Video: Your kid wouldn't talk to strangers, would they?

To cleanse the palate, viral nightmare fuel for the parents and grandparents among the HA faithful. If you thought the polls looked dimly on free-range parenting before — 59 percent wouldn’t let their middle-schooler walk to school alone — wait until this has had a full week of circulation on Facebook.

How accurate is it, though? One proponent of “free-range parenting” argues that you can’t reliably test a kid’s sensitivity to Stranger Danger when they know mom’s sitting a few yards away, presumably watching and approving the interaction. I guess, but at least one mom there seems convinced that her child will come running back to her once the stranger approaches. Nope. If anything, this clip is evidence that abductions can occur right under a parent’s nose if they let their attention wander, as their kid lowers his/her guard amid a perception of safety. Besides, who’d want to risk “testing” a kid on this if his mom or dad wasn’t around and hadn’t approved? The child could end up terrified. The guy with the puppy could end up arrested, best intentions notwithstanding.

The statistical argument made at the link above is a stronger attack. Watch to the very end and you’ll hear this guy make the hair-raising point that 700 kids go missing in America every day. Every day. That’s a lot of kids. And strictly speaking, it’s true: In 1999, nearly 800,000 people under age 18 were reported missing, with more than 260,000 the victims of abduction. Read the fine print, though, and you’ll see the vast majority of those abductions were committed by family members, not the sort of Stranger Danger scenario you’re seeing play out here. The number abducted by actual strangers, i.e. non-family members, was in the ballpark of 58,000. And when you read the fine print on that number, the stats get even dicier. Turns out the 58,000 figure is a guesstimate within a very wide range and includes kids who went missing but weren’t kidnapped. The total number of kids who were kidnapped by non-family members was just 115. Most abduction cases are handled by local law enforcement, of course, but the FBI has a special unit that can aid local LEO when needed. Since 2006, when the unit was created, it had been deployed … around 100 times over the course of eight years as of 2014. Long story short, yes, this sort of thing does happen, but no, it’s not remotely likely to happen to you. Feel better? I didn’t think so.