Saturday, April 12, 2008

Free Range Kids vs Cotton Wool Kids.

Have been thinking recently about Molly growing up in this big, wonderful world and how wonderful it is.
Also been thinking about the recent Cutting Edge on Cotton Wool Kids shown on Channel 4 last week. And then found a link (via Boing Boing) to a new weblog called Free Range Kids which is all about battling the idea that every child needs round the clock protection and is constantly at risk from the evils of the world.

From the blog:
Do you ever...
..let your kid ride a bike to the library? Walk alone to school? Take a bus, solo? Or are you thinking about it? If so, you are raising a Free Range Kid! At Free Range, we believe in safe kids. We believe in helmets, car seats and safety belts. We do NOT believe that every time school age children go outside, they need a security detail. Most of us grew up Free Range and lived to tell the tale. Our kids deserve no less. This site dedicated to sane parenting.

Of course, Molly's coming 9 this year. Which means we're getting to that stage when she starts wanting to do stuff for herself. And although I don't think we're quite at the stage of letting her venture alone into a major city with just bus fare, I certainly wouldn't want to be on the other side of the debate where moms and dads are terrified to let the children out of their sight. Terrified to the extent that they brainwash their children into saying things like this:
"I like going shopping with my mum. Gotta stay close to her though. Because you never know who's out there."
Very shocking and desperately sad. We're careful to warn Molly about some things that she may encounter but this level of scare mongering just damages your child.

And the worst thing about it all: it's really not necessary. Do you really believe more children are abducted, abused or killed now than 20 years ago?
Or maybe it's just become another media crusade driven to new heights of sensationalism by competition to get the scariest message across.

To emotionally abuse a child to the point of psychologically scarring them merely to make them terrified of an event that's far, far less likely to happen than dying in a car crash. That's
just stupid.

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