Stranger Danger: How did local kids react when approached by a stranger looking to lure them away?

NewsChannel 9 conducted an eye-opening experiment

LIVERPOOL, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - It’s a conversation every parent should have with their children: what to do if they're approached by a stranger.

NewsChannel 9’s Sean Martinelli teamed up with State Police and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children for a shocking and eye-opening experiment.

Three Central New York families enjoying a day at the park agreed to let NewsChannel 9 put their children to the test.

Two of our employees went undercover, asking the children for their help in finding a lost puppy to see how easy it would be to lure them away.

When approached by our male undercover employee, two sisters sensed something wasn’t right and went to find their mother, who was sitting at a picnic table under the guise of being interviewed by Sean Martinelli. The girls yelled “stranger danger!” and did not go with our employee.

New York State Trooper Natalie Buchino and Wendy Fical of the Center for Missing and Exploited Children say these girls did everything right. 

Other children who unknowingly took part in the experiment didn’t necessarily react the way their parents would have hoped they would.

Two children, the youngest in the experiment, were able to get hundreds of yards from the playground before NewsChannel 9 and their mother stopped them. 

Often times, the younger children are, the easier it is for this happen.

“The predators know the things to tug at a child. The wanting to help. Especially with the puppies— they want to help. They know the rules they know what they're doing, but yet they want to help,” Fical said.

Fical said that this experiment should be a reminder to parents to talk to their children about “stranger danger.”

Parents who are looking for a guide as to how to talk to their kids about this issue can click here. 

Click the player to see how each child reacted, and what their parents learned from the experiment.


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