John Stossel

During a focus group McGinn assembled for "20/20," parents said things like, "I won't let [my son] go to the restroom by himself" and "I do not let [my kids] go out by themselves in the yard, not even the front yard."

All this worry can't be good for our kids. One child told me, "Anyone could just grab me at any time. A lot more kids are getting kidnapped."

But more kids are not getting kidnapped.

Ernie Allen concedes the point. "The numbers of non-family abductions have been remarkably constant over the years."

But if that's true, isn't his organization needlessly scaring parents and children to death?

"We're trying very hard not to scare people."

But a child is much more likely to be hurt running into the street than kidnapped by a stranger.

"We don't want you to feel like you have to lock your child into a room and never let them out of your sight, " Allen says.

But his message certainly encourages people to do that.

That's a shame. Kids would benefit from being allowed to play in the yard or walk to school by themselves. They should be more vigilant about reckless drivers than potential kidnappers. They would learn to worry about the real risks.

Next week: what we should and shouldn't worry about.


John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate