A video, recently published on YouTube, purports to show how easily children can be lured away from a playground by a stranger.
The Daily Mail reports the video (shown below) was posted to the YouTube channel of a video prankster who goes by the name “JoeySalads.”
In the video, labeled by JoeySalads as a “social experiment,” the man, after getting permission from parents, uses a puppy to lure the children away.
In three separate instances, the man approaches moms sitting on a park bench, watching their children play on a nearby playground.
He asks each of the women if they have taught their children not to talk strangers. After assuring him that they have and that their children would never walk off the playground with a stranger, they give him permission to approach the kids and try to lure them away.
After introducing a small, white dog to each of the children and telling them the dog is named “Doughnuts,” he asks if they would like to “go see the other puppies.”
In each instance, the child agrees to go, walking off with the man while holding his hand as the mother sits and stares, appearing shocked.
“Over 700 children are abducted a day, that’s over a quarter million a year,” he says, addressing the camera at the end of the video. “Are your kids safe?”
The video has been viewed over 800,000 times and news of it is quickly spreading across the Internet.
But one blogger, Lenore Skenazy, who runs the blog Free Range Kids took exception to the video, arguing that it ought not be shared as if the man were doing a public service.
“Not addressed are a few salient facts, including the biggie: Isn’t it more than likely that these kids feel fine going off with this man because they just saw him talking to their mom?” Skenazy writes.
“After this bizarre scenario that he calls an experiment — without ever telling us how many kids he approached who did not go off with him — he says 700 kids are abducted a day, presumably by the type of person he’s warning us about: a ‘stranger,’” she continues.
“Which is interesting, as the U.S. Dept. of Justice puts the number of children abducted by strangers at 115 a year,” she adds. “He says 255,550 a year. The crime stats say 115 a year.”
Skenazy also notes that most crimes against children are committed by someone they know -- not a stranger. She calls the message in the video “scary” and “misleading.”
"Thanks, Mr. Salads,” she concludes. “You have emptied the parks, locked children inside, and frozen parents’ hearts, with a big lie. And a cute puppy.”
Photo Credit: Screen shot from YouTube: JoeySalads