A whopping 68 percent of Americans think there should be a law that prohibits kids 9 and under from playing at the park unsupervised, despite the fact that most of them no doubt grew up doing just that.Meanwhile, teenagers commonly trade naked pictures of themselves, without knowing that anything is wrong with it. Here are some Virginia panicked parents:
What's more: 43 percent feel the same way about 12-year-olds. They would like to criminalize all pre-teenagers playing outside on their own (and, I guess, arrest their no-good parents).
Those are the results of a Reason/Rupe poll confirming that we have not only lost all confidence in our kids and our communities—we have lost all touch with reality.
"I doubt there has ever been a human culture, anywhere, anytime, that underestimates children's abilities more than we North Americans do today," says Boston College psychology professor emeritus Peter Gray, author of Free to Learn, a book that advocates for more unsupervised play, not less.
DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. — A Dinwiddie mother got a nasty shock when she went through her daughter’s cell phone and tablet. The pictures she discovered were so disturbing that she turned the girl in to sheriff’s deputies.We have draconian laws that require possessors of child porn to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives, and we have millions of teenagers who see nothing wrong with sexting.
The parents discovered their 13-year-old daughter, who is about to enter the eighth-grade, had been sending and receiving naked pictures of other teens using her tablet.
And the deeper they dug, the worse it got. In fact, things got so bad they called in the sheriff’s department to investigate.
“What scares me is, this is much bigger than we realize. How many others are doing this and you don’t realize it,” asked the Dinwiddie County mother of two.
CBS 6 News is not revealing her name to protect her family’s identity.
I cannot agree with what these parents did. The child porn laws are so strict that there is no safe way to report it. The parents themselves could be charged with possessing child porn. I would just delete the pictures, lecture the girl, and monitor the situation. The idea that she is safer while at the mercy of a prosecutor is crazy. But read the comments, and you will find most of them agree with the parents.
Paranoia has been extended to high school students:
When a South Carolina student was given an assignment by his teacher to create a Facebook-type status report telling something interesting about himself, he allegedly wrote “I killed my neighbor’s pet dinosaur. I bought the gun to take care of the business.”It should have been obvious that he wrote about a dinosaur in order to make the story clearly fictional.
School officials were alarmed by 16-year-old Alex Stone’s words and called police. Now Stone and his mother Karen Gray are speaking out to media as they feel the school overreacted.
“I could understand if they made him rewrite it because he did have ‘gun’ in it,” Gray told the NY Daily News. “I mean first of all we don’t have dinosaurs anymore. Second of all, he’s not even old enough to buy a gun.”
The cops took Stone in for questioning and searched his locker and backpack for guns. None were found.
Police told My Fox Chicago that Stone was difficult during questioning and they arrested him and charged him with disturbing the school. Stone was also suspended from Summerville High School for a week.
An Arizona TV station reports:
Many Americans believe kids as old as 12 need adult supervision if they're going to play in public places, indoors or outside, according to a new poll that found a high number of people would support laws making it illegal to allow a 9-year-old to play unsupervised at the park.The public is seriously deluded about kids and risk.
The polls come as news outlets like U.S. News and World Reports are noting an uptick in parents arrested for letting their children do things without supervision.
Writes Tierney Sneed, "Mothers arrested in Florida and South Carolina in recent weeks are the latest in an ongoing trend of parents seeing legal punishment for letting their children play or travel in public unsupervised. The former was charged with child neglect by local authorities for letting her 7-year-old son walk to a park half a mile from their home by himself (the mother later told WPTV that a Florida Department of Children and Families official informed her the charges would likely be dropped). In South Carolina, the woman — a single mom who let her 9-year-old daughter play in a nearby park unattended while she worked her shift at McDonald's — served 17 days in jail and, if convicted of felony child neglect, could face 10 years in prison."
The recent Reasons-Rupe survey, conducted by phone in August, asked 1,000 adults about child safety issues. The pollsters found 82 percent of Americans would support a law to require supervision of kids 9 and under playing in public parks. And 63 percent said that 12 years old is too young to play without supervision.
Asked whether kids face more or fewer threats to their physical safety than when respondents were growing up, 62 percent of those polled said that the world is more dangerous today, while 30 percent said the threat level is about the same.
In reality, studies show that crime has been going down consistently for more than 20 years. In 2012, the Christian Science Monitor noted that "the last time the crime rate for serious crime — murder, rape, robbery, assault — fell to these levels, gasoline cost 29 cents a gallon and the average income for a working American was $5,807."