A typical abductor in these cases is male, certainly younger than society
stereotype: 80% of them tend to be less than 35 years old. The motivation
is sexual, and one of the things that I think is particularly concerning
to us is that in many of these cases, societys stereotype of the
stranger doesnt apply because many of these offenders seek legitimate
access to children and literally try to entice or seduce the child to
come with them voluntarily. Even in Samanthas case the abductor
tried to use the lure of the lost puppy to get the child to
go with him willingly.
All right, and joining us now is Jan Wagner. Shes author of the
book, Raising Safe Kids in an Unsafe World. Good morning,
Good morning, Diane.
Tell me how you got involved in the issue of child safety.
I became involved 15 years ago when my son was separated from us. He was
only 2 at the time, and it was several hours before we were brought back
together. I realized, he has no way to get back to me; he was too
young to think of me as anything but Mommy, and it opened a terrifying
door for me. I began looking for ways to teach my children, which extended
to teaching other children.
So, you developed, what, a line of product?
What I found was that education was the best method of bringing safety.
Children today all experience a sense of angst or fear because they all
know about these horrific cases of missing children. But I found there
was a way to reach children, and Ive developed a program called
Yello Dyno. Its used extensively throughout the school systems and
by parents. Weve reached over two million children.
Tell us about that program. What does it do?
Well, the Yello Dyno method teaches children in a non-fearful, musically
driven, memory enhanced method. We teach three core fundamentals. We teach,
like Ernie was saying, the stranger image is not whats important.
We teach children about tricky people, because they understand tricks.
And we teach them that its not if a person is a stranger, what they
look like or how well you know them; what matters is what they ask you
to do. If it makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, then you take three
steps back, run the like the wind, and go tell an adult you trust.
Youve got a song called Tricky People lets
hear a little of that right now.
Click trumpet to hear live sample!
Now that song, Tricky People, if a child hears that and takes
those three steps back, in the case of some children thats not going
to go far enough, is it?
Well, with little children its the idea that you implant in the
child and action. Most children are like a blank slate, and what they
need are patterns of action that will help them be safe. Weve had
children as young as four who have stepped out of similar situations as
Samantha, and they were fortunate because they knew to get out of there
take three steps back, run like the wind. And we use music because
knowledge which you normally teach English, math, dont cross
the street is stored in the part of the brain which actually takes
second fiddle to the part of the brain which activates in fight
or flight response. So music, rhyme and role-playing are stored
in the brain, which activates when a child is in a stressful or fearful
situation, and these hook lines in the music come right back
to the children and they act on them.
You know, its interesting that you say that because when I was way,
way back in elementary school, there were regular visits on the part of
the police department to each elementary school in the District of Columbia,
and they taught us one song that I still remember about remembering your
name and address, your telephone number, too, and where to go if something
went wrong. So, I do agree with you that those memories do stick. Have
you heard from families whove used these products?
Oh yes, many, many, many times, and we have stories from families of four-year-olds
that stepped out of situations; twelve-year-olds, and even mothers who
have used the three step back and run like the wind from having
Jan Wagner she is author of Raising Safe Kids in an Unsafe
World. Thank you so much for joining us.
Thank you, Diane.