My child would never talk to a stranger. Would yours? Most parents would say no. We've all talked to our kids about "stranger danger," or some form of it, right? I tell my children one simple rule: If I am standing close enough for you to touch me, you may speak to anyone you like. If I'm not within arm's reach, you must ask before you speak to anyone you don't know. But what if the temptation was great? What if the stranger had a puppy?
Have you seen Joey Salads' "social experiment" where he lures children away in about a nanosecond by engaging them with a puppy? It's been circulating in a viral-ish way lately, and he's done some other versions of it, but the puppy version just blows me away.
luring children with a puppy
Salads approaches parents who are watching their children play in a park and asks their permission to talk to their children as a "social experiment." They all tell him that their children won't talk to him.
All of the children talk to him.
What's worse? Within a few seconds, they happily take him by the hand and walk away from their mothers with the promise of seeing more puppies like the one he has.
After watching the video the first time a few weeks ago, I knew in my gut that my children would have gone with him, too. I'd like to think they wouldn't. But they would. Since I am a pet sitter, my kids can't resist anything animal. And Salads was super nice and cool. Hell, I may have gone with him, myself.
As scary as it is, I showed my kids (ages eight and six) again and again, as well as the other versions of Salads' social experiments. Though I don't think anything could be as irresistible to them as a puppy, I've talked to them about all types of ways strangers might try to tempt them. And I reinforce the rule: If I'm within reach, would it be okay to talk to this guy? "Yes, mommy." And if I'm across the park sitting on a bench, talking to another mom? (because, really, do we watch our kids every SECOND?) "No...we'd come ask you first."
But these moms were caught off guard. They were utterly shocked. I think this has to be an ongoing conversation, and I think it's important to show our kids videos like this. I would actually like to hire someone to come to my next park playdate and see which kids they could lure. Would mine go?
Is your kid safe?
This article, written by me, originally appeared on Brie Brie Blooms and is reposted here with minor changes with permission. Footage photo source: youtube.com