Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Talk to Strangers

He cites child abduction stats at the end of the video. They seem much less scary when you consider how many people there are (denominator neglect!). They're also much much less scary when you stop looking at total child abductions, which is mostly just parents who violated custody laws, and look at actual stranger child abductions, which is spectacularly small.

To get an idea how small, consider this report from the Justice Department, which shows 797,500 total children reported missing in a one-year period, 203,900 were abducted by family members, and 58,200 were abducted by non-relatives. What about stranger danger? The report itself calls it an, "an extremely small portion of all missing children." The total number? 115 cases.

Does that mean the point of the video is wrong? Not really. It really is easy to abduct children. Parents have a hard time getting their children to do anything, much less avoid manipulation by people much older and smarter than them. The real lesson is that child training is not what keeps children safe. What keeps them safe is how rare the totally bizarre behavior of wanting someone else's child is. That, and the risk of paying the cost of getting caught.

Fortunately, those to mechanisms are pretty ingrained. So long as the officials do a reasonably well catching child abductors, and punishing them harshly, and so long children don't suddenly start pooping gold, the kind of child abductions that parent's fear will stay very rare.

So maybe we should stop teaching our children to be anti-social, and instead teach them to strike up a conversation with a stranger.

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Everything is amazing and nobody is happy