The American psyche is still reeling 33 years after the disappearance of little Etan Patz on his neighborhood corner. Kids have never been more coddled and cooped up. Activities like biking to school, which were once commonplace, now risk getting parents reported to social services, publicly ostracized, thrown in jail and on occasion nearly punched out by well-meaning grannies.
Is Our Fear Founded?
Every successive generation of technology along with the widespread adoption of social media means we are now, more than ever, aware of potential dangers. Couple this with competing media outlets battling it out for viewers, and we have a very distorted view of the threats facing our children today.
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I remember mothers and babies boarding the little buses in Dakar, Senegal that serve as public transportation there. If there wasn’t a seat available, the mother would immediately hand the baby over to the first person (man or woman) with arms outstretched to receive him/her. She wouldn’t even have to ask, it was just understood that it would be handled this way. And the kid was happy as a clam to get handed off. That always made me smile.
Thanks for this post. It offers a lot of good things to think about. I don’t want my children to grow up in a culture of fear.
It’s the same here in China – more physical contact from strangers. Even though it is part of my own culture, I was not used to it after being away for two decades. Now I am beginning to get relaxed about it.