Reason enough to be scared.
The message of the movie seems to be that the testimony of children can't be relied upon. The standard retort has always been, "We live in a culture that trusts our children." But in fact the subtext of the story has little to do with children. After all, the hysteria was initiated by parents, mostly mothers. The kids were not much more than unwitting conduits for some adult nastiness.
It's still happening now. As I write this (30 June 2006) everyone watching TV is periodically being exposed to a public service announcement claiming that one out of every five children is sexually approached by internet predators. A web site is provided so that you can report incidents. Spooky, right?
The claim is based on a single study -- the only one I know of that's in any way scientifically respectable -- done by two psychologists at the University of Vermont. It was a phone survey of about 1,000 kids between 10 and 17, I think, asking them about two dozen questions concerning their internet experiences over the past year. There are some methodological flaws not worth going into. (But, eg., asking a teenager to remember all of his or her experiences is asking for more accuracy than you're likely to get.)
Based on the actual findings, that "one in five" claim is technically true, I guess. Most of the sexual approaches, however, were made by adult women towards teenaged boys, probably the kind of popups that sometimes appear in chat rooms. ("Hi, my name is Cindy and I'm XXXHOTXXX.")
Only a small percentage of the teens reported that they were "disturbed" by the advances, and they were almost all girls in the youngest age category.
And we need to remember that under the definitions used by the investigators, if an 18-year-old boy asks a 17-year-old girl for a date on line, that gets counted in the "one in five". (The percentage was actually 19%.)
But in fact only about five percent of the "sexual solicitations" involved a proposal to meet face to face -- and zero percent of them led to a meeting.
The world is a dangerous place allright.
Reality was that these children were being intimidated and coaxed into making false allegations to confirm a case brought on by a schizo alcoholic.
Every decade had their SALEM moment with some moral panic that turn out ot be *beep* 50's it was comic books and rock music. 70's it was Dungeons and Dragons 80's it was satanic abuse. The hysteria that happened was not too far from the Salem Witch Trials. You think in modern times we would be more rational to blame it on Satan.
You seem to be a very smart person and I wish you the best.
That one first line is so intriguing and true that I just had to complement you.
The sad thing is that molestation, rape, sodemizing, incest, etc etc DOES happen all over the United States, but bc of the crap w/the McMartin's its like the boy who called wolf; so now we have children out there who were really molested but in some cases will not be taking seriously all bc of someone's stupidty and psychotic problems innocent children who have been victimized will never be heard or helped.