This recently appeared on Facebook - I found it misleading and offensive, It was beyond belief that someone would go to the trouble of posting it - and then thousands of people would share it "to save a life". Why was I so upset by it? First of all - it's lifted from an episode of Criminal Minds and it never happened. But like most urban legends there are parents out there that are either crying over this poor fictitious girl or are frantically re-posting it in an effort to catch the criminal trolling for kindergartners to sell over seas. I find it amazing anyone would even buy this - the premise of this story is a parent has befriended a cute guy on Facebook who after seeing a picture of her kid E bays the kid, snatches her from school, throws a bag over her head and zips her off to South Africa. Hmm. Been to a school lately? I have - I do visits to schools in my job. I have to have photo ID, sign in with time, make or car, color of the car, and then go through a metal detector. And this kidnapper not only manages to make off with the kid but flies her all the way to South Africa with no ID and a bag on her head. Absolutely amazing!
If you want to protect your kids never mind Dr. Evil, look around you. Did you know that according to FBI statistics the children snatched by a stranger account for 1/100th of a PERCENT? And they note that most likely is not accurate as a family or individual covering up a murder of a child will report that child as missing to cover their tracks.The term "stranger" also covers people you're in contact with or people that see the child physically. Someone brought up Etan Patz but the man most likely responsible for his abduction actually worked in a store in his neighborhood - a stranger that was acquainted with the victim. The person most likely to victimize a child unfortunately, is a family member, a family friend or someone in an authoritative position such as a priest, teacher, scout leader. Look at the Duggars - it was not a stranger that molested those girls - including one as young as 5 years old - it was their own sibling. And it was not some outside agency that helped their brother continue with his crime - it was their own parents, not some "stranger danger". And more sickeningly they continue to downplay it - that it was a "little touch on the outside of clothes" which does not jive with the police report that stated "forcible fondling of the breast and vaginal area".
I guess it bothers me because it's just one more reason for Helicopter Parenting to continue - because of things like this being repeatedly shared til people think it's true. We've ended up a nation afraid to let our kids out of sight. EVER. My kids played in the neighborhood, they rode their bikes without me staring them down, walked to friend's house. If it was on our road they could go by themselves, any further and it was either both kids or with a friend. Do that now and I'd be looking to be arrested. But I knew where they were and really, now with cell phones, they're just a call away. We've managed to turn an entire generation into people that cannot be self sufficient, eternal teenagers. I"m glad my kids were up and gone before the internet took that away from them. And yes my kids were "free range" and still are!!