Stop trying to scare me Internet

Anybody with a Facebook account has by now had the Joey Salads “social experiment” video cross their news feed. I’ll admit that I watched it after the sixth time I saw it shared. It annoyed me. After seeing it shoved in my face a few dozen more times it made me even more annoyed.

For those that haven’t seen it, this Joey Salads character, a guy who apparently makes his living posting pranks on You-Tube and Vine, goes to a park with a cute dog, tells three parents about his “experiment”, and proceeds to lure their children off towards his van, promising them more puppies.  His stated goal being to scare parents into realizing how easy it is for our children to be kidnapped by perverts. The video has now been watched five million times.

My response? Screw you, you childless little punk. I’m a parent. I spend my entire life scared.

I’m scared driving my car to the park. The number one cause of death for children in America is injuries sustained while passengers in cars.

While I’m there I’m scared she’s going to fall off a slide or the monkey bars. My little girl has no fear and often chooses to play with kids several years older than her. Traumatic brain injury is a contributing factor in 30% of injury related deaths in children ages 0-4.

I’m afraid these older children are going to reject her request to play with them and hurt her feelings. I’m afraid she’s going to get sunburned. I’m afraid she’s going to wait too long and pee her pants. I’m afraid she’s going to throw a fit when it’s time to leave.

I talk to my daughter about “stranger danger.” I also talk to her about looking both ways before crossing the street, running with scissors, and making sure her butt is properly wiped.  Since I don’t trust that all these lessons have been fully assimilated into her three year old mind, I wipe her butt for her, keep the scissors out of reach, hold her hand crossing the road, and WATCH her at the park.

Thanks Internet do-gooders, I’ve got this under control.

Approximately 115 children in America are abducted by strangers each YEAR, not the 700 a DAY quoted at the end of the video. I can’t even begin to imagine how horrifying this is for these children and their families. If it isn’t every parent’s worst nightmare, it is pretty close to the top of the list. The sad truth, however, is that the majority of violence perpetrated against children is done by people they know.

Stop trying to scare me, Internet. I’m a parent. Since her birth my life has consisted of two things:

1. Doing everything in my power to keep my daughter safe

2. Being scared I may not always be able to.






24 thoughts on “Stop trying to scare me Internet”

  1. I’m with you here, fed up of all the scare stories all they do is breed more, and then you end up with things like the chap accused of being a pedophile and photographed just because he spoke to a child in a shopping mall (story currently doing the rounds). It is all sickening.

    1. Its a shame because there are people out there with the intentions of trying to help. Unfortunately there are many more just looking for headlines and views

  2. The world is not anywhere near as scary as the internet makes it out to be, and I applaud your decision not to let it scare you (I mean, more than what is normal for a parent).

    I saw the video, too – I mean, who didn’t? Everyone was sharing it with freaked-out comments like “Take the time to teach your children not to do this!”

    How? Seriously, how? I’m a mother of SIX children, and I knew, as soon as he started his experiment, what the children would do.

    Unless we terrify our children into not speaking to or trusting anyone – doctors, nurses, police officers, substitute teachers, the sweet old lady who just moved in next door – we have to accept that they are *children* and they naturally trust people, and we have to adjust for it. And that’s not really a bad thing, because they’ll be messed up if they don’t.

    That’s why, as you said, we *watch* our children at the park, we pay attention to who they’re speaking with, we ensure that anyone we leave them with is safe as houses. And then we watch them grow up and have to realize that we can’t protect them anymore.

  3. Well said. Cheap pranks and scaremongering with inaccurate stats are the last thing any already concerned parent (which is most of us!) needs.

  4. Yeah it was a social experiment or whatever but as a dad who takes his kids to the park I don’t need to be getting crazy looks. Well put!

    1. It was an experiment in how easy it is to get everybody to know your name by getting shared on FB. How come that doesn’t work for us?

  5. I’m with you too. Even more so – stop putting the fear of god into my wife who is already a nervous wreck! Thanks for linking this up and I love the last paragraph and visual. #bigfatlinky

  6. Visiting from the Shine Hop.

    I saw that video posted on one of my friend’s wall and I didn’t really take the time to watch it, but that’s completely inappropriate of that dude! I never let my child out of my sight, but I would hope that if something like that happened, I would have instilled in her the power of not leaving with a stranger.

    liz @ sundays with sophie

    1. I hope the same thing, but I’d be lying if I said I was totally confident in what she would do. In the mean time I use your strategy…never let her out of my sight

  7. Very well said, I hope this post gets shared as many times as that video did! Every parents is already doing their upmost to protect their children. Scare tactics and shock-able video’s aren’t helping us, already very stressed and worried, parents. #BinkyLinky

  8. I saw the Joey Salads video and watched it more than once. I also wrote a post about it. I like the video and think what he did was good. Regardless of the fact that he doesn’t have kids (which is irrelevant) I can’t see why the video has received any negative feedback. Thanks for linking up to the #BinkyLinky

    1. I don’t believe his motives and his facts were completely made up. I think he was just trying to bring attention to his website by using tactics that would guarantee shares. If any parent sees the video and decides to talk to their kids about stranger danger or watches them more closely at the park, that’s great, but most parents shouldn’t need this prompt. Thanks for the comment. I’m actually surprised I haven’t heard from more people with contrary opinions to mine.

  9. I haven’t watched the video yet. Just hearing about the video has made me think more if I have taught my children the dangers of following people out of our site.
    But at the same time, I wonder how many kids saw the man talking to their parents and assumed the guy was safe?
    The kids should still ask a parent.
    I fully agree though. I don’t need the internet trying to scare me as a parent.

  10. I saw the video as part of a TV show like 20/20 or something. While it might seem like overkill to you, if that video saved even one child from being kidnapped because a new or young parent suddenly realized how important it was to watch their kid and not their phone, then hallelujah.

    1. It doesn’t seem like overkill, it seems like somebody exploiting fear for profit. I’m not sure why this guy annoys me so much, because what you say is completely true

  11. I remember that video, and wondering at the parents who—confronted with a stranger asking permission to lure their child away to a windowless van full of puppies—gave their permission to “test” their children with strangers just because this person had a cameraman with them. Sorry, but I’d have called a cop before he could finish his pitch. Clearly the whole thing was BS, just like his “facts.”

    As you say, the vast majority of abductions are perpetrated by someone the child knows. This is such an accepted fact that when a child goes missing police immediately start locating family members, because odds are someone got cranky and took the kid.

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