Do You Know Where Your Children Are

  • First recorded by Michael Jackson during the Bad sessions and further developed during the early Dangerous sessions, the song tells the tale of a runaway girl fleeing sexual abuse by her stepfather. The title derives from a popular public service announcement that ran on American television from the 1960s through the 1980s.
  • Michael Jackson is the sole credited songwriter. He explained the background to the song in a note discovered by the late singer's estate:

    "(It) is about kids being raised in a broken family where the father comes home drunk and the mother is out prostituting and the kids run away from home and they become victims of rape, prostitution and the hunter becomes the hunted. So they are out on the street. Do you know where your children are? It's twelve o'clock. They are somewhere out on the street. Just imagine how scared they are. It's about the runaway problem we have in America."
  • The song was leaked in 2012 before being reworked by Timbaland and Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon for Jackson's 2014 posthumous album Xscape. The two producers added hypnotic synths to accentuate the song's driving riff.
  • Michael Jackson was both a victim of abuse, and accused of it. If the song was a response to the allegations, it wouldn't be Jackson's first. For instance, "Stranger In Moscow" was written by the singer at the height of media coverage surrounding the claims in 1993 and "Scream" was inspired in part by the frustrations he felt dealing with the fallout from his trial.

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