Scary Video About Stranger Danger Shows Our Kids are Too Trusting (VIDEO)

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predator testIf a stranger tried to lure your child away from the playground and into a van, your child would know better than to follow him, right? Don't be too sure. In "The Predator Test," an upcoming Raising America special on HLN Friday, Kyra Phillips puts 20 children to the test. A producer brings his dog to a playground, engages each child one by one, and tries to lure them to his car (with the parents' permission, while they watch). He succeeds with several of them. He even gets one child to crawl into a cage in the back of the "stranger's" car.

It's terrifying for a parent to watch -- and that's the point. The mother of that boy who gets into the cage admits that she hadn't talked enough with her son about dealing with strangers because she didn't want to scare them. But some experts say you should scare your kids -- sometimes scaring is necessary and effective in keeping your children safe.

Unlike a lot of other news reports that scare the bejeezus out of parents and then move on to the next story, Raising America promises to also give parents the tools to better prepare their kids for so-called stranger danger. For host Kyra Phillips, it's personal. She says, "As a mom, my child’s safety is my number one concern. And my greatest fear is abduction. So not only do I take this special personally, I think every family will learn from it and it will create a really healthy discussion at home.” Rebecca Bailey, therapist to kidnapping survivor Jaycee Dugard, will give parents tips, including new language to use when talking with their kids about staying safe around "people they don't know."

More from The Stir: 6-Year-Old Escapes Kidnapper Using Simple Skills -- Would Your Child Know What to Do? (VIDEO)

So okay, we need to prepare our kids for confrontations with strangers. But most kidnappings and assaults are committed by someone the child knows. The main suspect in Alanna Gallagher's murder is her neighbor. What about that? Well, the special will also feature self-defense tips kids can use in any situation, whether it's with a stranger or another adult who suddenly becomes a threat.

I have to admit, I haven't done a whole lot to prepare my own son about dealing with adults they don't know. I've given him a couple of lectures, but that's about it. I'm hoping this special will give me some substantial tips for preparing us for something I hope he'll never, ever have to confront.

"The Predator Test" on Raising America With Kyra Phillips airs on HLN on Friday, August 2, at 12:00 E.T. 

Do you feel like your child is adequately prepared to deal with a threat from an adult they don't know?


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Jespren Jespren

THE STRANGER'S NOT THE DANGER! It is far, far, far more likely that a kid will need help in a situation and need to turn to a 'stranger' for it than they will ever be kidnapped by one. Kids have hidden from search parties because they heard some 'stranger' calling their names, they've hidden in stores and malls. They've not saught help for injuries or injuried friends, they've called a parent because they were too afraid to knock on a strangers door or call 911 during a break in or house fire. Kids have 101 reasons to interact with strangers & only 1 reason why to not. Those 101 are so hugely more likely to occur than than 1. Even here, what happened? A nice person 'convinced' a kid to look and get into a car, they didn't kidnap them, they had no ill intent, they caused & intended to cause no harm, why should kids be afraid of that? Kids have a good sense of people if you help them develope it. If a kid speaks to 'strangers' as a course of life, they quickly figure out which 'strangers' to avoid and which are perfectly fine. *this* guy was obviously perfectly fine, all this 'proves' is these kids showed good judgement in knowing this fellow wasn't going to hurt them if they looked around his car. They are momumentally more likely to be kidnapped or harmed by someone they know, and if that happens, they need to know if they run up to a stranger 99.99% of them will help them get away from their abductor or attacker.

angiedb angiedb

I hate the phrase "stranger danger!" It's worst first thinking and I refused to teach my children that strangers are a danger. Children should not be taught that they should never speak to those they don't know. Most people in the world are not dangerous. Children need to learn to follow their instincts and to go to an adult for help, not to be too afraid to do so. Stranger danger teaching is so frustrating. 

GinaC... GinaChristine

Thank you Jespren and angiedb!!!! Nice to hear that some people still have common sense!

teddy... teddysmama09

I was just going to post exactly what the ladies above have already said.

When I was 3 I got lost at the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit. But I remembered what my mom taught me "If you ever get lost and need help find another mom with a child or a person wearing a uniform." As soon as I realised I wasn't with my parents I found a security guard.

Teaching kids to be affraid of people will only stunt them, we just need to teach them to be stranger savvy. For instance, teach your child to never go with someone without asking mommy or daddy first. That way your children know they need permission but you haven't scared the life out them either.

Mommy... Mommy2Phenley

I agree with the other commenters. I hate "stranger danger". We encounter strangers every day and so do our children. We often expect our children to be courteous and talk to those strangers. It sends very mixed signals. And what is a stranger anyway? If you teach only stranger danger, what about when someone walks up and introduces themselves to your child and says they know you? No longer a stranger in the young child's eyes.

I teach not to go with *anyone*, no matter who it is or how well we know them, without our permission. I teach not to accept stuff without asking us first. And we've discussed how it's different if you're lost. That she should find a mommy with kids and ask for help. If she's lost in the woods (we camp a lot), she should respond to anyone calling for her and go with them. We make up various scenarios and I help her decide what she should do.

Stranger danger is dangerous to teach kids IMO.

Morri... MorriganzMommy

Obviously those here have never been close to abduction or have a child nearly abducted. I was nearly abducted at age 9, as I was trying to prevent my friend from walking off with a guy looking for his daughter's doll. I followed her stupidity trying to prevent her from going with him. I went far enough and ran back, leaving my friend so I could get my mom. Lucky I did, since that same guy was arrested a year later for trying to pull a girl into his car outside of the elementary school by my house. Then at 13 a bunch of older boys, weren't from my high school tried to pull me into their car. Not that stranger danger would of helped at that point but good self defense skills did. It's not like these were in the same town. I lived in the city at 9 and a little suburb town at 13. Never mind the fact one of my ex-boyfriends was abducted. There have been few children I know that don't have some kind of story where they weren't inappropriately approached by a strange adult. Kids don't tell their parents, my parents still don't know half of what happened in my childhood. I think at this point they may blame themselves, I wouldn't put my parents through that. 

I have never needed a stranger's help, I don't trust anyone, it comes from being faced with reality at a young age. My daughter understands the difference between needing help and being naive, at least I hope. I've been drilling it into her head since 2.

Morri... MorriganzMommy

Don't think not teaching your kid to be leery of strangers really benefits a child. Teach them the difference between needing help and being naive and falling for a predator's tricks. They are crafty, they listen to kids, watch them, find out bits about them and then they make up their lies to trick children into following them somewhere they can take them. The worst part is that those children taken by strangers are the least likely to be found alive. Think of that next time you sit down on a bench while your child plays on a playground. Think of that next time you send your child into a store without you. Think of that next time you play on your cell phone instead of keeping your eyes on your child. 

nonmember avatar Alexsmommy08

When my son was 3 he would approach everyone. I was actually glad about that because growing up I was the exact opposite. I would talk to no one but my mom (today they would say I was on the spectrum;). One day we were at the park and he went up to this old man sitting on a bench and started talking. Afterwards this mother comes up to me and said "I cannot believe you did not scold him for talking to a stranger" she then proceeds to tell him to not trust people he doesn't know. I corrected her and asked her not to parent my child and that since I was two feet away from my son and this 85 year old man with a cane I was pretty sure I could take him down had he attempted anything. Problem was after that my child thought he would get yelled at for talking to anyone and became much more fearful. He is now back to his friendly self but installing fear is not beneficial.

miche... micheledo

I wonder if the kids felt 'safer' because he invited ALL of them to his car.  I would like to see how each one would have reacted if they had been invited ALONE to his vehicle. 

Rose McGill Thomas

let's not forget about the women a few months ago that started talking to a stranger in the store and then let her child go off with him cause he seemed like a nice guy . they found her dead a few hours later it only goes to prove that you just NEVER know what's on another person's mind .

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