Ask the experts: How do parents reinforce stranger danger to the -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Ask the experts: How do parents reinforce stranger danger to their kids?

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - For every parent out there, safety and happiness are the two words that best describe what we all want for your kids. A new social experiment, sweeping the internet, may have you holding your kids a little closer.

A young man, who goes by the name of Joey Salads on YouTube, put together a video to prove to all of us why it's important to keep an extra close eye on our kids, even when you think your child would never leave your side. The video has more than 7 million views, in just a little over a week.

The video starts with Joey asking a parent one simple question.

“How many times a day do you tell your kid not to talk to strangers?” he said.

The parent replies, every day. So when Joey asks to approach the kid with a puppy, to see if the child would talk to him, each parent says they think the child would ignore him, or walk away.

Sure enough, each time Joey approaches a kid, despite the fact that he is a stranger, they were excited to see the puppy and walked off with him.

Just like the disbelief these parents experience, watching their kids trust a strange man, the principal and several teachers at Palmetto Academy in Myrtle Beach are equally shocked.

“It scared me,” said Principal Courtney Fancher. “I have small children, we deal with small children every day, and when I watched it I could just picture our students, and my kids in that situation and quite frankly how easy it would be for somebody to do that.”

The video ends with the creator saying, “Over 700 children are abducted a day, that's over a quarter million a year. Are your kids safe?”

How do you assure your kids are safe?

Fancher believes it's something that needs to be enforced by parents at home.

“For my own kids, I address it by letting my children see a video like that and prompting some real conversation about you know, the man doesn't look scary, the puppy looks cute, you don't look like you're in danger, but what could happen if this wasn't an experiment and he truly walked off with kids,” she said.

Fancher wants parents to explain to children that strangers may not always look scary; they could look like someone you know.

She believes there also needs to be a plan in place for what a child should do if they end up in danger.

“Whatever you can do to draw attention, people may think they're having a temper tantrum initially, but if it continues, people will look,” Fancher said.

She said we need to to educate our kids. Teach them their address, phone number, and how to call 911. Also, empower them. For example, teach your kid to trust their instinct, that feeling in their tummy which can give an idea between right from wrong.

North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach Police say reports of abductions are pretty rare in our area; however, it's common in the summer for parents to call saying they can't find their kids. The most likely place for kids to run off in our area is the beach.

The first thing you should do when you reach your destination, especially if it's crowded, is to find a safe location or a meeting spot if anyone gets lost. Luckily, beach police say when they do get lost, lifeguards and beach patrol usually find them relatively quickly.

Police say it is common for kids to be located by strangers, which is why should teach them to approach an officer first.

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