Background Information

Research has shown that child abduction is a problem in our society, the vast majority of young children are susceptible, and that abductions may be prevented by teaching them to resist enticements. One investigator, a university professor named Sally, wants to evaluate the effectiveness of a 20-minute interactive videotape program she designed to protect young children from falling prey to abductors. In particular, her video attempts to teach the children, upon being enticed by a stranger, to say "No, I have to go ask my teacher (mother/father)" and then to quickly run away toward the school (home). Sally chooses a school setting for her study.

The plan is as follows. First-grade students will be randomly assigned to two conditions, determining which one of two videos they will be shown by their homeroom teacher during class time. In the Experimental condition, children will view the interactive video; in the Control condition, children will view a cartoon of equal duration having nothing to do with child abduction.

A few days later, a Generalization Probe will be conducted to test what each child would do in a potential abduction situation. While the children are silently working on their homework, a new student teacher will remove the children from class, individually, under the pretense of participating in sports. The student teacher will pretend to forget something and leave the child alone in the schoolyard. A stranger will approach the child, make small talk, and then attempt to lure the child into his car by promising treats. When the stranger walks away (with or without child), the student teacher will call out the child's name and the stranger will move quickly out of sight. The child will then returned to class. The roles of student teacher and stranger will be played by two graduate students of Sally.

Related Source: Poche, Yoder, & Miltenberger (1988)