The "Stranger Danger" Myth
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25-05-2012, 08:44 PM (This post was last modified: 26-05-2012 12:42 AM by Quidsane.)
The "Stranger Danger" Myth
The Etan Patz case has again highlighted some fascinating figures.



According to the NCMEC, 800,000 children are reported at least temporarily missing every year.
There are approximately 258,000 child abductions each year.
About 200,000 are abducted by family members, typically in custody cases, and 58,000
are abducted by non-family members.

Only 115 children are abducted by strangers every year.
That's 4/100ths of ONE percent of total abductions,
and 14/1000ths of ONE percent of total children reported missing.



Here's an example of the unintended consequences of "don't talk to strangers":

Does 'stranger danger' go too far?

http://www.nj.com/jjournal-news/index.ss...ldren.html

The familiar "Don’t talk to strangers" is an ineffective rule parents should
stop using. When lost or in trouble, children should be encouraged to approach certain
"strangers", like police officers, firefighters, mail carriers, store owners, utility workers, etc..

Finally, here's Penn & Teller's exposé of Stranger Danger:






A few pertinent links:

'Don't Talk to Strangers' is Dangerous Advice

'Stranger-Danger' Warnings Not Effective at Keeping Kids Safer

BBC News - How stranger danger changed the way children play


Conclusion: "Stranger Danger" is BULLSHIT.

Idea

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25-05-2012, 08:58 PM
RE: The "Stranger Danger" Myth
I don't agree at all. I think being cautious of strangers is a pretty safe bet. Who knows maybe the existence of the stranger danger phenomenon has helped keep the number of stranger abductions to the lower number.

Maybe what we really need is more education surrounding the family member dangers. I would agree that people fall into a false sense of security due in part to familiarity.

Can we ever truly know someone? No. So we should always be on guard to some extent. As crappy as that is. Our good neighbor Ted could be the local serial killer. Our uncle Tom could be a pedophile. Be aware. Make sure kids are aware of the potential for danger. Stranger or not.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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25-05-2012, 10:04 PM
RE: The "Stranger Danger" Myth
Here's what my kids learned at a very young age.

If you are lost, in trouble, or in any other way need an adults help (ie, I am unconscious, a friend is hurt etc):

1) look for the closest TWO adults. Any two. Man, woman, together or not, so long as you can speak to them both at once.

2) quickly walk to them (keep it simple, but practice walking fast, not running)

3) say loudly and clearly, "can you please help me?"

It's something you rehearse with your kids so they understand physically what to do, and it's something that is simple, so they can do it when they feel panicked. It accomplishes several things. First, going to two adults is safer (predators rarely work together, so even if one of the people is a predator, they are less likely to act on it, since the person they are with is either a stranger or someone whom they would hide it from.

Second, a child walking quickly translates as a sense of urgency when viewed by an adult, as opposed to running, which is more often initially seen as play.

Third, by having a simple phrase with the words please and help, it gets immediate attention. It also usually causes a release of stress in the kid. In most circumstances they'll burst out bawling. That's pretty much the best thing that can happen once they've gotten the attention of a stranger. It draws even more attention, and most kids, even when blubbering, can point to a hurt friend, or spit out, "I'm lost."

The technique is based both on how kids learn, and the statistics noted above. By going directly to a stranger, immediately after realizing they need help is the safest thing a kid can do. The sooner they get help, the closer you'll be, and the safer they'll be.

Something we taught back when I taught a self defense class.

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25-05-2012, 10:31 PM
RE: The "Stranger Danger" Myth
Heh. I view it this way. If strangers are so bad, then how will we meet friends and future partners.

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26-05-2012, 12:36 AM (This post was last modified: 26-05-2012 12:53 AM by Quidsane.)
RE: The "Stranger Danger" Myth
(25-05-2012 08:58 PM)lucradis Wrote:  I don't agree at all. I think being cautious of strangers is a pretty safe bet.

But thinking it doesn't make it so. I used to think it as well.
The data indicates otherwise. My point is that Stranger Danger "education"
is completely unnecessary and has been found to be counterproductive.
The numbers overwhelmingly show this to be true. Here's some perspective:

According to a study done by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, 115 abductions by strangers occurred in 1999.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in the year 2000, the following occurred:

• 255 children died of the flu or pnuemonia
• 452 children died from heart disease
• 1,921 children committed suicide
• 11,560 children died from accidental injuries

When compared to the actual statistics for stranger abductions, a little simple math shows us:

• Children are twice as likely to die of the flu than be kidnapped by a stranger
• Children are 4 times more likely to die of heart disease than be kidnapped by a stranger
• Children are 17 times more likely to commit suicide than be kidnapped by a stranger
• Children are 100 times more likely to die because of an accidental death than be kidnapped by a stranger

The odds of dying in a plane crash are 1 in 310,000. The odds of being abducted by a stranger? 1 in 610,000.
That means that a child is more likely to die in a plane crash than get kidnapped by a stranger.
The odds of being struck by lightening are 1 in 240,000. A child is 2 and a half times more likely to get hit by
lightening than to get taken by a stranger. But, when was the last time the news made a big deal out of child
getting struck dead by lightening? Apparently, it happens more than twice as often, yet we never hear about it.

http://www.snipeme.com/archive.php?rant=...&year=2004

Having priorities straight is important, and Stranger Danger is way, way down the list.
In fact, it's not even on mine. But it once was and I'm a bit embarrassed about that.

Also, when the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children says that Stranger Danger programs are BS,
that is more than credible enough for me.

(25-05-2012 10:04 PM)Stark Raving Wrote:  1) look for the closest TWO adults. Any two. Man, woman, together or not, so long as you can speak to them both at once.

This reminded me of a really really really creepy sequence with Bruce Altman
and Elizabeth Mitchell from the movie Running Scared (2006).

(25-05-2012 10:31 PM)itsacow Wrote:  Heh. I view it this way. If strangers are so bad, then how will we meet friends and future partners.

Relevance to children is...?

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26-05-2012, 01:02 AM
RE: The "Stranger Danger" Myth
........

#sigh
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26-05-2012, 01:04 AM
RE: The "Stranger Danger" Myth
(26-05-2012 12:36 AM)Quidsane Wrote:  Relevance to children is...?

You don't wanna make the news.

(25-05-2012 10:04 PM)Stark Raving Wrote:  Here's what my kids learned at a very young age.

If you are lost, in trouble, or in any other way need an adults help (ie, I am unconscious, a friend is hurt etc):

1) look for the closest TWO adults. Any two. Man, woman, together or not, so long as you can speak to them both at once.

2) quickly walk to them (keep it simple, but practice walking fast, not running)

3) say loudly and clearly, "can you please help me?"

That is excellent advice, regardless of your age. Big Grin

#sigh
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26-05-2012, 01:11 AM
RE: The "Stranger Danger" Myth
(26-05-2012 01:02 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(26-05-2012 12:36 AM)Quidsane Wrote:  Relevance to children is...?

You don't wanna make the news.

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...ummm ...what?

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26-05-2012, 01:16 AM (This post was last modified: 26-05-2012 01:24 AM by GirlyMan.)
RE: The "Stranger Danger" Myth
(26-05-2012 01:11 AM)Quidsane Wrote:  
(26-05-2012 01:02 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  You don't wanna make the news.

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...ummm ...what?

Kid's in the news, kid's probably in trouble.

#sigh
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26-05-2012, 01:32 AM
RE: The "Stranger Danger" Myth
(26-05-2012 01:16 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(26-05-2012 01:11 AM)Quidsane Wrote:  [Image: ryanwtf.gif]

...ummm ...what?

Kid's in the news, kid's probably in trouble.

I'm at a total loss.
What does that have to do with me asking itsacow how his comment relates to children?

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