Fear Will Keep the Local Parents In Line

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Great one-two blogpunch by Kevin Drum and Matthew Yglesias off this column by L.J. Williamson.

Although statistics show that rates of child abduction and sexual abuse have marched steadily downward since the early 1990s, fear of these crimes is at an all-time high. Even the panic-inducing Megan's Law website says stranger abduction is rare and that 90% of child sexual-abuse cases are committed by someone known to the child. Yet we still suffer a crucial disconnect between perception of crime and its statistical reality. A child is almost as likely to be struck by lightning as kidnapped by a stranger, but it's not fear of lightning strikes that parents cite as the reason for keeping children indoors watching television instead of out on the sidewalk skipping rope.

And when a child is parked on the living room floor, he or she may be safe, but is safety the sole objective of parenting? The ultimate goal is independence, and independence is best fostered by handing it out a little at a time, not by withholding it in a trembling fist that remains clenched until it's time to move into the dorms.

Yglesias adds:

The very most dangerous thing your typical middle-class child is likely to do is to . . . be driven in a car somewhere by his parents. Obviously, fatal car wrecks are reasonably rare—tons of people drive every single day and the overwhelming majority survive. But people are still much more likely to be killed in car wrecks than by criminals.

To be fair, local news doesn't skimp on the scare stories about bad drivers and "something in your car that might kill you!" But Yglesias is saying that regular, non-exploding tires or driver-on-cellphone accidents occur so frequently as to render the "predators gonna gitcha!" scares meaningless. The difference, though, is that journalists and politicians can convince parents that the the predator problem can be solved. Either the parents can clamp down on everything their kids do, or the state can pass awesome new laws banning MySpace in schools, etc.

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  1. “The very most dangerous thing your typical middle-class child is likely to do is to . . . be driven in a car somewhere by his parents.”

    that’s because they’re as clumsy as they are stupid.

  2. Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed. The ability to destroy a car is insignificant next to the power of the Press.

  3. But Sith Liberate – what if it’s driven by Chauffeur Piett?

  4. I would certainly spare Piett for his failings, but the Emperor is not as forgiving as I.

  5. Love the Star Wars reference, Governor Tarkin.

  6. I just posted the link to this same story on another thread.

    What’s the point of moving out to the middle of nowhere so you can live in a safe neighborhood, if you’re going to be terrified of ever-lurking danger anyway?

    Although, to be completely fair, auto fatality rates also include cyclists and pedestrians who get run over. But even taking that into account, the parents are still ridiculous for thinking of child abductions instead of car accidents.

    Also, accident, injury, and fatality rates for pedestrians and cyclists are lowest in the most densely developed areas. Drivers there are are forced to slow down by congestion, and are used to having to think about what else is going on in the road.

  7. joe shall redouble his efforts!

  8. I find joe’s lack of faith in the Suburbs disturbing.

  9. but we shall test it on his home territory of Lowel.

  10. But Yglesias is saying that regular, non-exploding tires or driver-on-cellphone accidents occur so frequently as to render the “predators gonna gitcha!” scares meaningless.

    It doesn’t render those fears meaningless whatsover, though. Ignoring rational fear is a recipe for “something bad” to happen, to use a generic Greek-ism. Frequency of one event does not eliminate or lower the chances of another event occuring, even if it may seem relatively unimportant.

    Likewise, there is a lot at stake concerning child abuse. It’s not only a matter of emotional scarring and damage inflicted on the child. It’s the deeply-ingrained societal attitudes about it that worsen the effects — people (mistakenly) view victims of abuse as damaged goods, social outsiders, etc. It can really affect someone’s ability to socialize normally and lead a normal life. It’s not a here-and-over event like a car accident. At least I wouldn’t categorize it as such. That’s not to say that it isn’t important to inform people of proper traffic safety, car precautions, safe driving, etc. That is just as important, I think. Not getting killed in an accident is obviously a priority. But that shouldn’t diminish other concerns for someone’s well-being.

    Which scenario should provoke more panic: the possibility that your child may become one of the approximately 100 children who are kidnapped by strangers each year, or one of the country’s 58 million overweight adults?

    No, she di’in’t! She did not just write this. Enough with the fat fear epidemic! This is disgusting to me. When did parents abandon their role as protectors and become drill seargents and fat camp counselors? Call me insane, but I think protecting children from would-be wrongdoers is more important than keeping them out of the snack cupboard.

    Of course, I recognize that’s a personal parenting choice. If you as a parent are more concerned with your child’s waistline than their general welfare, well, that’s your prerogative, I guess.

  11. “I find joe’s lack of faith in the Suburbs disturbing.”

    Not “the suburbs,” just certain types of suburbs.

    And I seem to have more faith in them than these parents.

  12. Dr. Mooselove,
    Could a doomsday device protect children from abductors and molesters?

  13. Obi-Wan once thought as you do.

  14. and now, your planningness, we will discuss the hidden location of your suburb

  15. I love the Suburbs!

  16. Isn’t joe a little short for a Stormtrooper?

  17. My guess is that as a parent, the fewer kids you have, the more paranoid you are about their safety, statistically speaking.

  18. I have a theory in two parts:

    (1) Good parents are afraid for their children.
    (2) They are, however, most afraid of the things and places their children are least likely to encounter.

    #1, I believe firmly, is a very good thing.
    #2 is shit.

  19. My guess is that as a parent, the fewer kids you have, the more paranoid you are about their safety, statistically speaking.

    Agreed.

  20. I’m coming for you, and there’s No Place To HIDE!!

  21. I have two kids–twins–but I don’t coddle them. In fact, I tortured my daughter twice, and I chopped off my son’s hand, not long after I killed his “mentor”. They’re both successful already, and I expect one or even both of them to help me overthrow the Emperor and rule beside be as father and son and/or daughter.

  22. If you consider custody disputes in which one parent “kidnaps” the child(ren) as a separate category, you will see a sharp downward revision in the child abduction numbers.

  23. I guess what it comes down to is that parents fear “stranger abduction” is because that’s about the worst possible thing we can imagine happening to our kids.

    Fear is a primal emotion, not a rational one. Nobody reads actuary tables and then determines what they should be scared of.

  24. Pro Vaderate-

    Have you, perchance, any home movies of the, ahem, “spicy” variety? In which the twin children, whose parentage may or may not be fully known to them…..

    I know this guy who runs a bar, and he says such an artifact might be quite valuable, to the right sort of person.

  25. Another good point of the original article is how stupid parents are today.

    “I don’t think I would ever do that,” she replied. “The world is a very different place now than it was when we were growing up.”

    Did she really think the number of child molesters and kidnappers in the world had increased in the last 20 or 30 years, I asked? “Oh, yes, I think it is increasing. Because of the Internet.”

    Maybe she hasn’t thought it through, but this overprotective moron seems to think that before legislatures passed laws that forced sex offenders to register, there were no such thing as sex offenders. As if, before the internet, no one even thought of abducting and/or molesting kids.

    I’m kind of surprised that people this stupid were able to figure out how to breed.

  26. Smacky,

    You are insane.

    “If you as a parent are more concerned with your child’s waistline than their general welfare, well, that’s your prerogative, I guess.”

    How is worrying about a child’s health (aka “waistline”) different than worrying about their general welfare?

  27. How is worrying about a child’s health (aka “waistline”) different than worrying about their general welfare?

    Fat kids are less appealing to child molesters. Except for the chubby chasers.

  28. In retrospect, I wish my kids would have been stolen and as punishment the kidnapper would have been forced to keep them.

  29. How is worrying about a child’s health (aka “waistline”) different than worrying about their general welfare?

    Neu Mejican,

    It isn’t different. But it seemed like a false dichotomy to me in the way she presented it. Just because you don’t want your kids to get fat doesn’t mean that you are supposed to take some retarded columnist’s advice to relax and stop keeping an eye out for your kids’ well-being in other respects. What is it to her if my (future hypothetical) children are coddled? This is just another column written to sew dissent among various parenting techniques, it seems.

  30. Remember the time we passed that law banning MySpace in school?

    That was awesome.

  31. I’ve got a bad feeling about this thread.

  32. Since we’re using statistical models to judge people’s attitudes against, is there some great repository of statistics where I can actually look up my chances of getting married after 40 vs. being hit by lightning vs. becoming president vs. going bankrupt?

  33. Turn the thread around!

  34. that’s no thread…. it’s a /.

  35. Don’t let your paduans out after dark!

  36. Is fear of abduction really at an “all-time high”? Do you have statistics to prove that? Could such a statistic even exist?

    It seems odd to chastise people’s misunderstanding of probability while displaying your own hysterical false beliefs.

  37. “my chances of getting married after 40 vs. being hit by lightning vs. becoming president vs. going bankrupt”

    I’ll take bankrupt by 3-1 over your odds on married over 40/lightning/president as a group. [Is this online gambling? – See Antigua thread above.}

  38. I guess what it comes down to is that parents fear “stranger abduction” is because that’s about the worst possible thing we can imagine happening to our kids. Fear is a primal emotion, not a rational one. Nobody reads actuary tables and then determines what they should be scared of.

    True, and if parents want to keep their children locked in a sensory deprevation chamber in their basement NBC-proof bomb shelter, I don’t really care.

    What I mind if when the irrational fears of paranoid parents are the primary concern in making laws that govern all of us. Right now, the insane, irrational, border-line paranoid schitzophrenic fears of gated community suburban moms is the core of our judicial system.

    It isn’t different. But it seemed like a false dichotomy to me in the way she presented it. Just because you don’t want your kids to get fat doesn’t mean that you are supposed to take some retarded columnist’s advice to relax and stop keeping an eye out for your kids’ well-being in other respects. What is it to her if my (future hypothetical) children are coddled? This is just another column written to sew dissent among various parenting techniques, it seems.

    The idea is that you are too busy protecting your children from the boogey man, to actually raise them properly. If drive your kids to school because you are worried about kidnappers, you are not only putting your child at a far greater risk of death by auto accident during that one trip than their entire lifetime risk of abudction — but you are depriving them of exercise and physical activity which will eventually cause health problems. Not to mention, you are depriving them of becoming self-sufficient and independant.

    I am not saying that we should force you to raise your kids differently. I think you should have 100% control on how to raise your kids. If you think that giving them a diet of exclusivly marshmallows and pepsi is the only way to protect them from alien preditor abduction (the worst possible thing that can happen to a child), I think you have that right. But, don’t expect me to pretend that you are somehow helping your children, when you are not. And don’t try to make a law requiring anyone else to follow your retard child-raising priorities.

  39. Also, it is not fear of abduction which has lead to the demise of children playing outdoors. For some parents, this is obviously a concern and I’m sure it is a small cause.

    The bigger causes are the advent of high quality video games, better TV programming during the day, the Internet, etc. Basically, kids have more entertainment choices during the day, and fewer and fewer are choosing to play outside.

    This is not just my theory; I don’t have link but the US Gov’t and outdoors product retailers both commissioned seperate surveys to find out why kids don’t hike/camp/climb/play outdoors anymore, and they found the leading cause to be video games.

    Basically, playing kickball can’t compete with playing grand theft auto..

  40. I know I’m going to regret this …

  41. For more evidence that it’s not the parents locking kids indoors, it’s the kids choosing to stay indoors…

    A few months ago, we had a windstorm around here that knocked the power out for ten straight days. If parents were really paranoid, they would have never let the kids outside during this time period, because of the danger of falling tree limbs, running chainsaws, and downed powerlines. And yet, every day the power was out, I saw dozens of groups of kids outside, playing.

    When the TV, Internet, and video games were taken away – the kids went outside.

  42. Another point – the kids playing outside phenomenon is sort of a classic “tipping point” issue. Smaller families, more homework, more indoor entertainment options, all lead to fewer kids outside. When their are no friends outside to play with, the kids won’t go outside.

    I have two kids now, and I’ll probably have another two or three. I want my kids to play outside all summer like I did when I was young, but unless the power goes out, there will be no one for them to play with…

  43. Satanic cults will kidnap your precious little angels from daycare and sacrifice them during a hideous ceremony in Al Capone’s vault.

    Marilyn Manson will be playing gangsta rap from a giant boombox on his shoulder. He’ll sport a Raiders jersey and his pants will be super baggy and drooping down his ass plainly showing his boxer shorts.

    Rush Limbaugh will be handing out autographed copies of Cigar Afficionado magazine with him on the cover.

    They will then have an impromptu Rainbow Party and later play the asphyxiation game.

  44. Dan T had the best post on this. It’s just too horrible to contemplate. No, it’s not rational to fear child abduction more than car accidents, but then, having kids to begin is not rational, so what do you expect!

  45. One might say that the parent’s fear of their child being kidnapped is similar to the libertarian fear of “Big Brother”.

  46. I’ve maintained for a while now that becoming a parent makes you stupid. The paranoia comes later.

    It’s a genetic switch in the head. Before my youngest was born, I couldn’t have cared less about kids, except for overcooking them and ruining a good meal. Now, I still don’t trust my 8-year old to cross the street without supervision.

    Why? Well, 1) people drive like fucking idiots on my street, with little regard to the 25 MPH speed limit and school zone. 2) she’s impulsive and easily distracted. 3) If anything happened to her, it would absolutely destroy me.

    It sucks that the media circus for sensationalism has made us this paranoid. My best times as a kid were just going out without parental supervision. I *almost* blew myself up once, but I survived. Sweet! But now, my kids don’t leave my sight.

    :::sigh::: It sucks. I know that the chances are almost unmeasurable that something will happen to one of them, be it criminal or just an accidental, but my mind always goes back to one thing: Somebody makes up the statistics. It ain’t gonna be one of mine if I can help it.

    Oh, and this deal keeps getting worse all the time.

  47. “Oh, and this deal keeps getting worse all the time”

    (nice one!)

    you certainly have your way with people!

  48. Ok, all kidding aside; does any one know where these stats are located?

    For example, I’ve heard that front end crashes are the most common, but that side impacts are the most deadly (far less protection on the side).

    Where does one find such info?

  49. Reason’s Hit & Run blogport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

  50. does anybody know where these stats are located?

    Since you are reluctant to provide us with the location of the Rebel statistics, I have chosen to test this station’s destructive power on your home planet of Alderaan.

  51. Okapi is really winning this thread.

    That’s a very good point – the author blames the hysteria on people hearing anecdotes and overestimating how widespread the problem is, and yet his evidence for this hysteria is anecdotal.

  52. Coatee chak tu yub nub!

  53. https://reason.com/blog/show/119394.html#669309

    hey – High# – there can be only one Grand Moff here.

    woo ti di!

  54. d’oh – lunch, not high.

    mea culpa.

    *commits seppeku with light saber

  55. The Suburbs are great!

    “Viva! Suburbs! Live at First Avenue (Twin/Tone 1994)”

    I was actually there for this recording. It was probably the best concert I’ve been to other than seeing Cracker play for free in downtown SLC.

  56. 1.) If there is actually anyone who isn’t letting their kids play outside because of this sort of fear, they’re probably also semi-retarded hypochondriacs who spend all their time watching stories about the latest white chick-napping on cable news.

    2.) Anyone who believes the urban myth that most suburbanites won’t let their kids out to play because they live in terror of the boogey-man getting their kids is probably equally semi-retarded, and relying on some goofy article from the LA Times to support their personal, stereotypical view of people who don’t live in urban areas.

    “That’s a very good point – the author blames the hysteria on people hearing anecdotes and overestimating how widespread the problem is, and yet his evidence for this hysteria is anecdotal.” – joe

    joe’s irony filter is obviously failing him, considering that on the other thread he’s using the article (he linked it first!), which relies on two unsourced, anonymous anecdotes from the author to both mock AND perpetuate the urban myth that suburbanites won’t let their children play outside for fear of the boogey-man.

  57. Dan, your blog is fucking awful.

  58. “which relies on two unsourced, anonymous anecdotes from the author”

    Um, it relies on the rules adopted by the school district.

    Apparently, this fear is so mythical, and reflects the mindset of that communities’ parents so poorly, that the school board adopted it.

  59. But it’s good to see your concern with me is as unabated as ever.

    Do you have a poster of me above your bed, rob?

  60. I have become more powerful than any H&R Jedi. Even Weigel.

  61. Rob- “perpetuate the urban myth that suburbanites won’t let their children play outside for fear of the boogey-man.”

    joe – “Um, it relies on the rules adopted by the school district.”

    There is no rationale for the rule given in the article. I would bet it resulted from a lawsuit. Some kid got hit by a car riding his bike home from school. The school is liable until the kid gets back home, and got sued. They wrote a new policy to avoid the next lawsuit.

  62. “joe’s irony filter is obviously failing him, considering that on the other thread he’s using the article (he linked it first!), which relies on two unsourced, anonymous anecdotes from the author to both mock AND perpetuate the urban myth that suburbanites won’t let their children play outside for fear of the boogey-man.”

    Based on this response to my taking a second look at the situation and revising my position, is it any wonder that rob continues to support the Iraq War?

    It’s not a sign of intellectual failure to be able to give something a second thought. It is a sign of shallowness and insecurity to treat consideration of other people’s points as a shortcoming.

  63. Kids should all be kept inside at all times, so as not to annoy me. New neighbors’ kid was outside the apartment at 9 PM last night screaming and crying. Hell, I’ll give the kid my XBox so he never leaves the apartment again.

    Anecdotal evidence: Growing up, my sisters and I did not have a game system. My mom hated them and wouldn’t allow them in the house. My cousins had Nintendos. My sisters and I were always outside playing. We had drag my cousins out of the house. They even had cooler outside toys because they lived in the country. So, I will agree that newer technology is partly responsible for kids not being outside.

    Now, where is Solo?

  64. The bigger causes are the advent of high quality video games, better TV programming during the day, the Internet, etc. Basically, kids have more entertainment choices during the day, and fewer and fewer are choosing to play outside.

    That would be true, if kids were allowed to participate in outdoor activities that they did 20+ years ago.

    Kids nowadays aren’t allowed to play baseball in an empty lot. Kids nowadays aren’t allowed to play football or hockey in the street.

    Kids nowadays are not allowed to skateboard or roller-blade/skate in public places. Kids nowadays are not allowed to ice skate on the frozen pond.

    Kids nowadays are not allowed to play wrestle and play fight without someone calling the police. Kids nowadays are not allowed to have toy guns.

    Even the parks that kids can go play in suck… No monkey bars, no swing sets, no teeter totters… Just some VERY VERY safe things to walk around on.

    Are you telling me, that if kids could get together with a bunch of cheap walkey-talkies, and cap guns, and dig fortifications in the old empty lot and play war, they would choose a video game over that? No way!

    Are you telling me that if kids could get together some old wood and build a treehouse, without having to get permission from a city planner, they would rather play videogames inside?

    Kids choose video games because the modern version of “playing outside” involves standing around your back yard, being very very careful. Sure, parents will let their kids go outdoors, and say they are happy to have them play outside, but they most certainly aren’t going to be allowed to get into the mischief that any of us were able to get into as children.

  65. I believe that any visible presence of children may violate our homeowners’ association rules. That’s why I’m teaching our kids How Not to be Seen.

  66. ProL:

    just make sure that they don’t choose obvious cover!

  67. Neu Mejican – Thanks for pointing out that joe is attributing the bicycle policy to the urban myth, while no reason is given in the article. I’d bet it’s a lot more likely that you’re right about lawsuits than that the school board decided its easier for predators to catch kids on foot than on a bicycle!

    joe – How much sloppy thinking are you going to display today? Urban myth stereotypes of terrified suburbanites aren’t enough for you?

    “Based on this response to my taking a second look at the situation and revising my position, is it any wonder that rob continues to support the Iraq War?” – joe

    Huh? Wrong thread, man. You’re obviously REALLY getting confused. it’s OK, tho, it’s happened to me when I get multiple threads going where I’m rhetorically beating you you like a pinata. I can imagine that being on the receiving end is even more disorienting than being the one delivering the rhetorical beating.

    “It’s not a sign of intellectual failure to be able to give something a second thought. It is a sign of shallowness and insecurity to treat consideration of other people’s points as a shortcoming.” – joe

    So, care to revise your position on the likelihood that the no bikes rule came about because of your urban myth hypothesis or the much more likely rationale given by NM?

    “Do you have a poster of me above your bed, rob?” – joe

    Gee, I don’t. But if you’d e-mail me some pictures of yourself, I could use print-outs of photos to make a nice papier mache pinata so that I had a real pinata to go with my “virtual joe pinata!”

  68. Child Number 2, can Not be Seen. Please stand up.

    Oh, dear. Well, that demonstrates the value of not being seen to the other children, I guess.

  69. Here’s his neighbor who told us where he’d be. Nobody likes a nosey dick.

    Now! ATTACK ME WITH A BANANA! Here you are, Pro Apricot. Attack me with the banana!

    (it’s spaceball 1! They’ve gone plaid!)

  70. Sigh. We did bananas last week.

  71. AND mangos in syrup.

  72. Dinsdale!

    Dinsdale?

    DINSDALE!

  73. P-I-T-H-E-R. Spelled as in “brotherhood” but with a “PI” instead of the “BRO” and no “hood”.

  74. “So, care to revise your position on the likelihood that the no bikes rule came about because of your urban myth hypothesis or the much more likely rationale given by NM?”

    OK. It is the public’s rationale for supporting the policy, rather than its genesis, that is demonstrated in the article to be based on irrational parental paranoia, or at least somewhat so. The original motivation for the policy is unlclear. It’s most likely to be based both on traffic conerns and general cable newish paranoia about how dangerous the world is. Fear of lawsuits isn’t exclusively applicable to traffic accidents.

    Schools that have meetings about traffic problems around the school, and where, ‘When we arrive, other kids look at us in amazement and ask questions like “Why do you ride a bike?” and “Don’t you have a car?”‘ are generally schools in communities where it really is unsafe to try to get around on foot or on a bicyle due to the traffic. So it’s certainly plausible that that could explain the source of the policy.

  75. Not much fun in Stalingrad, no.

  76. Never tell me the odds!

  77. “It is the public’s rationale for supporting the policy, rather than its genesis, that is demonstrated in the article to be based on irrational parental paranoia, or at least somewhat so.” – joe

    Where in the article does it say this? Now you’re just pulling crap completely out of your posterior!

    “The original motivation for the policy is unlclear.” – joe

    Ahh… but it’s not “unclear” – it’s completely unmentioned. Why would that be, do you think?

    “It’s most likely to be based both on traffic conerns and general cable newish paranoia about how dangerous the world is.” – joe

    But you can’t even show this in the article as the rationale, can you? Do you think that maybe you’re stretching quite a bit to fit an unsupported urban myth hypothesis into this scenario?

    Here’s EVERYTHING from the article about the bike restriction – it doesn’t even mention your urban myth hypothesis when referring to the bike restriction, so where did that bit come from other than your over-heated imaginings about the terrified thought processes of suburbanites?

    “Our hyper-anxiety about the safety of children is creating a society in which any outdoor activity that doesn’t take place under the supervision of a coach or a “psychomotor activities” mandate from the state is too risky to attempt. An example: My son’s school has a written rule that students in grades K-4 may not ride their bicycles to school. My son and I cheerfully ignore this restriction; I think school rules belong on campus, not off. As we ride together each day, I remember the Huffy Sweet ‘n’ Sassy I rode to school when I was a kid. Hot pink, with a flowered wicker basket, it stood out among the other bikes parked in the crowded racks, its tall orange safety flag flapping in the breeze. Now, my son’s bike stands alone, always the sole occupant of the school’s tucked-in-a-faraway-corner bike rack. When we arrive, other kids look at us in amazement and ask questions like ‘Why do you ride a bike?” and “Don’t you have a car?'”

    Even the following paragraphs don’t talk about the urban myth of terrified suburbanites as the reason for the bike restriction:

    “Although statistics show that rates of child abduction and sexual abuse have marched steadily downward since the early 1990s, fear of these crimes is at an all-time high. Even the panic-inducing Megan’s Law website says stranger abduction is rare and that 90% of child sexual-abuse cases are committed by someone known to the child. Yet we still suffer a crucial disconnect between perception of crime and its statistical reality.”

    It’s clearly onto the next, mostly unrelated, piece in a fairly choppy editorial that my old J-School profs would have hammered – even as an editorial piece – for failure to provide anything to support the claims made.

    “Fear of lawsuits isn’t exclusively applicable to traffic accidents. Schools that have meetings about traffic problems around the school, and where, ‘When we arrive, other kids look at us in amazement and ask questions like “Why do you ride a bike?” and “Don’t you have a car?”‘ are generally schools in communities where it really is unsafe to try to get around on foot or on a bicyle due to the traffic. So it’s certainly plausible that that could explain the source of the policy.” -joe

    Would you say that traffic concerns are MORE, or LESS, plausible than the idea that suburbanites got together to keep their kids from being on bicycles because of their fears of the urban myth of a predator lurking in every neighborhood?

    (Also, not really germaine, but, would you say concerns about traffic are MORE, or LESS, of a rational concern for parents?)

  78. Actually, it’s Friday… I’m outta here.

  79. Rex Rhino:

    You don’t know what you’re talking about. Every playground around here has swingsets and monkey bars. A few still have teeter-tooters and merry-go-rounds. I know because I take my son to the park while my wife trains for her stupid marathons.

    Kids are allowed to play baseball or football or do whatever the hell they want – they just don’t want to… When the power was out, kids were all outside playing football, sledding, tossing snowballs, throwing rocks at the ice on the lake. No one called the cops or attempted to stop them.

    Unfortunately, when the power came back on, the kids went back inside.

  80. I don’t know why I bother.

  81. Some stats on kids and outdoor activities…

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5233a1.htm

    “Although parents generally perceived the same barriers to participation in physical activities regardless of the child’s sex and age, concerns about transportation, opportunities in their area, and expense were reported significantly more often (p

  82. The farce is strong in this one.

  83. Let’s try that again…

    Some stats on kids and outdoor activities…

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5233a1.htm

    “Although parents generally perceived the same barriers to participation in physical activities regardless of the child’s sex and age, concerns about transportation, opportunities in their area, and expense were reported significantly more often (p 0.05) by non-Hispanic black and Hispanic parents than by non-Hispanic white parents (Table 2). Concerns about neighborhood safety were reported more frequently for girls (17.6%) than for boys (14.6%) and were reported more frequently by Hispanic parents (41.2%) than by non-Hispanic white (8.5%) and non-Hispanic black (13.3%) parents. Overall, parents with lower incomes and education levels reported more barriers.”

    Another…

    American Journal of Preventive Medicine
    Volume 25, Issue 4 , November 2003, Pages 273-276

    American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Science Inc.

    Research article

    Commuting to school

    Are children who walk more physically active?

    Ashley R. Cooper PhDCorresponding Author Contact Information, E-mail The Corresponding Author, a, Angie S. Page PhDa, Lucy J. Foster MSca and Dina Qahwaji MSca

    a University of Bristol, Department of Exercise and Health Sciences, Centre for Sport, Exercise and Health, Bristol, United Kingdom

    Available online 17 October 2003.

    Abstract

    Background

    The journey to school is an opportunity for increasing children’s daily physical activity. However, the contribution that active commuting to school makes to overall physical activity is unknown. This study used objective measurement to investigate the physical activity patterns of children by mode of travel to school.

    Methods

    Primary-school children wore an accelerometer programmed to record minute-by-minute physical activity for 7 days and completed a brief questionnaire describing their usual travel to school. The total volume of physical activity and the time spent in activity of at least moderate intensity, as recorded by the accelerometer, was estimated for weekdays and the weekend, and groups of children were compared by mode of transport to school. Data were collected in May/June 2002.

    Results

    Of the 114 children (59 boys, 55 girls; aged 10.4?0.8 years) who took part in the study, those who walked to school (65%) were significantly more active than those who traveled by car (712.0?206.7 vs 629.9?207.2 accelerometer counts per minute, p=0.05). Analysis by gender indicated that the major differences in physical activity between travel groups were seen only in boys. Hourly activity patterns demonstrated that boys who walked to school were more active after school and throughout the evening than were car users.

    Conclusions

    In boys, walking to school was associated with higher physical activity after school and during the evening. Active transport may contribute to a more physically active profile, at least for boys, supporting walk-to-school initiatives to increase children’s physical activity.

  84. And what of the rebellion?

  85. they could find a study, however unlikely, and publish it.

    But I’ve just received word from the Editor. He has permanently dissolved the peer review board. The last remnants of the old House have been swept away…

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