September 29, 2009

"Creepy Ad Watch"?

That's what Andrew Sullivan calls this. I disagree.



I think it's totally clear and effective. It's not too scary. It's engaging and memorable. Don't knock the PSA. I mean, go ahead and laugh if you're beyond the age when you need this kind of help, but the only thing that makes this creepy is that you know there really are people who would trick kids this way.

ADDED: Here's a different approach:

80 comments:

Skyler said...

People are parnoid and make simple friendly behavior seem creepy. Yes, there are creeps out there, but I like to think that there are a whole lot more people just intending to be friendly.

Kev said...

(the other kev)

It's a fine line between teaching kids to be cautious and fear-mongering. This ad is not all that bad in that context.

As for Sully, anything involving parenting or children really seems to set him off, doesn't it?

yukio ngaby said...

So the pizza delivery guy counts as "authority"? Hmmm...

alan markus said...

What the heck year is this from? I was going to guess mid-80's (I didn't pay much attention to the cars), but I see a VHS version of Stranger Smarts came out in 1995.

I'm no kid, but I wouldn't mind helping that young lady with any battery needs that she might have.

jayne_cobb said...

Yes, listen to Officer Ackbar

Florida said...

"... the only thing that makes this creepy is that you know there really are people who would trick kids this way."

Starting, I suspect, with Andrew Sullivan, who is clearly projecting again.

DADvocate said...

Maybe Sullivan doesn't like kids being taught about his techniques. Some of the people in the ad were creepy, but not the ad. Kids need to know that stuff. On one of the TV news shows, in a test, I saw kids easily lured out of a store to help a guy look for his dog.

LL said...

Andrew Sullivan doesn't like it because it doesn't validate his Trig Palin maternity theory.

elHombre said...

Adults have no business approaching an unaccompanied child unless the child obviously needs assistance. This isn't the 50s. Them days is gone!

Lefies like Sullivan have always had difficulty understanding evil, particularly sexual evil.

That is why irresponsible judges continue to put dangerous sex offenders on probation despite high recidivism rates.

Skyler said...

Adults have no business approaching an unaccompanied child unless the child obviously needs assistance.

What an idiotic thought.

J said...

The Gameboy battery girl is holding would put production sometime after July of 1989. The cars suggest early 90s.

It is pretty creepy, which is intentional most likely.

"What an idiotic thought"

Don't come crying to us when you get arrested.

Shanna said...

Adults have no business approaching an unaccompanied child unless the child obviously needs assistance.

Depending on the age of the child, the simple fact of their being “unaccompanied” warrants a little attention. When I see a little kid running around seemingly unaccompanied, I always look around to see who they belong to, and whether that person is close by or has somehow lost them. Little kids slip away very easily, if you’re not paying close enough attention.

Dogwood said...

I don't see anything wrong with it.

My girls (5 & 8) have checked out the Safe Side Superchick videos numerous times from the library. Same lessons, different approach.

Lem said...

They forgot one.

If you see an adult smoking little cigarettes in a park stay away from them..

ironrailsironweights said...

Apparently, the ad's producers saved on money by hiring people who had flunked out of acting school.

Peter

Penny said...

Watch out for authority figures, and helping! And jobs! No need to be polite. RUN!

prairie wind said...

I laughed out loud! It's not creepy, it is funny. "Stay away from cars and vans" ...but pickup trucks are always safe. And eleven most common kidnap traps? Eleven...really? Not ten or twelve? "Most common" according to what study?

When my kids came home from school full of woo-woo talk about stranger danger, I told them that the school counselor was full of baloney. However, I have talked to them about all eleven of these ploys, though, and maybe even a few more. I (certainly not the school counselor) tell them about Friend Danger--the friend who want them to take a swig or to light up or to hide this for a day or two.

Andrew D. said...

Hey 13-year old girl, want to do some modeling? I have champagne and drugs and a hot tub. And I won't let you go home, even if you say no, stop it! And I have so many friends and admirers that there is nothing you can do to stop me. I'll never be held accountable. I'm an artist!!

ironrailsironweights said...

Considering a child's chances of being abducted or molested by a stranger are in struck-by-lightning territory, educational videos like this do little except create fear.

Peter

paul a'barge said...

Yeah, that young lady with the battery needs is hooootttt!

Patm said...

Honestly, I find the fact that Sullivan finds this "Creepy" to be creepy. I wonder why it bites him. Really.

Angst said...

Where are the ads targeted for the inner city kids like Derrion Albert?

These are the kids who are really suffering.

L. E. Lee said...

Way to go Ann in goading your Althouse Hillbillies into accusing Sullivan of being a pedophile. That is not the least bit homophobic. ("And you the mother of a gay son!") Real class Ann. You must be so proud of yourself.

P.S. why are you so obsessed with Andrew Sullivan? The bigger fish does not pay you enough attention? Do you need to constantly remind him that you exist?

SteveR said...

Yeah beware of uncles, grandfathers, cousins and neighbors! That group probably comprises more danger than the "eleven".

Besides no kid's gonna fall for a dude with a skullet.

k said...

Creepy, yes. Creepiest? Use of Souvenir Bold Italic in the titles.

wv - apher. mimicking an aphid?

hillbilly said...

At least they didn't use comic sans.

BJM said...

A few months ago as I was having a coffee at the mall, I observed a toddler slip out the side door of a nearby McDonald's as his harried mother supervised a birthday party. Twenty years ago I would have simply fetched him back to his mother.

However I thought about how it might look had the mother realized the child was missing and I had him by the hand. I alerted the Starbucks manager who was nearby and he went after the child with another employee.

No one should approach a child alone nowadays, unless it's clearly a matter of life or death, it's sad but true.

Sully chooses the oddest topics on which to opine, his blog has devolved into a cultural train wreck.

rhhardin said...

Imus, recounting a field trip on the I-jet, dozing off, hearing Rob Bartlett's son say, ``Dad, Bernie [McGuirk, the producer] touched me inappropriately.''

Or, Bartlett contemplating the authorities interviewing the horse recently raped, holding up a horse doll and asking the horsie where the man touched him.

The lit crit question is what truth is being used in the jokes.

I think the media are the butt of the humor.

Chip Ahoy said...

Hey! I just got a $2,000,000 check from a relative in Zimbabwe that I didn't even know I had. But I don't have a bank account for them to transfer the money to and it has to be done NOW !!!111ℨ⎳ℨ>EIV⏉⅄111!!!

Can you help me out?

Fred4Pres said...

Was that Andrew Sullivan in the vinette who offered $10 to the kid to put her groceries in the car? Not that Andrew Sullivan is a peodophile, he is definitely not (how many kids sport beards). I suspect he has a secret passion of dressing up like a middle aged frumpy woman and going out in public.

Yeah that video was a little creepy, I think that was the intention. I understand that 99.9% of interaction with kids by adults is generally innocent, but I would rather my kids be paranoid about strangers.

yukio ngaby, I thought the same thing, but in the world of kids the pizza delivery guy is an authority figure.

And Skyler, stay away from kids.

PoNyman said...

Our secret code word growing up was 'Christmas Tree'.

SteveR said...

Chip its the East Bank of Mississippi, Account # OU812

Slow Joe said...

L E Lee, that Althouse comments on something extreme Sullivan has said is not homophobic, and really, the thread until you entered it was pretty nice to Andrew, relatively speaking. Of course people wonder about what makes him tick... he's hostile towards good things and it's weird.

but what I loved about your comment was
"P.S. why are you so obsessed with Andrew Sullivan? The bigger fish does not pay you enough attention? Do you need to constantly remind him that you exist?"

Coming from some idiot commenter who spends hours and hours out of every single day of his life to attempt to harass Althouse, who seems to basically ignore you, this is ... ironic.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Congratulations, Althouse. It only took six comments for someone to make an Andrew Sullivan/pedophile remark. Job well done.

L. E. Lee said...

Slow Joe,

I will admit it. I do get my "jollies" coming here every couple of weeks and making fun of Ann for being such a dingbat. I know this is a sick thing on my part but she makes it so easy.

Shanna said...

No one should approach a child alone nowadays, unless it's clearly a matter of life or death, it's sad but true.

Or, you could approach them and damn the consequences (of course, there shouldn't be consequences for trying to help someone else, some people are completely absurd). There may be some idiots out there, but there are others who would appreciate it.

Pogo said...

Sad, not creepy.


Lessons from The Gift of Fear would be more useful first, along with Tae Kwon Do and the like.

But kids seem to have more to fear from their classmates than from strangers, at least in Chicago.

Triangle Man said...

"Safety is more important than good manners".

I wonder what else is more important than good manners for a kid? Emotional stability?

Skyler said...

But kids seem to have more to fear from their classmates than from strangers, at least in Chicago.

This is so true.

There's more reason to be concerned about the uncivilized peers than there is about adults. The percentage of adults that are pedophiles is amazingly small. I'm more worried about gangs, bad influence from children who don't have proper supervision, or drugs, than I am of the rare bad adult. Sure they're out there, but I'm not about to accuse someone of being a pedophile just for saying hello like some of you scaredy cats seem so willing to do.

Joseph said...

Ok yes, but that doesn't make it not creepy.

OldGrouchy Doug Wright said...

Perhaps stranger kidnapping is not commmon, yet recall the names
"Jaycee Dugard" and "Jacob Wetterling," both of whom were kidnapped. The impact terrible on the parents of those two and only Jaycee has been found, she's probably messed up life.

So, any effort like this ad or similar such warnings are very acceptable to me.

If anyone has a better way to warn young kids or to prevent such kidnappings, go for it.

wv: guantrar it'll make you feel better.

Penny said...

Back in the day, uncivilized peers were more along the lines of Eddie Haskel in Leave It To Beaver. And he was ever so polite to Mr. and Mrs. Cleaver.

We've come a long way....

Pogo said...

I have to warn my son to beware of the Somali kids hiding out in the bushes along the bike trail by our house, who jump out and push you down and steal your bike and beat the living shit out of you.

He has little to fear from pedophiles, since he weighs 188 lbs and is 5'10".

But he needs to watch his periphery like a hawk every day.

Shanna said...

Just watched the video. I will say that "trust your own feelings" and it's more important to be safe than polite...both of these are good advice.

BJM said...

@Shanna, I agree in sentiment, but in reality there are risks one should take and those one shouldn't.

You never know whom is watching on a remote camera nowadays, as more of public and commercial space is under surveillance; that can be to your advantage or not.

What if the surveillance cameras at the mall observed me approach the boy and he cried out or resisted when I tried to take his hand? What conclusion would have been reached by security?

That I was his mother? Perhaps, but what if he had been reported as missing while I was fetching him? I am not willing to take that chance with my reputation when there was another solution.

AJ Lynch said...

Pogo:

Sounds like a boot camp for Pirates.

Slow Joe said...

Skyler, as best as I can tell, YOU'RE the paranoid jerk making accusations against people in this thread.

None of us think strangers talking to kids are likely to be pedos. We just recognize that it's a real problem out there that affects many kids, and the stakes are high enough that it's understandable to tell kids to avoid strangers.

you're the one with the paranoia problem. People who are careful are not consumed with hatred or fear. Don't put words in their mouths.

Oh, and we are learning that far more kids are screwed with than we once thought. It's a dramatically underreported crime. Kids should be wary of gangs and drugs too, but pedophiles are much, much more common than you realize.

Check out a sex offender registry that lists offenses, and you will find that in many cities, every neighborhood has someone who screwed a kid.

Slow Joe said...

"Slow Joe,

I will admit it. I do get my "jollies" coming here every couple of weeks and making fun of Ann for being such a dingbat. I know this is a sick thing on my part but she makes it so easy."

I spend maybe ten minutes every two or three days reading blog comments. Every single time I see you making the exact same extremely hostile and deranged comment. I can picture you physically shaking as you type it. You have a serious problem, and you are probably on here every minute that you are awake.

I agree that Althouse makes it easy to poke fun at her... I myself disagree with her all the time. So what? you aren't poking fun at her or bothering her with your rage... you aren't even making coherent arguments.

Skyler said...

Slow Joe proves his name,

you're the one with the paranoia problem. People who are careful are not consumed with hatred or fear. Don't put words in their mouths.

It's a bit funny that you accuse me of putting words in someone's mouth (whose?) whlle you wrongly accuse me of saying that someone is consumed with hatred.

Paranoia? Yep. Hatred? Nope.

Pogo said...

One bonus of living in Rochester MN is that this is the town where pedophiles and rapists from all over Minnesota go to get released from prison!

Post-incarceration pedophile and sex offender monitoring is a growth industry, it seems.

Every once in awhile, you gotta throw 'em back in the hoosegow for "violating their parole" or "re-offending" (i.e. raping another kid or some lady, whatever).

I suppose the dough's good, though, ya think?

L. E. Lee said...

Slow Joe, get a grip. I am having a laugh.

elHombre said...

Skyler wrote: Yes, there are creeps out there, but I like to think that there are a whole lot more people just intending to be friendly.

And then: There's more reason to be concerned about the uncivilized peers than there is about adults. The percentage of adults that are pedophiles is amazingly small.

You are evidently not a parent or even a well informed adult.

The video is not about relative risk, nor is it limited to threats from people who are merely pedophiles.

In fact, risk presented by peers is irrelevant to any discussion of the video.

The point of the video is reducing the risk of a child becoming one of the thousands who disappear each year in addition to those who are merely molested by strangers.

You know, like real life, not some airy-fairy neverland where most strangers are akin to Santa or the Easter Bunny.

BTW, Skyler, to those of us who find pedophilia to be thoroughly repulsive, "the percentage of adults that [sic.] are pedophiles" seems amazingly large.

Deb said...

When I was growing up, my parents told me not to talk to strangers. It worked so well that I refused to get in the car with my best friend and her grandfather because he was, technically, a stranger to me. However, when, on the pretense of getting an ice cream, a female cousin took me with her to meet up with two even creepier men, and one of those creeps tried to persuade me to get into the back seat with him, I glued my little 12 year old butt to the front seat, wouldn't move except to shake my head NO vigorously. Then I told an adult what happened. You do need to talk to kids but it was really my gut feelings that kept me from trusting the sleaze bag that day. This was somewhere around 1962, and my family never thought, until then, to distrust a family member.

Pogo said...

" it was really my gut feelings that kept me from trusting the sleaze bag that day"

The Gift of Fear.
Good on you, trusting that feeling.

My wife's creep detector is extremely sensitive. She's pointed out people on numerous occasions who would turn out in 2 or 3 years to have been 'up to no good'. I use to dismiss her, but now I know better.

My creep detector's just no good at all.

I want a refund.

BJM said...

@Oldgrouchy, agreed, unfortunately there are two other Bay area girls who went missing in same time frame as Jaycee Dugard, Michaela Joy Garecht and Ilene Misheloff. Stranger abductions may be rare but they can occur serially.

Within a five year time period four girls were abducted in the SF Bay Area. Polly Klaas was found murdered and the criminal quickly caught, but the other three, including Jaycee have remained a mystery for almost 20 years.

Needless to say, local schools and parents have a heightened awareness about stranger abduction.

Deb said...

My creep detector's just no good at all.
Pogo, I wonder if it's a female thing. Not to start anything. Just seems like females are a little more attuned to the creep vibe. Maybe.

Slow Joe said...

Lee, I realize you will go on forever. You are not having a laugh, though. You are messed up and shouldn't lie to yourself.

Skyler, I am glad that you have decided to back off your ugly accusations, and I don't really care if you don't want to accept responsibility for what you said in the thread. Who cares? You can worry about defending yourself if you want, but yeah, you put words in other people's mouths and accused them in a hateful way. Go ahead and deny reality, but you should delete your ugly comments while you're at it.

Methadras said...

I think this is creepy for Little Miss Sullivan because it probably happened to him. Now look at him.

Skyler said...

BTW, Skyler, to those of us who find pedophilia to be thoroughly repulsive, "the percentage of adults that [sic.] are pedophiles" seems amazingly large.

Of course the apparent implication is that just because I think that the population is overreacting to the threat that this means that I don't find such people repulsive.

I think parenting should be done by parents. Of course children shouldn't be too trusting. I'm just saying that PSA's exist to make money for a specific niche and to make people paranoid. And the people have responded by being paranoid and acting as though any friendly behavior is a sign of being a pedophile.

And Slow Joe, you're really not very quick, are you? I think you have me confused with someone else because you don't even make sense.

Methadras said...

If gameboy-battery girl came up to me and asked me to go get batteries with her, I'd be like, "Let's go."

Christopher said...

Skyler,

Which examples from the video represent "simple friendly behavior"?

Pogo said...

Deb, no, you're absolutely right.

elHombre said...

Skyler wrote: Of course the apparent implication is that...I don't find such people repulsive.

No, it is a fair inference from your posts that you don't take the threat posed by pedophiles seriously enough.

Skyler wrote: ...I'm just saying that PSA's exist to make money for a specific niche and to make people paranoid. And [people are] acting as though any friendly behavior is a sign of being a pedophile.

Absurd! Most PSAs and the time in which they are run are donated. There is no money to be made by the police or others here and awareness of actual risk is not paranoia.

People are merely acknowledging that "friendly behavior" often masks evil intentions.

Your position is ridiculous and your arguments are fatuous.

WV "thnop" = The sound made as a progressive tries to extract his foot from his mouth.

Skyler said...

No, it is a fair inference from your posts that you don't take the threat posed by pedophiles seriously enough.

I take them seriously, but clearly not as seriously as many of you do. My policy is that if anyone attempts to diddle my daughter, they will be ventilated. If more people had that philosophy, there'd be a lot more dead pedophiles and a lot fewer on websites as sex offenders.

I can't imagine "progressive" was meant to apply to me.

Lexington Green said...

Sullivan does not have any children.

This is simple and clear.

It's a good ad.

Christopher said...

Skyler wrote:

"I think parenting should be done by parents. Of course children shouldn't be too trusting. I'm just saying that PSA's exist to make money for a specific niche and to make people paranoid. And the people have responded by being paranoid and acting as though any friendly behavior is a sign of being a pedophile."

OK. Let me pretend for a moment that you're right, that this PSA exists so that some unnamed nefarious people want to make lots and money and make us paranoid.

Which behaviors in the video represent "friendly behavior"?

Skyler said...

Okay, I am going by memory as I'm not able to listen to the video.

Several of the people being portrayed as bad people are simply saying hello, what's your name, aren't you a cutie, etc.

Clearly, some are creepy people, but just saying hello and saying you're a cutie does not make you a predator or a pedophile.

BJM said...

@Skyler 6:55

How does a 5 yr old determine which friendly strangers are safe?

That's the point of the PSA; they can't.

miller said...

It's terrible we live in a society where this happens - the kidnapping and abuse by strangers of innocent kids - but it does, so be forewarned.

I have been lost many times as a child & was always rescued by the kindess of strangers. I am sorry that that era has gone, but it has.

elHombre said...

My policy is that if anyone attempts to diddle my daughter, they will be ventilated.

Oh. You plan always to be there to protect her? Or did you mean after the fact, or the diddle, as it were? Unbelievable!

You should have checked out of this argument long ago, Skyler. You're just sounding silly by now.

Christopher said...

Skyler,

Eight of the eleven scenarios in the video I saw involved adult strangers attempting to lure children away from the activities they were engaged in with the obvious intent of physically isolating them. (This includes the "cute kid" scenario that you referenced.)

Two of the remaining three scenarios involve behavior that's pretty clearly inappropriate. (In one, an adult stranger pretending to deliver a pizza urgently attempts to talk a child into opening the front door. In the other, an adult attempts to silence a child by threatening to kill his dog.)

Not one of them portrays an adult being portrayed as bad just for saying hello.

In the remaining scenario, an adult male approaches a little girl alone on a swing and says, "Y'know, you look like you could use a friend!" The narrator's advice in this specific scenario is, "Say NO to what you think is wrong!"

I guess that's a borderline scenario, but at the same time, I'm not sure that adult strangers should be hanging around playgrounds attempting to befriend lonely little kids. I'll give the people who made the video a pass on that one.

Did we watch different videos?

Skyler said...

So, let's go with the last example you mention.

Say you see a little girl crying on a swing set, you're there with your family and friends and she's all alone. If she's hurt or lost, you're telling me that you should ignore the child, let her sit there crying, hungry, maybe in pain? What an abominable animal you must be, to have so little heart.

And here they're teaching children, if they're lost and hurt, hungry and crying, don't look for help, don't let anyone help them. What heartlessness.

Freeman Hunt said...

My parents taught me this stuff, and I was a very street smart but not fearful child and teenager. I think this ad is great.

Sullivan is wrong.

Shanna said...

I love the new video.

A white cargo van that needs paint means danger. Hee!

nomilk said...

So Queen Mary Jane Milky Loads has his panties in a bunch again? So what else is new?

Christopher said...

Skyler,

Your response is a little over the top, isn't it?

The scenario doesn't depict a child who is scared, crying, hurt, hungry, or lost. The scenario depicts a little girl on a swing who is approached by an adult who attempts to befriend her. That's all.

You made the rest of that shit up.

The advice to children faced with such a scenario isn't "if [you]'re lost and hurt, hungry and crying, don't look for help, don't let anyone help [you]." You made that shit up, too. The horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible advice that the cruel and heartless narrator offers is, "Say NO to what you think is wrong!"

Then you went and jumped to conclusions about me based on shit that you made up! So, based on shit you made up, you assume that I wouldn't help a child in need and that makes me an "abominable animal".

Well, fuck you, too.

And you're obviously a child-molesting pedophile who's afraid that videos like this'll cramp your style by wising the little tykes up to your favorite pick up lines! (Isn't jumping to conclusions fun?)

I don't really mean that. (Except the "fuck you" part, I did mean that.) But you have yet to convince me that teaching kids to be wary when adults approach them and try to chat them up.

Thanks for playing, though.

Skyler said...

You're such a pleasant man, Chris. Perhaps that's why mommies don't want you near their children. I guess since you're so scary you want kids to be afraid of everyone else, too.

I never intended to convince you of anything. I'm just stating my opinion. You don't have to like it.

I didn't make anything up. I just extended the reasoning of the video to its logical result. When a child is lost and scared, that's when they're going to go into paranoid mode from watching silly videos like this and they're more likely to run away from well-meaning people.

George said...

d

Christopher said...

Skyler,

Awwwww. Mr. Abominable Animal can dish it out but he can't take it.

Anyway, if someone told you when you were a kid that taking something to its logical conclusion involves making shit up and asserting, without any evidence, that someone will respond in an extremely unrealistic fashion? Well, they taught you poorly.

Skyler said...

That is the strangest logic ever.

Teaching children to be afraid of adults is going too far. Sorry, but that's how I feel. And even if it's not too far, it's not the government's business, it's parents' business.