these two elements I can tell you are a courageous person.  It will take true grit to even consider stepping away from the internet and into real life to give time and money to organizations that work against trafficking, but I'm pretty sure you have that.  

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1 hour ago, Ausmumof3 said:

I think it’s like Sissy in Hard Times says “it must be just as hard upon those who were starved whether the others were a million, or a million million”.

Also statistics maybe captures abductions or probability of abduction as an absolute compared the risk of dying of the flu.  But maybe it doesn’t capture the emotional weight of the two things?  Losing a loved one in any possible way is terrible but maybe some ways hurt in a different way to others.  It’s like we talk about with COVID stats - it’s not just the dying but the long term harm, the fear of dying alone etc.  the parts that aren’t captured in statistics maybe but still make up part of our feelings toward possible outcomes.

I think it’s just that we find some things easier to imagine and give them more weight. I don’t think it’s rational or leads to good decisions.

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2 hours ago, Quill said:

Sometimes I notice that the more intelligent someone is, the more easily they gravitate to this junk, because their prodigious brain capacity needs a task. 

QFT 

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While abductions are rare, I think many of us had unsettling encounters with adult male strangers when we were kids. I know I did, many times - lewd comments, gestures, following, that kind of thing. And yes, this was when I was a young child - although it certainly continued throughout my teen years, too.

For those of us who've experienced that, the concept of stranger danger doesn't seem all that far-fetched and ridiculous.

Maybe the people who are adamant about stranger danger not being a concern were fortunate enough to never have that happen, and therefore think it is unlikely to happen to anyone else. 

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2 hours ago, Selkie said:

While abductions are rare, I think many of us had unsettling encounters with adult male strangers when we were kids. I know I did, many times - lewd comments, gestures, following, that kind of thing. And yes, this was when I was a young child - although it certainly continued throughout my teen years, too.

For those of us who've experienced that, the concept of stranger danger doesn't seem all that far-fetched and ridiculous.

Maybe the people who are adamant about stranger danger not being a concern were fortunate enough to never have that happen, and therefore think it is unlikely to happen to anyone else. 

I don’t think so. I grew up in an urban area where catcalls, lewd exclamations, and gestures were the norm. It never went beyond looks and gestures. I think it has more to do with people being desensitized to aggressive/offensive overtures (owing to/developing the knowledge that they rarely lead anywhere). These things don’t shock or horrify me. Nor did I assume every jackass who whistled was gonna toss me into a perp van and speed off. As a well-developed 11yo, I quickly learned to go about my business with my RBF held high.

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3 minutes ago, Selkie said:

While abductions are rare, I think many of us had unsettling encounters with adult male strangers when we were kids. I know I did, many times - lewd comments, gestures, following, that kind of thing. And yes, this was when I was a young child - although it certainly continued throughout my teen years, too.

For those of us who've experienced that, the concept of stranger danger doesn't seem all that far-fetched and ridiculous.

Maybe the people who are adamant about stranger danger not being a concern were fortunate enough to never have that happen, and therefore think it is unlikely to happen to anyone else. 

I was attacked and sexually assaulted by a stranger as a child, as well experiencing other unpleasant encounters. I find the statistics that stranger abduction is rare to be settling and reassuring.  My kids roamed free.

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2 hours ago, Laura Corin said:

Feelings of control or its lack factor in too. People underestimate the risk of driving and overestimate that of flying, because they feel in control behind the wheel. Perhaps similarly people feel in control of their home environment vs. the strange outdoors and thus mistake the relative risks.

I also think that we need to recognize that the risk to a population as a whole, is different from the risk to a specific child.

I know that children in the USA are far more likely to be killed by their mother than by a stranger.  But I am not concerned about my children being killed by their mother.  I feel like I know myself well enough that I can say with confidence that my kids are safe from that.  On the other hand, I think my kids' risk of being killed by a stranger is similar to that of the average kid. Putting those things together, i believe that my kids are safer with me, than they are with strangers. 

Because I believe that, I act on that belief.  For example, when my kids were little, and there was no covid,  I always went with them to the playground, and told them to stay within my sight.  When my son was sick we chose to have all overnight care done by a parent, so he was never alone in a room with a stranger.   I don't think that those decisions reflected that I didn't understand the statistic.  I think they reflect my understanding that statistics don't tell the whole story.  

But, even though I do think that strangers present a greater relative risk to my children than parents (and I realize that I'm way simplifying, because kids can also be hurt by acquaintances, and other family members, and neighbors, and coaches, and classmates), I am careful not to teach the concept of "stranger danger" or the idea that strangers present a specific danger.  I do this because I have seen that concept get mixed up in kids' minds, and lead to them behaving in ways that are less safe, rather than more. 

Instead I teach things like the following

1) Stay in places where there are witnesses.  Notice if an adult is preventing there from being witnesses, and report.  If you're separated from me in public, find a place with witnesses to wait.  (e.g. if a kid thinks that "strangers" are dangerous, then Starbucks, which is full of strangers is more dangerous than an empty park.  In fact the opposite is true).

2) If you need to ask for help, look for a mother with her own children, a grandmother, or someone who is working.  

3) How to approach people and ask for help.  A kid is way safer if they chose someone than if someone chooses them, so I intentionally plan activities that get my students comfortable walking up to a stranger and asking the for help (e.g. going to the librarian and asking them to help you find a book).  

4) Be prepared to leave a place.  Have a cell phone with the number of trusted adults, and GPS. Carry some cash for a cab. Pay attention to the route you took to get somewhere so you can leave.

All of these things reduce the likelihood that kids will be hurt by strangers or by people they know, without feeding into the idea that "strangers" are dangerous. 

 

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4 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I also think that we need to recognize that the risk to a population as a whole, is different from the risk to a specific child.

I know that children in the USA are far more likely to be killed by their mother than by a stranger.  But I am not concerned about my children being killed by their mother.  I feel like I know myself well enough that I can say with confidence that my kids are safe from that.  On the other hand, I think my kids' risk of being killed by a stranger is similar to that of the average kid. Putting those things together, i believe that my kids are safer with me, than they are with strangers. 

Because I believe that, I act on that belief.  For example, when my kids were little, and there was no covid,  I always went with them to the playground, and told them to stay within my sight.  When my son was sick we chose to have all overnight care done by a parent, so he was never alone in a room with a stranger.   I don't think that those decisions reflected that I didn't understand the statistic.  I think they reflect my understanding that statistics don't tell the whole story.  

But, even though I do think that strangers present a greater relative risk to my children than parents (and I realize that I'm way simplifying, because kids can also be hurt by acquaintances, and other family members, and neighbors, and coaches, and classmates), I am careful not to teach the concept of "stranger danger" or the idea that strangers present a specific danger.  I do this because I have seen that concept get mixed up in kids' minds, and lead to them behaving in ways that are less safe, rather than more. 

Instead I teach things like the following

1) Stay in places where there are witnesses.  Notice if an adult is preventing there from being witnesses, and report.  If you're separated from me in public, find a place with witnesses to wait.  (e.g. if a kid thinks that "strangers" are dangerous, then Starbucks, which is full of strangers is more dangerous than an empty park.  In fact the opposite is true).

2) If you need to ask for help, look for a mother with her own children, a grandmother, or someone who is working.  

3) How to approach people and ask for help.  A kid is way safer if they chose someone than if someone chooses them, so I intentionally plan activities that get my students comfortable walking up to a stranger and asking the for help (e.g. going to the librarian and asking them to help you find a book).  

4) Be prepared to leave a place.  Have a cell phone with the number of trusted adults, and GPS. Carry some cash for a cab. Pay attention to the route you took to get somewhere so you can leave.

All of these things reduce the likelihood that kids will be hurt by strangers or by people they know, without feeding into the idea that "strangers" are dangerous. 

 

All of this.  When my kids were little we taught “stranger safety” not stranger danger.  How to interact with strangers in a way that increases your safety if you get separated from your parent.  

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15 minutes ago, Selkie said:

While abductions are rare, I think many of us had unsettling encounters with adult male strangers when we were kids. I know I did, many times - lewd comments, gestures, following, that kind of thing. And yes, this was when I was a young child - although it certainly continued throughout my teen years, too.

Very familiar with this. Groping was expected even when I was covered from neck to feet. Not everyday, but frequently enough. 

15 minutes ago, Selkie said:

For those of us who've experienced that, the concept of stranger danger doesn't seem all that far-fetched and ridiculous.

I am hyper vigilant about my children even now. Wore them on me or DH especially when we travelled. I never stopped living life as in never stoped taking the bus, living alone, moving to a different country alone or traveling later in life. But it still affects how vigilant I am. I am always aware of my surroundings like I am always aware of where my belongings are. I grew up in a society where there is heavy pickpocketing.

My son rides his bike with friends, I never let him do it alone. There is always a gang of boys who roam the neighborhood from house to house especially during summer. I always sit outside when he plays basketball with his friend (preCOVID) or the friend's mom or grandma does.  He is 13, tall and gangly, It is in the front yard  and we live in a safe neighborhood. But some adult, mostly a woman always sits outside when they play. 

At his age, I was taking the public bus or walking to school. DH or I always drive him to school and pick him up. 

15 minutes ago, Selkie said:

Maybe the people who are adamant about stranger danger not being a concern were fortunate enough to never have that happen, and therefore think it is unlikely to happen to anyone else. 

 

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1 hour ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I also think that we need to recognize that the risk to a population as a whole, is different from the risk to a specific child.

I know that children in the USA are far more likely to be killed by their mother than by a stranger.  But I am not concerned about my children being killed by their mother.  I feel like I know myself well enough that I can say with confidence that my kids are safe from that.  On the other hand, I think my kids' risk of being killed by a stranger is similar to that of the average kid. Putting those things together, i believe that my kids are safer with me, than they are with strangers. 

Because I believe that, I act on that belief.  For example, when my kids were little, and there was no covid,  I always went with them to the playground, and told them to stay within my sight.  When my son was sick we chose to have all overnight care done by a parent, so he was never alone in a room with a stranger.   I don't think that those decisions reflected that I didn't understand the statistic.  I think they reflect my understanding that statistics don't tell the whole story.  

But, even though I do think that strangers present a greater relative risk to my children than parents (and I realize that I'm way simplifying, because kids can also be hurt by acquaintances, and other family members, and neighbors, and coaches, and classmates), I am careful not to teach the concept of "stranger danger" or the idea that strangers present a specific danger.  I do this because I have seen that concept get mixed up in kids' minds, and lead to them behaving in ways that are less safe, rather than more. 

Instead I teach things like the following

1) Stay in places where there are witnesses.  Notice if an adult is preventing there from being witnesses, and report.  If you're separated from me in public, find a place with witnesses to wait.  (e.g. if a kid thinks that "strangers" are dangerous, then Starbucks, which is full of strangers is more dangerous than an empty park.  In fact the opposite is true).

2) If you need to ask for help, look for a mother with her own children, a grandmother, or someone who is working.  

3) How to approach people and ask for help.  A kid is way safer if they chose someone than if someone chooses them, so I intentionally plan activities that get my students comfortable walking up to a stranger and asking the for help (e.g. going to the librarian and asking them to help you find a book).  

4) Be prepared to leave a place.  Have a cell phone with the number of trusted adults, and GPS. Carry some cash for a cab. Pay attention to the route you took to get somewhere so you can leave.

All of these things reduce the likelihood that kids will be hurt by strangers or by people they know, without feeding into the idea that "strangers" are dangerous. 

 

This. My parents always emphasized PUBLIC spaces and groups, not strangers. This, walking down a busy street in big city, USA was NBD.

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1 hour ago, Dreamergal said:

Very familiar with this. Groping was expected even when I was covered from neck to feet. Not everyday, but frequently enough. 

I am hyper vigilant about my children even now. Wore them on me or DH especially when we travelled. I never stopped living life as in never stoped taking the bus, living alone, moving to a different country alone or traveling later in life. But it still affects how vigilant I am. I am always aware of my surroundings like I am always aware of where my belongings are. I grew up in a society where there is heavy pickpocketing.

My son rides his bike with friends, I never let him do it alone. There is always a gang of boys who roam the neighborhood from house to house especially during summer. I always sit outside when he plays basketball with his friend (preCOVID) or the friend's mom or grandma does.  He is 13, tall and gangly, It is in the front yard  and we live in a safe neighborhood. But some adult, mostly a woman always sits outside when they play. 

At his age, I was taking the public bus or walking to school. DH or I always drive him to school and pick him up. 

 

The challenge with this is that you can end up with kids who are terrified to do these things alone, who cannot read a bus or train schedule, feel terrified to cross the street alone, etc. I have one of those and it’s not cute. We’ve had to deliberately teach how to use a crosswalk signal, how to identify safe spaces, how to use public transit. Having a car is a privilege and relying on one inhibits global travel (something we value). Every country is not like India and I can understand why experiences with the transit systems there would make someone more cautious. Those are not common experiences among Americans. My son regularly rides his bike, alone, to the store for candy. Not only is it great exercise but I can send him in to buy something and he can find it on the shelf (something many cannot do🤦🏽‍♀️). I cannot imagine supervising my 5’7”! son while he plays in our cul de sac. 🤷🏽‍♀️

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1 minute ago, Sneezyone said:

The challenge with this is that you can end up with kids who are terrified to do these things alone, who cannot red a bus or train schedule, feel terrified to cross the street alone, etc. I have one of those and it’s not cute. We’ve had to deliberately teach how to use a crosswalk signal, how to identify safe spaces, how to use public transit. Having a car is a privilege and relying on one inhibits global travel (something we value). Every country is not line India and I can understand why experiences with the transit systems there would make someone more cautious. Those are not common experiences among Americans. My son regularly rides his bike, alone, to the store for candy. Not only is it great exercise, but I can send him in to buy something and he can find it on the shelf (something many cannot do. 🤦🏽‍♀️).

He knows how to shop, take the transit, cross the road and so on because we constantly teach him when we travel and even in our city. But he has not done it himself alone yet. We are getting better at this. 

1 minute ago, Sneezyone said:

 

I cannot imagine supervising my 5’6” son while he plays in our culture de sac. 🤷🏽‍♀️

I was a more helicopter parent when he was younger, because he was my only for a long time. 😊 This is the better version. 

The thing though is, though I am rapidly approaching the time where I have lived half my life in the US, certain traumas never leave you. I always clutch my purse in front of me, ready to defend even in a grocery store parking lot filled with people, in broad daylight, children and DH with me. It sounds funny but It is second nature to me. I would carry a child on my hip, hold their hand or wear them depending on their age (I only ever had one child always with me if I was by myself- 9 years gap between them), push a full grocery cart and not place my purse on it, but clutch it in front of me. It sounds ridiculous but it is second nature, muscle memory to me. My neighborhood is filled with many people who are first generation immigrants like me and include grandparents who live or visit for months. Someone is always outside when one of the kids in the family play outside. Our neighbors who sit outside when I am not there are from another country too. 

Even in a very safe environment people do not feel safe even if you really are. Nothing can say otherwise. When you learn "how to be safe" in an environment that needs it especially in a hard way, it never leaves you even if you are in a truly safe environment. That is the tragedy of it. Out of all the ways I adapted here, there are certain things you can never turn off and it is second nature unless you really work at it. Most times, unless I make an effort it does not happen.

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16 hours ago, Selkie said:

I am sorry to hear about that, but you can take my word for it on the happenings in my county. Where I live, everyone knows everything that goes on. Keep in mind that when a school bus full of kids is in an accident, there are usually going to be a lot more injuries than an accident involving a car with a small number of occupants.

My DDs bus was in an accident last year. A car full of cheerleaders was not drivable afterward. The kids on the bus, all of them, proceeded on to campus unharmed. School buses have some of the best safety records of any vehicles on the road, in part because other drivers tend to be more cautious around their precious cargo. https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/school-bus-safety

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8 minutes ago, Dreamergal said:

He knows how to shop, take the transit, cross the road and so on because we constantly teach him when we travel and even in our city. But he has not done it himself alone yet. We are getting better at this. 

I was a more helicopter parent when he was younger, because he was my only for a long time. 😊 This is the better version. 

The thing though is, though I am rapidly approaching the time where I have lived half my life in the US, certain traumas never leave you. I always clutch my purse in front of me, ready to defend even in a grocery store parking lot filled with people, in broad daylight, children and DH with me. It sounds funny but It is second nature to me. I would carry a child on my hip, hold their hand or wear them depending on their age (I only ever had one child always with me if I was by myself- 9 years gap between them), push a full grocery cart and not place my purse on it, but clutch it in front of me. It sounds ridiculous but it is second nature, muscle memory to me. My neighborhood is filled with many people who are first generation immigrants like me and include grandparents who live or visit for months. Someone is always outside when one of the kids in the family play outside. Our neighbors who sit outside when I am not there are from another country too. 

Even in a very safe environment people do not feel safe even if you really are. Nothing can say otherwise. When you learn "how to be safe" in an environment that needs it especially in a hard way, it never leaves you even if you are in a truly safe environment. That is the tragedy of it. Out of all the ways I adapted here, there are certain things you can never turn off and it is second nature unless you really work at it. Most times, unless I make an effort it does not happen.

Oh, I get it, I just don’t think it’s wise to extrapolate, based on very different cultural dynamics, what the norms are here. My brick-house, golf course, cul-de-sac neighborhood is about as safe as it gets. I have to deliberately put my children on buses (with money and cell phones) to have them navigate using schedules and routes. As I routinely tell them...I’M GONNA DIE!! (someday) and then where will you be?! Lol. Growing up, street smarts were the norm. My kids lack it and they are poorer for it. It is possible, I think, to balance safety and freedom (including to make mistakes)/responsibility. This is just a super micro-level example of how that dance plays out. I’m a classic 80s latchkey kid. It shows in my parenting.

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1 hour ago, Selkie said:

While abductions are rare, I think many of us had unsettling encounters with adult male strangers when we were kids. I know I did, many times - lewd comments, gestures, following, that kind of thing. And yes, this was when I was a young child - although it certainly continued throughout my teen years, too.

For those of us who've experienced that, the concept of stranger danger doesn't seem all that far-fetched and ridiculous.

Maybe the people who are adamant about stranger danger not being a concern were fortunate enough to never have that happen, and therefore think it is unlikely to happen to anyone else. 

I think many more of us had ACTUAL negative experiences that went past lewd comments with people we knew. 

How many of us on here have been sexually harassed or assaulted by a family member or family friend? 

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17 hours ago, Selkie said:

I am sorry to hear about that, but you can take my word for it on the happenings in my county. Where I live, everyone knows everything that goes on. Keep in mind that when a school bus full of kids is in an accident, there are usually going to be a lot more injuries than an accident involving a car with a small number of occupants.

You've had multiple accidents in your area where an entire school bus full of children were injured?   

In 2018 locally we had an accident where a school bus hit (or was hit by) a dump truck travelling at high speed on a major highway.  One teacher and one student were killed and there were a bunch of injuries.  But it was such an unusual thing it was getting coverage nationally at the time.  

I'm not in a rural area, I'm in the most densely populated state in the country so statistically the odds of something like that happening are higher.

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1 hour ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I also think that we need to recognize that the risk to a population as a whole, is different from the risk to a specific child.

I know that children in the USA are far more likely to be killed by their mother than by a stranger.  But I am not concerned about my children being killed by their mother.  I feel like I know myself well enough that I can say with confidence that my kids are safe from that.  On the other hand, I think my kids' risk of being killed by a stranger is similar to that of the average kid. Putting those things together, i believe that my kids are safer with me, than they are with strangers. 

Oh, definitely. It doesn't make sense to extrapolate statistics to cases where they don't apply. 

So I certainly go with my kids to playground. However, I do tend to think that me watching them on the playground does less for their safety than making sure they stay well away from cars and making sure to put away poisonous substances. 

 

1 hour ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Because I believe that, I act on that belief.  For example, when my kids were little, and there was no covid,  I always went with them to the playground, and told them to stay within my sight.  When my son was sick we chose to have all overnight care done by a parent, so he was never alone in a room with a stranger. I don't think that those decisions reflected that I didn't understand the statistic.  I think they reflect my understanding that statistics don't tell the whole story.  

Statistics are an average, so of course they aren't applicable to individuals, except when the individual is similar to the average in key ways. 

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My niece is 19 so not child trafficking, but certainly she is going through some real stuff.  But she wasn't snatched off the street.  She was lured in, probably through social media by people pretending to be her friend in increasingly twisted ways.  Her parents are in close contact with the police in several cities as well as advocacy groups trying to get her help.  So far no mention of Hollywood or politicians being involved.  

My niece is from an upper middle class family.  She has had everything given to her.  Her 3 siblings, while not perfect, have not fallen for this trap she is in.  Something in her psyche or perhaps some trauma has made her vulnerable to being drawn in to this horrible way of life.  

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21 minutes ago, Wheres Toto said:

You've had multiple accidents in your area where an entire school bus full of children were injured?   

Two in recent years with multiple injuries. No deaths. One happened right down the road from my house. Both occurred when roads were snow and ice covered.

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3 minutes ago, Selkie said:

Two in recent years with multiple injuries. No deaths. One happened right down the road from my house. Both occurred when roads were snow and ice covered.

That sounds like schools/businesses needed to be closed, not that the buses were unsafe.

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For me, as others have said, if comes down to the idea that there are risks/risk factors WRT trafficking (most of which do not apply to my family) and with over-protection (most of which do apply to my family). Weighting one or the other more heavily doesn’t mean the other isn’t valued. It just means DH and I thought through, in an objective way, which was the bigger risk. I dunno. Something about growing up with Gary Ridgeway (Green River Killer) and Ted Bundy (local kid) and “NO HITCHHIKING” signs everywhere made it pretty clear to me that being ignorant, naive and passive were the biggest threats to my personal safety. Awareness, self-advocacy and shrewdness were/are our goals. Ya can’t thwart or eliminate every threat/risk but you can certainly make yourself less of an easy target.

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I did bring up mass transit on the context that the most dangerous thing your child does every day is get in a car. Or exist near a car. Cars are dangerous, and kill people every single day.

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51 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

For me, as others have said, if comes down to the idea that there are risks/risk factors WRT trafficking (most of which do not apply to my family) and with over-protection (most of which do apply to my family). Weighting one or the other more heavily doesn’t mean the other isn’t valued. It just means DH and I thought through, in an objective way, which was the bigger risk. I dunno. Something about growing up with Gary Ridgeway (Green River Killer) and Ted Bundy (local kid) and “NO HITCHHIKING” signs everywhere made it pretty clear to me that being ignorant, naive and passive were the biggest threats to my personal safety. Awareness, self-advocacy and shrewdness were/are our goals. Ya can’t thwart or eliminate every threat/risk but you can certainly make yourself less of an easy target.

That kid was somewhat local to me too. I wonder if our dads served together. 
 

I was never hurt by a family member. I was nearly kidnapped as a kid (a cop happened by and I waved) and the guy drove away.  I was harassed, grabbed, had adult strange men expose themselves to me a few times in middle school through college. I’ve had a foster child sexually abuse other kids in front of me faster than I could stop it. I still teach my kids something closer to Gavin de Becker’s Gift of Fear & Protecting the Gift than I do stranger danger.
 

Some strangers ARE dangerous. Some people test kids to see how they respond before grooming them. Many strangers are good people. Assuming you have neurotypical kids there’s a very good chance they are capable of understanding which strangers are fine to talk to and which should be avoided. And how to avoid being taken anywhere else. 

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3 hours ago, Selkie said:

While abductions are rare, I think many of us had unsettling encounters with adult male strangers when we were kids. I know I did, many times - lewd comments, gestures, following, that kind of thing. And yes, this was when I was a young child - although it certainly continued throughout my teen years, too.

For those of us who've experienced that, the concept of stranger danger doesn't seem all that far-fetched and ridiculous.

 

Thats a whole different thing, though. I can (and do) think sexual assault is endemic in our society and so common as to be nearly universal, and also think that children being randomly stolen off the street and sold into sexual slavery is very very rare. 

Personally, my assaults were 1. in highschool, in the darkroom of our photography class by a student I'd known for years, 2. at a party in college, the friend of my teaching assistant's brother. I was introduced to him hours earlier, he was basically a friend of a friend, so not really a stranger, and 3. by a guy who again was a friend of a friend, I'd met him once before. We were in a public place, he drugged me, and no one realized what was going on. 

None of those have anything to do with career politicians, or silicon valley billionaires, or whatever else was in those videos shared by the OP. And none would have been prevented by having an escort walking home from school. 

So to me, the idea that my child will be snatched from my front yard is not something I worry about. How to spot and prevent sexual assault, yes, I worry about that. A lot. Enough to daydream about a compound patrolled by rottweilers. Enough to have basically had a mental breakdown during the Kavenaugh trials. (nearly bought a shotgun and a rottie during that phase. still now ruling those out)

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I mean... obviously teach my kids not to go anywhere with other people. Not to mention which they don't have the opportunity: I'm almost always there. 

But practically all my experiences with creepy men who either were or could have been abusers were people who were well-known to me. There was the friend of the family who groped me when I was a young teen (14, I think, although I'm not sure -- the moment is engraved on my brain, but the timing is not), and there was the super sleazy professor who eventually got kicked out of his job for sexual harassment. 

And the only person who ever hit my sister was my mom, but that's a whole other story. 

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6 minutes ago, Katy said:

I was nearly kidnapped as a kid (a cop happened by and I waved) and the guy drove away.   

Not to say you are wrong, but how do you know this guy was going to kidnap you, versus ask you where a store was or something? Was he already talking to you and trying to get you in the car? Caught later? I hear stories similar to this sometimes and wonder if it was just some clueless guy wondering where the nearest gas station is or something. (BTDT)

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14 minutes ago, ktgrok said:

Not to say you are wrong, but how do you know this guy was going to kidnap you, versus ask you where a store was or something? Was he already talking to you and trying to get you in the car? Caught later? I hear stories similar to this sometimes and wonder if it was just some clueless guy wondering where the nearest gas station is or something. (BTDT)

He was trying to get me in his car. He got away but 2 days later he forced two girls my age into the backseat of his car at a middle school nearby.   And I’m not certain it’s the same guy but he looked the same & drove the same car as a guy who raped and murdered a girl about my age about a month later. Last I knew he’s still in prison. 
 

EtA:  the girls climbed out the door on the other side & started screaming. They got away. The child who was murdered was a family friend & didn’t have the chance to escape. 
 

ETA2: the girl that was murdered was HIS family friend, I didn’t know her. And the police officer who took my report followed up when the same car tried to grab two girls at the middle school a few neighborhoods over. The police were sure it was the same man. 

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On 2/24/2021 at 10:59 AM, Tanaqui said:

I'm actually shaking with the suppressed desire to tell you, specifically, what I think of you, but I'm worried you won't understand you're being insulted when I cave in to the impulse, so just pretend I insulted you outright. I'm gonna block you so I don't end up inflicting bodily harm on my poor computer next time I see one of your ridiculous comments.

I'm sorry, but this comes across as really nasty. Maybe we can give a little grace to new posters? I said some foolish things on here back in the day 😉 but most people were still nice to me. 

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30 minutes ago, Katy said:

That kid was somewhat local to me too. I wonder if our dads served together. 
 

I was never hurt by a family member. I was nearly kidnapped as a kid (a cop happened by and I waved) and the guy drove away.  I was harassed, grabbed, had adult strange men expose themselves to me a few times in middle school through college. I’ve had a foster child sexually abuse other kids in front of me faster than I could stop it. I still teach my kids something closer to Gavin de Becker’s Gift of Fear & Protecting the Gift than I do stranger danger.
 

Some strangers ARE dangerous. Some people test kids to see how they respond before grooming them. Many strangers are good people. Assuming you have neurotypical kids there’s a very good chance they are capable of understanding which strangers are fine to talk to and which should be avoided. And how to avoid being taken anywhere else. 

Probably not. Bundy was my dad’s age although I grew up in the same neighborhood/house my dad was raised in. I only heard stories. Still, everyone I knew was aware of perp vans, wagons and bugs. Stranger abduction was actually more common then than it is now. 🤷🏽‍♀️

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11 minutes ago, ktgrok said:

Thats a whole different thing, though. I can (and do) think sexual assault is endemic in our society and so common as to be nearly universal, and also think that children being randomly stolen off the street and sold into sexual slavery is very very rare. 

Personally, my assaults were 1. in highschool, in the darkroom of our photography class by a student I'd known for years, 2. at a party in college, the friend of my teaching assistant's brother. I was introduced to him hours earlier, he was basically a friend of a friend, so not really a stranger, and 3. by a guy who again was a friend of a friend, I'd met him once before. We were in a public place, he drugged me, and no one realized what was going on. 

None of those have anything to do with career politicians, or silicon valley billionaires, or whatever else was in those videos shared by the OP. And none would have been prevented by having an escort walking home from school. 

So to me, the idea that my child will be snatched from my front yard is not something I worry about. How to spot and prevent sexual assault, yes, I worry about that. A lot. Enough to daydream about a compound patrolled by rottweilers. Enough to have basically had a mental breakdown during the Kavenaugh trials. (nearly bought a shotgun and a rottie during that phase. still now ruling those out)

Even the kids snatched off of streets by strangers are murdered or imprisoned indefinitely by the person who snatched them. American children aren’t sold into sexual slavery in. the USA. That does happen in other countries and it has happened with underage immigrants but it doesn’t happen with people who aren’t more afraid of police than of their rapists. Some kids are seduced into it, but what happened in Taken doesn’t happen, ever. 

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My husband has been a police officer in our major metro area for right at ten years. He's helped find numerous missing juveniles, uncovered child prostitution, dealt with runaways, abusive parents, step parents, uncles, foster parents, etc. In all that time, there has been one case of a stranger abducting a child under 12. (I don't know whether there were any teen abductions). In the same time, I've seen several dozen "reports" of close calls on Facebook. They are mostly "I got a creepy feeling because an immigrant man/woman was being very friendly, so we ran away fast!" People who believe that all those "close calls" are really close calls are getting a very skewed view of reality. I still pray sometimes for the one little girl who was taken. My husband found her, living but understandably not talking, dumped in a parking lot not far from the run down apartment complex from which she was taken. She hadn't yet been reported missing. She was covered in injuries, most of which predated her kidnapping. The evil man who took her had not planned and stalked the prettiest child he could find; he had taken the most vulnerable child. False narratives can lead us to fear the most vulnerable rather than protecting them, which is why they stir me to anger.

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12 minutes ago, Katy said:

Even the kids snatched off of streets by strangers are murdered or imprisoned indefinitely by the person who snatched them. American children aren’t sold into sexual slavery in. the USA. That does happen in other countries and it has happened with underage immigrants but it doesn’t happen with people who aren’t more afraid of police than of their rapists. Some kids are seduced into it, but what happened in Taken doesn’t happen, ever. 

Can you explain that to my mother so she stops sending me facebook memes about it? Sigh. 

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