TikTok Hand Signal Prevents Kidnaping

Ella Cascone, Managing Editor

Though many people use TikTok for entertainment and laughs, it can be quite educational, especially when it comes to quick tips and tricks. Earlier this month, a Kentucky teenager used a kidnapping hand signal she learned from a viral video on the app. A driver passing by noticed the girl and called 911 after recognizing the signal themselves. The man had driven the girl across ten different states and, because of this caller, he was arrested. The man and the girl are not related but are said to be acquaintances. 

The signal was originally created by the Canadian Women’s Foundation during the lockdown in April 2020 in response to the rise in domestic violence cases. The signal is now being spread online. Vice president of philanthropy for the Canadian Women’s Foundation, Suzanne Duncan, told today.com, “What’s most important is people know that they’re heard, they’re seen, they’re believed, and that somebody is supporting them” (Lowe 2021). Even if calling 911 is not a practical reaction to seeing this signal, it should urge you to take action in some way. If someone gives you a signal online or virtually, try to reach out to them personally before getting the authorities involved. This may escalate a situation and put the victim in even greater danger. In the case of this Kentucky teenager, calling 911 was the most efficient way to resolve the situation and retrieve the girl from danger, however, each situation needs to be handled differently. 

Angeline Hartmann, a spokeswoman for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children told the NY Times, “We always say it only takes one person to bring a missing child home, this was that one person and you never know when you’re going to be that one person.” (Victor, Medina 2021). Approximately 840,000 children are reported missing each year, 85 and 90 percent being children. Stories like this should urge you to always pay attention and keep these helpful tricks at the back of your mind because you never know if you’ll be the next one making a call like this.