“It’s 11 O’clock… do you know where your children are?”
For millions of parents in the 1970’s, this was the reminder they received nightly just prior to the late evening news. After the curfews enforced due to the riots of the 60’s, many saw variations of this question for decades to come.
Originating in newspapers as early as the 19th century, its widespread application on television made it a staple of American life. Notoriously, Massachusetts senator William Wall urged the radio and television broadcasters in his state to ask the question on-air, prompting parents to pay attention to the whereabouts of their children.
Though the timestamp of 10pm or 11pm varied from state to state, It was an effective, yet subtle message reminding parents of this grave responsibility. However, after it was parodied by comics and others it was phased out, thereby eliminating a necessary aide in keeping our nation’s children safe.
Milk Carton Kids
In 1984, the National Child Safety Council (NCSC) first initiated a nationally coordinated Missing Children Milk Carton Program. This was implemented by more than 700 dairies in partnership with several top milk carton manufacturers. According to its website, “photographs and biographies of missing children were placed on
millions of milk carton side panels, bringing the faces of abducted children and the reality of this national disaster directly to countless Americans and individuals worldwide.
As with all NCSC Programs, all the layouts and camera-ready artwork are supplied by the Council without charge of any kind to carton manufacturers, thus, allowing photographs and biographies to be placed on hundreds of millions of milk carton side panels.
Hundreds of national, regional, and local businesses, too numerous to mention individually, later joined the program by donating space on packaging or printing informational flyers, posters, and other handouts to help our nation’s missing children efforts.”
On the heels of that success, it soon evolved into grocery bags as well (in addition to Safetypup® Prevention Tips), producing millions of paper bags featuring missing children. These were distributed by the four largest grocery bag manufacturers, including:
∙Duro Paper Bag Manufacturing Company
∙Westvaco – Bag Division
∙Union Camp Corporation
∙Harlem Paper Product Corporation
∙Twin County Corporation (which distributes to Foodtown, D’Agoonstino, & more)
Unfortunately, the momentum of this too, came to a screeching halt.
‘Grunge’ reported that among its detractors was noted and respected pediatrician, Dr. Benjamin Spock that felt the images of missing children daily would psychologically damage kids. “More practical reasons,” Grunge continued, “such as the dairy industry’s transition
from cardboard milk cartons to plastic, also contributed to the campaign’s demise.
Ultimately, the milk carton campaigns stopped being effective because people just stopped paying attention to them, according to The Atlantic. With the images of missing children everywhere, people got used to seeing them and no longer looked closely at the faces.”
One of the reasons as well for its lack of success, was that many of the children featured were not kidnapped by a stranger, but by a non-custodial parent. Although this campaign did not overwhelmingly recover abducted children, it brought much-needed awareness to the issue, including the launch of the “National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.”
Once again, a very necessary plan to give attention to the challenges our children face is gone, with lack of
consideration and concern being an integral reason. Another vital tool against the war on our children was ABC’s family friendly lineup, or, ‘Thank Goodness Its Funny,’ aka, “TGIF.”
For more than 10 years in homes across America, families gathered together from 8pm-10pm to watch shows like “Full House,” “Family Matters,” “Perfect Strangers,” “Boy Meets World.” “Step By Step,” “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper,” and “Sabrina, The Teenage Witch,” to name a few.
Over the course of its run, TGIF had massive appeal and numbers, consecutively beating its only pre-cable competitors, CBS & NBC. TGIF’s success was because it had something for every member of the
family with an added bonus: parents knew where their children were; enjoying time with the family.
So, what happened?
The causes for the demise of TGIF were several, but the straw breaking this particular camel’s back was clear- the rise of the multiple TV household. Grunge.com reports it this way: “If TGIF brought in big ratings, wouldn’t more TV sets mean more viewers? Not really, because by the late ’90s, televisions had grown so inexpensive (or the economy was so good, Americans could blow their disposable income on extra TVs), the majority of households had at least two sets by then.
This meant that the whole family didn’t have to watch one show all at the same time anymore. Parents could watch one thing on the TV in their bedroom, while the kids could watch something else on the living room TV. Mom and Dad could finally watch something with sexual situations on HBO in peace, without the kids barging in.
Meanwhile, the kids could watch TGIF on their own TV … but without parents lurking, they certainly didn’t have to.”
Winners and Losers
Yet again, the selfishness of people was waged against two solid hours of family-oriented television- and the children lost. The repercussions of devaluing the safety and security of America’s youth is more apparent than ever. Due to the lack of family-enhancing staples, such as reminders to know where your children are, posting
missing/abducted kids on milk cartons, and keeping your youngest family members close, our country is rife with perilous choices for our next generation.
Our toddlers are being exposed to “Drag Queen Story Time” and “Gender/Queer”(he/him, she/her) terminology, and literature bordering on pornographic is distributed as optimum reading choices at our middle schools. While there were certainly poor choices made by parents since the beginning of time, what we have allowed and contributed to now is considerably much more dire.
Make no mistake, our children are still counting on us. Not simply to provide proper nutriments and protection for them physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. In our efforts to appease and cater to their feelings, we have forgotten that these are children, that know no more about the meanings of “gender” and “binary” than how to drive a car.
However, those pushing such agendas have a plan that does not include your child’s best interests- but theirs. In a world where 13-year-old girls are having healthy breasts removed along with their uteruses, and boys at the precipice of puberty are being given puberty blockers while being lied to that the effects are reversible, this is only the beginning. What awaits the generations of America’s children to come is far more sinister. Suddenly, I’m reminded of the sign I see in front of the schools, as I am warned to slow my speed- “Watch Out For Children.”
This is far from over.