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Every Mother's Worst Fear (1998)

TV Movie  |  PG-13  |   |  Thriller  |  19 August 1998 (USA)
5.3
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 306 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 2 critic

Real-life mother and daughter Cheryl and Jordan Ladd star in this cautionary tale of cyberspace, kidnapping and the dangers of chat rooms.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Connie Hoagland
...
Martha Hoagland
Robert Wisden ...
Jeff Hoagland
...
Agent Weatherby
...
Detective Maris
...
Drew Pederson
...
Scanman
...
Sherry
...
Alan
...
Martin Penny 'Skokie'
Andrew McIlroy ...
Carl
P. Lynn Johnson ...
Michelle Hinton
Rob Morton ...
Interviewee
...
Detective Borromeo
Colleen Winton ...
Mrs. Krouse
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Storyline

Faced with her parents' recent divorce, her mother working long hours and her high school boyfriend dumping her, 16-year-old Martha looks for solace in the world of Internet chat rooms. Innocent chatting turns deadly as Martha attracts the attention of a pedophile and cyber-kidnapping ring. Martha's mother Connie suspects foul play and begins a frantic search for her daughter, enlisting the help of the police, the FBI and an expert hacker. Written by PetrinaC <cubit@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Her daughter went online...and vanished without a trace

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Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence and sex-related thematic material | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

19 August 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Piège sur internet  »

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User Reviews

Some sociological notes
19 August 2004 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

One of the reasons that I'm curious about the failure of every mother's worst fear to reach the take-off stage and consume us is that I am a sociologist and, it seems to me, the time has come for another wave of fear to sweep the country. And yet, confoundingly, it hasn't happened. Low-carb diets, yes -- but not internet predators? Why not?

Both the artifacts and the sentiments are there, as this movie shows vividly. Artifacts: a mysterious gray box that Cheryl Ladd's daughter hovers over, about which Ladd knows nothing. Atmosphere: a child of 14, just finishing her growth spurt, subject to whims and a desire for independence that Ladd has never had to cope with. Put the two together and you should have the family equivalent of a UFO flap.

It isn't that attempts haven't been made to kick start the craze. This movie is an example. And lately, the last month or two, public service ads have been appearing on television advising us that one in five children receive unwanted sexual solicitations over the internet. The announcement gives the viewer a website on which to report such solicitations. The website is www.cybertip.com. If you hate your neighbor or your landlored, give cybertip.com a hit. They make it easy to squeal on people you don't like.

It's a real site and a potentially useful one too. The statistics reported, including the "one in five children" who are solicited on the internet, are based on a single but scientifically respectable survey of more than 1,500 kids aged 10 to 17, carried out by three social scientists at the University of New Hampshire.

The problem with science is that it's become such a sacred cow that any pronouncements coming from a source that uses statistics is unassailable. You can pretty much take numbers and make them sing the tune you want them to, and you can do it without lying or falsifying the data. (Believe me, I know.)

Here's an example of what I mean. It's evidently true that about one in five kids received unwanted solicitations on the internet. Actually, 19 percent. Sounds terrible, doesn't it? But it also means that 81 percent of kids regularly using the internet did NOT receive unwanted sexual solicitations.

I won't take the report apart or examine it too closely. It's not a bad study but the terms are a little vague, an unfortunate necessity in telephone surveys. Summing it up, two thirds of the kids solicited were girls, and one third were boys. Likewise, about two thirds of the people DOING the soliciting were males, while one third were females.

If I remember, about 17 percent found the sexual approaches made them uncomfortable -- about three quarters of the "uncomfortable" kids were between 10 and 14. Most of the kids were too wise to be bothered.

You have to keep in mind too that if you're 17, you're a child in this survey, and if you're 18 you're an adult. The vast majority of sexual approaches were between young males (under 25) and more mature teenage girls. In other words an 18-year-old boy asking a 17-year-old girl a clumsily phrased question about herself would be categorized as an "unwanted sexual approach."

I'll quit at this point or I'll wind up reviewing the study without getting paid to do it. You can look it up if you're curious -- as I was -- and if a little statistics aren't bothersome.

As for applying the findings of this survey to the contents of this film, it can't be done. Of the more than 1,500 kids surveyed, few of them were asked for a personal meeting with the other person. And no meetings AT ALL took place in the course of the entire year covered by the study. Let's call it, "Every Mother's Worst Fantasy."


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