Sunday will mark 20 years since Elizabeth Smart was abducted

Jun 3, 2022, 6:29 PM | Updated: 7:07 pm
Elizabeth Smart talks at the Elizabeth Smart Foundation office in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 3,...
Elizabeth Smart talks at the Elizabeth Smart Foundation office in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 3, 2022, about her life and partnership with the Malouf Foundation ahead of the 20th anniversary of her kidnapping.

SALT LAKE CITY — Sunday will mark 20 years since Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from the bedroom of her Salt Lake City home. 

A lot has changed in those 20 years, including the introduction of social media into society. Now, Smart, who is a mother of three children, has advice for parents trying to keep their children safe in a different era.

She used to tell parents to keep the family computer in an open area of the house with limited hours. 

“Now I can’t say that,” Smart said. “I’d sound like an idiot if I said that. Because everyone has a computer that’s constantly connected to their hand.”

Elizabeth Smart still raising awareness 20 years later

Instead, Smart suggests parents educate their children about the dangers that are out there. That way, children will know how to react if they are approached by someone with bad intentions. 

“I mean honestly one of the most important things is just not let these conversations die,” she said. 

To help raise the awareness of parents, Smart recommends a parenting app called Raise, from the Malouf Foundation.

“It covers a broad range of issues even of issues that parents face, that children face, today,” Smart said “But it does focus a lot on that social media, online, predatory behavior.”

However, she says it’s not a matter of if your child is approached, but when.

Smart says she is grateful social media didn’t exist when she was a teenager because of all the predators who use those platforms to victimize children.

Additionally, Smart says she is appreciative of all Utahns who searched for her, and prayed for her safe return. 

Mark Jones contributed to this article.

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Sunday will mark 20 years since Elizabeth Smart was abducted