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Old 10-13-2011, 10:54 AM   #41
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I did, until DW found out about it ...
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Old 10-13-2011, 11:02 AM   #42
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I'm going to talk to the next kid I see and let the chips fall where they may.
But you'd be teaching the kid that it's okay to talk to strangers.
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Old 10-13-2011, 11:23 AM   #43
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My first instinct was to get the heck out of there in case I was confronted as being some kind of pervert lurking in parks to endanger little children.

I'm an overweight woman who only poses a major threat to chairs, pepperoni pizzas and the occasional spider, yet I reacted like a criminal
The mere fact that you are female will probably eliminate 98% of the assumptions that you are a pervert.
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Old 10-13-2011, 12:01 PM   #44
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Because it's on TV.


Oh, and if anyone knows a better hobby than geocaching for younger retirees, I'd love to hear about it.
The only hobby I can think of that is better is sitting on a beach chair near a nice warm lake, with a good book and a cold beer. Not as much exercise but definitely at the top of my list.

Seriously - I won't walk just for the sake of walking. I find it boring. But... tell me to go look for a boxful of bubblegum machine trinkets in a bug-infested hole in a tree next to a mosquito-ridden swamp, and I'm your girl!
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Old 10-13-2011, 12:02 PM   #45
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Pretty sure that most danger to children doesn't come from strangers but from family members including extended/blended, teachers, clergy, coaches, etc.--i.e., people who are not strangers. So talk away, Nu.
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Old 10-13-2011, 12:04 PM   #46
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But you'd be teaching the kid that it's okay to talk to strangers.
Because it IS okay to talk to strangers!

We're talking (sort of).
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Old 10-13-2011, 12:06 PM   #47
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Pretty sure that most danger to children doesn't come from strangers but from family members including extended/blended, teachers, clergy, coaches, etc.--i.e., people who are not strangers. So talk away, Nu.
You're absolutely right, but children are still left alone with the dangerous ones and taught to fear (friendly) strangers.
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:29 PM   #48
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So, send your grandkids out on the street to mingle with the crowds and meet new, interesting people. Keep them out of school, church, adult supervised clubs, etc., to protect them from the perverts.
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:34 PM   #49
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Of course I'm not saying that, YouBet, but maybe also focus on nonstranger danger.

I don'[t think most kids today go out without a family member anyway.
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:38 PM   #50
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Pretty sure that most danger to children doesn't come from strangers but from family members including extended/blended, teachers, clergy, coaches, etc.--i.e., people who are not strangers. So talk away, Nu.
How much of this is because the folks you mention are the folks the kiddies spend time with? If you decreased that time and added a lot of time with random strangers at random places (think joining the stranger in their car to "chat," etc.) might change that.

Since many parents do not allow young kiddies to spend much unsupervised time with strangers in seclusion, it follows there is not much opportunity for strangers to act questionably. We'd probably have to construct the experiment differently allowing equal opportunity for access by both strangers and known folks to draw any meaningful conclusions.

There's also the issue of what constitutes a "stranger.' We recently had a suburban cop arrested for child porn. Great. I tell the kids it's good to approach a uniformed officer if they are lost or have an issue. Then I find out the uniformed officer likes to ask the kids to show him their "thingy" while he takes pictures....

I agree that the "stranger - danger" thing is likely quite overblown, OTOH I admit if my grandyoungin's were playing hopscotch in the driveway and a car pulled up with the adult beginning a conversation, I'd probably drift on over to see what was up. Especially if the adult appeared to be offering them something or calling them closer to the car.
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:49 PM   #51
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How much of this is because the folks you mention are the folks the kiddies spend time with? If you decreased that time and added a lot of time with random strangers at random places (think joining the stranger in their car to "chat," etc.) might change that.

Since many parents do not allow young kiddies to spend much unsupervised time with strangers in seclusion, it follows there is not much opportunity for strangers to act questionably. We'd probably have to construct the experiment differently allowing equal opportunity for access by both strangers and known folks to draw any meaningful conclusions....
Good point--there's probably a huge statistical reason for nonstranger vs. stranger danger, just like "most accidents occur within 5 miles of home" (because that's where most driving is done).
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Old 10-13-2011, 02:15 PM   #52
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Or most dog bites are from Golden Retrievers and Labs. Because those are the most popular breeds. Another reason to love Freakonomics.
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Old 10-13-2011, 04:51 PM   #53
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I like kids and see them often in situations where I am the old man stranger and mostly with a nice looking friendly dog. It is kinda sad that you have to be very careful chatting with kids that you don't know, but still meet when out walking the dog. Kids are kinda learning that all us adults are bad when we are really not.

In the past, I had this experience when I was walking my kids to school. We came upon a small boy (say 3rd grader) next to his bike with a jammed chain. He was talking to his mom via a walkie-talkie, "OK, Mom, I'll wait here until you come get me." So I said, "Let's fix your bike and get you going." Whereupon he said, "It's OK Mom, a nice man is going to help me fix my bike."
Whereupon you could hear a panicky Mom through the walkie-talkie, "Don't do anything! I'll be right there! You don't need any help!"

So I said, "Tell her it's Mary's dad and we already fixed your bike." Anyways that day was a sad day for me because it pretty much said that folks thought I was evil before any other impression they got of me. This is after coaching lots and lots of youth sports teams, doing the cub scout thing, the YMCA thing, etc. I have been background checked so many times it's ridiculous. Also I would never ever ever give a kid a ride home with only me in the car. Once I had to ask my wife to come get me so that we could take a kid home together in the car.

Nowadays I live near 6 schools and I walk my dog in the morning when lots of kids are at bus stops or walking to school. I see many parents and kids. At this point, I know many of them and we stop and chat, but it is still pretty clear that if the parent doesn't know me or my kids, then I am evil. The friendly dog only makes me more evil as he appears to be a device to attract kids. My life is diminished because of this.
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Old 10-13-2011, 05:01 PM   #54
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.......... My life is diminished because of this.
Well stated. I've encountered the same thing.
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Old 10-13-2011, 05:14 PM   #55
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You may be a tad over sensitive LOL. Do they think you are evil, or just an unknown?

How do you handle things with your kids regarding spending time with unknown adults in unknown situations?

I think a lot of the problem stems from small children not being able to distinguish between situations involving approaches by adults. How can you coach a 6 or 7 yr old regarding the difference between LOL and his dog stopping to chat with them at the bus stop vs another similar, safe appearing, friendly adult with a dog suggesting the child hop in the car to go to the dog park with them? It's not easy. And to err on the side of caution, I think many parents just train the child to not associate or get friendly with adults not known to them. There're not teaching them that everyone unknown to them is "evil."

There could also be the issue of baby sitters and others being more cautious than the parents themselves would be. I can tell you that when I'm baby sitting my grandkids, I keep a fairly short leash. I can't imagine telling their parents that the kids never came home from the park and I don't have a clue what happened....... maybe they'll come home tomorrow.

I grew up only a few block from the home of John Gacy. We currently have local media coverage going on (yet again) because they've dug up 8 of the boys he killed to do DNA testing to see if they could be identified. Check out the Wiki site. You'll love the pics of him posing with First Lady Rosalynn Carter and in costume as "Pogo the Clown" doing charity work.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wayne_Gacy




No parent, guardian or baby sitter wants to be the one in a zillion that failed to protect their child from that kind of situation. Why not cut them a little slack?
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Old 10-13-2011, 05:21 PM   #56
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You may be a tad over sensitive LOL. Do they think you are evil, or just an unknown?

How do you handle things with your kids regarding spending time with unknow adults in unknown situations?

I think a lot of the problem stems from small children not being able to distinguish between situations involving approaches by adults. How can you coach a 6 or 7 yr old regarding the difference between LOL and his dog stopping to chat with them at the bus stop vs another similar, safe appearing, friendly adult with a dog suggesting the child hop in the car to go to the dog park with them? It's not easy. And to err on the side of caution, I think many parents just train the child to not associate or get friendly with adults not know to them.
Sounds about right. Since my kids are too young to be out and about without us, we are more focused on drilling onto them that they have to get permission before petting a strange dog (not all dogs are crazy about kids pounding on them), but when they are older we will be focusing on appropriate dealings with strangers. I don't want to needlessly impugn anyone, but the downside risk to my kids is too great to do otherwise.
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Old 10-13-2011, 05:54 PM   #57
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When you think about it, it's not the little kids who are most at danger. It would be unconscionable to allow any small child to be alone with any stranger, anywhere since they just don't have the instinct to distinguish between good and evil.

The ones most at risk are the 9 to 15 year olds, it seems: parents let them off the leash (or they cut the leash themselves) and they are far more likely to run into bad people.

One of Canada's worst - Clifford Olson - kidnapped, tortured and murdered several kids in that 9 to 16 age range. His trick was to offer them a job on a construction site. Olson just died of cancer (and I hope it was one of the more painful kinds), but he claimed to have killed something like 200 kids. That was never proven.

I guess the end result is that we all get the fall-out from the monsters.
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Old 10-13-2011, 05:55 PM   #58
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Count your blessings...
You're lucky to be talking about it...
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Old 10-13-2011, 06:51 PM   #59
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My kids are high school and college students nowadays. When my son was younger, we would ask him, "What would you do if a nice man asked you to get into his van to go look for his dog?" He would answer, "I go with him" which was kind of scary, but we corrected that.

We are generally friendly to all strangers and like to talk to them. My kids have been with me when I strike up conversations. They have learned the necessary boundaries and really have no fear of strange adults in safe surroundings.

You can see this when my youngest interacts with adults whether waitstaff, retail clerks, or over the phone. He is fearless when calling up Netflix customer service, Walmart, Best Buy or any place. He is fearless when going door-to-door to sell booster club stuff.

For girls it is a bit different. They need to have their "game face" much more often. They cannnot even smile at a strange man walking by.

OTOH, I have seen kids whose parents were so paranoid that the kids have learned things that will prevent them from functioning optimally in society. Those kids will be the ones with sweaty palms and monosyllabic responses in interviews for college and jobs.

And I don't go around asking kids to pet my dog. Generally, the kids come up and say, "Can I pet your dog?" and I answer, "Only if your parents let you pet strange dogs."
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Old 10-14-2011, 01:10 AM   #60
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Generally, the kids come up and say, "Can I pet your dog?" and I answer, "Only if your parents let you pet strange dogs."
Sounds quite reasonable all around.
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