Worried Parents Paranoid about their Children

Parents seem to be overly worried about their children based on unfounded fears. Based on a recent survey, it seems parents are more concerned about very unlikely events which may kill or injure their children and are neglecting or choosing to ignore the biggest actual dangers to their children's lives and safety.

This survey is just another case of people’s concerns for particular threats not matching what attacks are the most likely in reality. Christie Barnes is a mother of four and conducted this survey for her work, “The Paranoid Parents Guide”.

Based on her surveys, parents are worried most about the following. And this is in order:

  • Kidnapping
  • School snipers
  • Terrorists
  • Dangerous strangers
  • Drugs

But Barnes has discovered that the top 5 ways children actually get hurt or killed is by the following:

  • Car accidents
  • Homicide which is usually committed by a person who knows the child
  • Abuse
  • Suicide
  • Drowning

The big concerns and fears are indeed scary events that are often seen and dramatized in the media. The reality of the events which are most likely to harm children are in a way, much darker. Intuitively, these results are not really that surprising. But they are perhaps more generally accepted.

The concerns of parents are likely caused by the media focusing on these more dramatic events. The reality is not so much dramatic, but sad. They do not make as good news stories.

Barnes thinks instead of being concerned about unlikely events, simply making sure your children wear helmets and seatbelts will reduce the chances of children being killed by 90%. Not really dramatic or exciting but that is the reality.

Props to Bruce Schneier for first bringing this to my attention. Interesting stuff.

Image by zoethustra