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.