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Mr. Dad: Let kids be kids

Dear Mr. Dad: I’ve read stories about people having ID numbers etched into their children’s teeth and not letting their kids play outside, and those Amber Alerts make it seem as though hundreds of children are being abducted and murdered every day. Like most parents, I want to protect my kids. I don’t mean to sound heartless, but I think we’ve gone overboard. Am I wrong?

A: Nope, I think you’re absolutely right. The reality is that, factoring out the threat of nuclear war, the world is not any more dangerous for children today than it was a few generations ago. But thanks in large part to the media, which repeats stories over and over and over, too many parents are in a panic. And our children are paying the price.

When I was as young as 8, growing up in Oakland, Calif., I took city buses all over town to visit friends, grandparents, even go bowling. And all the other kids I knew were doing the same thing. But I’m pretty sure that if I put my 10-year-old on a bus by herself today, I’d get arrested.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t take reasonable precautions to keep our kids safe. Of course we should. But we can’t protect them from every possible danger. More here.

Do you think the world is a more dangerous place than it was when you were a kid?




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Cindy Hval
Cindy Hval is a freelance columnist for the Voices neighborhood sections. Her Front Porch column appears twice a month in the Thursday Voice.