Please Stop Sending Me the Joey Salads Kidnapping Viral Video | Ask Your Dad Blog

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Please Stop Sending Me the Joey Salads Kidnapping Viral Video



A bunch of people keep sending me a new viral video about "kidnapping." Please, everyone who is sending it, stop.

If you're lucky enough to have missed it, please don't click the link or the image above. I will describe it for you. It is a video where a weird dude with a puppy walks up to a “random” lady who is totally OK with a weird dude with a puppy walking up to her and explaining that he is doing a “social experiment” (whatever the hell that is) about kids. The weird dude with the puppy is wondering if she would mind if he goes and pretends to kidnap her kid. Of course the lady, who is not freaked out in the slightest about this random puppy dude walking up to her, is ALSO fine with watching this guy THAT SHE JUST MET go and pretend to kidnap her kid. Of course she is. The guy, Joey Salads, who is apparently internet famous for making totally not set up/fake internet videos, proceeds to not only pretend to kidnap that lady's kid, but then shows us how ALL THE KIDS are easily kidnapped as long as you have an adorable puppy named Donuts.

So basically this YouTube guy is the Pied Piper, but instead of a flute he has a puppy, and the internet is now losing its flipping mind because a playground full of 3-5 year old kids are more concerned with puppies than they are with getting kidnapped. Sorry. I’m not buying it. I’m not buying that the video is real, and I am also not buying that a kids’ first and only priority is to be scared of being kidnapped by anyone who isn't their parent. Excuse my language, but that is total bullshit.


My kids are 3 and 5. When we go to the park, I know where they are. If an adult walks up to them and starts talking to them, they smile. I also don’t go running towards said adult and do a flying karate kick at their head to prevent the kidnapping that is totally 100% occurring. I keep an eye on my kid. I wait to see how they interact. Usually the other adult is saying hello, or introducing them to their kid. Now if it was some creepy YouTube guy with a video camera and a puppy, I might be a little concerned.

But look, in my opinion kids 3-5 years old shouldn't be out of my line of site anyway. At that age, it is my job to protect them. It isn't their job to protect themselves. Not yet. And sure, the world is full of dangers, but it isn't nearly as full as we think. At least that is what I thought... until our puppy-carrying, fear-mongering friend ends the video by saying that "700 kids are kidnapped A DAY." At that my jaw dropped. No way. No f’ing way. That IS a lot of kids. That is 255,500 kids kidnapped per year. A quarter million kids! That is roughly the population of Orlando! According to Joey Salads we lose an entire Orlando worth of kids every year!

So I did what I do when something makes me guffaw in disbelief. I Googled that shit. The Department of Justice in 2002 reported abductions by strangers at 115 a year. Granted, that is 2002. So either some strange zombie-kidnapper virus has slowly infected the population over the last 13 years causing normal people to become crazy, mindless puppy carrying kidnappers, and in-turn raised the kidnapping rate from 1/3 of a kid getting kidnapped per day in the US to 700 kids being kidnapped by strangers a day, a horrifying increase of 222,174%... OR Joey Salads is full of shit and just looking to make a couple bucks off scaring the hell out of us.

I know that kidnapping is scary. It scares the living hell out of me. Recently one of my most read pieces was all about my fears. Still, the chances of a stranger kidnapping my kids are incredibly small. Not small enough for me not to worry about, but small enough that I don’t think it is worth scaring the living hell out of my kids

From Freerangekids.com: “The Department of Justice reports that of the 800,000 children reported “missing” in the United States each year, 115 are the result of “stereotypical kidnapping” — a stranger snatching the child. About 90 percent of abductees return home within 24 hours and the vast majority are teenage runaways.”

And it’s not even that I am advocating for "free-range kids." Personally, I don’t plan on letting my kid ride the subway by themselves until they can at least afford a plane ticket to a city with a subway in it. I just don’t want my kids’ going through life looking at every adult as if they were an imminent threat to them. We recently had a kid go missing in the woods in Utah. An exhaustive search almost didn't find him even though he could hear people calling his name. Why didn't he call out? Like most of us, he had “stranger danger” taught to him his whole life. I don’t want my kids to be afraid to approach adults if they need them.

There’s got to be a middle ground, and that dumb video isn't helping anyone find it.

Here’s what I am going to do. I am going to keep an eye on my kids until they’re old enough to not go chasing puppies into the back of some YouTube Celebrity’s Pedovan. After that, I am going to teach them how to handle situations, not people.

I'll say things like, If someone asks you to go with them, what do you do? You come see mommy and daddy. If someone touches you what do you do? You come see mommy and daddy. If someone says hi to you at the playground what do you do? You smile and say hi back, because the world is full of amazing people, and if you run screaming from everyone who looks your direction, you’ll miss out on so much.

I am going to teach them to be kind to people and that most people are generally good. Because while I don’t want my kids to get kidnapped, I also don’t want them to grow up constantly afraid of things that will probably never happen. That’s my job, I’m a parent.

Think I'm wrong? Think I'm right? Let me know in the comments! And then don't forgot to come follow me on the Ask Your Dad Facebook Page. We have a lot of fun over there, and there are SO MANY PUPPIES!! 


23 comments:

  1. I agree, 100%. No if's, and's or but's.

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  2. Thank you for this wonderfully clear response to a YouTube prankster with little foresight. Many of the kids taught to live in fear are now the fearful parents, searching for a better self-narrative to teach their children. Surely we can frame these situations as safety concerns rather than "everyone you don't know is evil", which is overwhelmingly not true.

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  3. When I first saw your headline, I was actually ready to argue with you on this one. Then I read your post. And y'know what, you're right. Not one of those kids even tried to look scared at all. And not one of the parents seemed freaked out that this guy was running an "experiment". What would've stopped him from just grabbing a kid and running if he really wanted to?

    My kids are 9 and 12, so a lot older than these. One of my kids is petrified of dogs to begin with, so no way Joey would get away with that. The other one loves dogs but I'd hope he'd ask us before running off with a stranger. Either way, I'd never let my kid (even at 9) hang out in a playground all by himself with me nowhere in site.

    Thanks for a great post!

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  4. While I agree that the video seemed setup, I shared it and showed it to my kids as a learning tool. I dont tell my kids not to talk to strangers "every single day" as some of the moms in the video said, but I do consider it a serious issue. My 8 year old has had to sit by me the whole time at playgrounds for engaging conversations with complete strangers. This has co cerned me not only because of the danger, but because I want her to be concerned with making friends her own age. I also showed this video to my 6 year old because lets face it..I keep an eye on my kids at the playground too, but with an 8,6, almost 2 year old and another on the way, I know that I need to teach my kids some things so that I can trust not seeing them for 5-10 minutes while my toddler throws a tantrum because i wont let her touch poop or eat dirt.
    While watching the video with my kids, I pointed out how the 'stranger' didnt look mean or scary, but how that doesnt tell is anything about him as a person. I want them to realize that good looks dont make someone good, just like ugliness ordifferences dont make someone bad.
    I also paused the video each time he was walking away with a child. I asked my kids "if you were this person (random bystander) would you think that this girl might be in trouble or that she belonged to him?" Of course they had to admit that there would be no red flags raised. I brought this up to remind them that no one will be able to help you if no one knows that something isnt right. I tell my kids if a stranger does something that seems inappropriate to make a lot of noise going from them to me.
    Lastly, I brought up to my kids that the children in the video may have seen the 'stranger' talking to their mom on the bench and therefore assume that it was a safe person. I want to make sure that my kids know that this is not true..if they dont know an adult they should always ask.

    I dont try to hinder my kids from being generally nice to people in general. Saying hi, waving back, or joining in a conversation that I am already having with a stranger or acquaintance is ok. We have gone over the differences between family,close friends, acquaintances, and strangers and what is appropriate behavior for each, along with what information is acceptable in each group. This is (mostly) not because I am overbearing, but because my kids were telling anyone and everyone personal information, and my 8 year old, when getting an extra napkin in a food court, decided it would be appropriate to practically sit on some guys lap and tell him all about herself. This is within 2 minutes and within eyeshot.

    Again, I agree that the video is not authetic and there are many things worth criticizing about it, but not the main message. As much as you keep an eye on your kids, things can happen quickly.

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  5. Another thing that REALLY irked me about this video.., these kids SAW their patents talking to this man. Why would they be afraid of someone they just saw their patent having s polite conversation with??

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  6. Yeah, kids should be scared of the people they know, that's who's more likely to abduct them! Just kidding. Sort of.

    Well said, John. (And shared.)

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  7. Yeah, kids should be scared of the people they know, that's who's more likely to abduct them! Just kidding. Sort of.

    Well said, John. (And shared.)

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  8. I don't agree with you. For some reason, and frankly I can't explain, you are mad at this. Maybe you are mad at those poor kids are followed puppies this easy... Or you are mad because on behalf of all parents, you wanted to say "no we are doing a good job you a.. hole". That guy, did a very good job, by doing this, and putting it on the web. Honestly I don't think these videos are set up, I believe this. You say it yourself, 800000 children missing every year?? how can't you believe this video? We talked with my wife about this, we have a 1 year daughter, and we are scared. We were scared before, we are scared more now. And we can't be scared less. Look at the statistics. What I am going to do? I will not blink my eye as I am watching her when we are outside, and I know you can't teach her which all the strangers are bad and should be avoided. So.. We are on the same side, but I don't understand why you are mad at the guy, he certainly did an awesome job by making everybody start talking about this.

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    1. I'm upset because he hyperinflates the danger and in turn makes parents overly suspicious of each other and instills unnecessary fear of other's in our kids. He makes up statistics that have no base in reality. The majority of that 800K are runaways or parental disputes. Over 90% are found or return within 24 hours. Of the 800,000 missing children every year, only 125 are abducted by strangers. Last year 9,000 kids age 0-14 died in car crashes. Why not talk about that? Because seat belt and car seat safety is less sensational than some made up boogeyman with a puppy coming to the playground to steal your three-year-old.

      I am upset because it is fear-mongering with made up facts created to generate ad revenue for his youtube channel.

      But hey, we can totally disagree. I don't mind. I appreciate you commenting, and honestly, we probably agree on more than we don't. Thanks for reading!

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    2. Dude, I don't know where you are getting that statistics, but here is another one:
      https://missingkids.ca/app/en/non_family_abduction
      says "Research shows that of the 58,000 non-family abductions each year in the United States, 63% involved a family friend, long-term acquaintance, neighbour, caretaker, babysitter or person in a position of authority and only 37% involved a stranger. The number of complete strangers is not insignificant but it remains far smaller than other offenders who have easy and legitimate access to children. (Source: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Children at Greatest Risk of Abduction When Going To and From School or School-Related Activities)." (I know it is a Canadian website, but shows statistics of USA)
      which makes 58,000*0.37=21,460 children are abducted by "total" strangers every year.
      Honestly, I don't care if this is a set up or not, or a prank is generating lots of money for his youtube channel. What I care about is, you just can't do less fear mongering on such a topic. Oh by the way, I am not from USA, and let me tell you that it is far more true for other parts of the world if it IS true for USA.

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    3. I link to my statistics in the piece.

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    4. it's a problem with terminology. "Non-family abduction" is a very general term-- it includes the robber who orders a child into a closet. There really are thousands of such incidents a year. Only about a hundred cases a year are "stereotypical kidnappings", which is specifically a stranger taking a child a long way away, or for a long time, or with the intention of killing or keeping them.

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  9. I couldn't AGREE more!! I think you have it exactly right that kids need to be taught how to handle situations and not people. I can't believe for one second that this isn't a set up. I was just saying to a friend that it couldn't be real and that I was annoyed it existed at all. Completely ridiculous.

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  10. http://www.missingkids.com/KeyFacts

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  11. I believe the real dangers to my (one year old) daughter are roads and swimming pools. So she's not allowed to walk in car parks, but she is allowed to rock climb and for everything else I just monitor her. It's important for me that she lives with care, but not in fear.

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  12. Totally agree on the need to find the happy medium between paranoia and carelessness. I've heard wonderful things about this "Safety Show" video... going to request it from my library. It's supposed to teach kids to listen to their gut, situation by situation, rather than the old blanket advice of "stranger = bad".
    http://www.rubysstudio.com/products/safety-show-dvd

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  13. My dad was a single parent and he felt the best way to ensure that we weren't kidnapped was to teach us to 'not trust anyone' [read: 'everyone is a psychopathic kidnapper']. As a result I grew up paranoid that everyone who said 'hello' to me at the park was a threat; this perspective left me feeling very lonely and isolated, and even caused me to develop social anxiety. It took years for me to feel confident striking up conversations with anyone new. But I realized as I got older that most people are not crazy nut jobs intent on kidnapping every child in sight. As a parent I keep my eyes (and ears) on my young children; but I don't feel immediately threatened when they are approached by an adult. In my experience, the adults who approach my kids really are just saying 'hi' or are attempting to introduce their children to my children. (Just as stated in the article) This idiot could potentially cause mental and emotional harm for both parents, and their children, who take him seriously and begin to the view the world as a negative place filled to the brim with dangerous kidnappers.

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  14. Great read, i agree with you. But i think joey sallad is opening the eye of what could happen, but in a bit extreme way. Still this might only be the issue in bigger citys not like in my Village of 10000 people.

    But what you described in the end is quite exactly how i been raising my now 6 year old girl. And she does not miss out or afraid of talking to a stranger but IF he would offer her somethibg like candy or go see more pyppys, she would Come to me ask for permit.

    You are right, we should not be scared of people and teach our children about the situations that they easy can avoid to always ask parent or known grownup If it is ok. Joey has a point but Its just a bit extreme and not helping to solve the problem It caused.

    Anyway thank you for the good read and Great point of view.

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  15. While I agree with what you're saying, I don't agree with your feelings on this guy. I don't think this is meant to be a scare tactic, but rather an eye opener. That's what most 'social experiments' are. They aren't treated like actual scientific research that usually have a clear point; they simply show a common reaction in social situations so they can spark a discussion. It's a very scary idea for parents and might have some overreactions, but why do think most parents wont take away what you took away (or already knew) from this? That not every stranger who interacts with your kid is an evil person with ill intentions, but you need to remain vigilant because kids are innocent and very trusting and you need to make sure they know enough so they only trust strangers to a point (i.e. it's okay to talk to them if they talk to you, but don't go off with anyone you don't know.). How do you know your thought process wasn't what he was shooting for when he made/posted this video? Just by looking at the comments to your post, you can see a lot of parents who saw this video and understood cutting your child off from the world isn't the answer. I don't know, I just feel like you're assuming too much about him to say he's trying to scare people into never letting their kids interact with anyone.

    I think Emily (from your comments) said it the best. "I know that I need to teach my kids some things so that I can trust not seeing them for 5-10 minutes while my toddler throws a tantrum because i wont let her touch poop or eat dirt." The first mom in the video had a stroller with her. The interaction he had with her older child went from 0:33-0:59. That's less than 30 seconds it took for him to walk away with her child, hand in hand. You don't want to scare your kid into thinking they can't trust or talk to anyone, but you also want to be sure they know enough to not go off with someone they don't know. It's very plausible a situation will arrive where her baby will start crying and she'll take her eye off the older kid for a minute or two.


    Also, he ends the video by saying over 700 children are abducted a year. He doesn't give much more info after that, so even though your number may be right (about 115) that doesn't mean his is wrong. Maybe he's talking in general, which includes being abducted by someone the child knows. Maybe he's talking about world wide. Who knows.

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    1. Fair enough. Thanks for commenting! You're opinion is totally welcome here :)

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  16. The truth is, you don't know what your child would do, or how they would react. I want to believe my children would be aware of stranger danger, but I also want to believe my teenagers wouldn't meet strangers they talked to on the internet. Truth is, I don't know how they would act, because they seem to ignore a lot of the lessons I try to teach them. Thank goodness my oldest child seems more vigilant, but it seems you're reaction is more of a defensive one than an ethical one. He doesn't go over any ethical boundaries in my opinion. The truth is that some parents would never want their child exposed to those variables, but other parents would want to see their child's reaction in a safe setting that they control so they could know if they need to talk to their kids a little more. I find everyone's reaction just as interesting as the video's themselves. However, the statistics at the end don't do him any favors, he could have at least cited his source saying "this dept tell us that such and such many kids etc."

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  17. I agree with your article bit your condemnation isn't strong enough. Salads is a glory hound that pedels fake (yes, fake, and obviously so) videos to fear-addled fools for YouTube hits. He's a snake oil salesman, charlatan scumbag.

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