Thursday, November 01, 2007

Bloggers in the News

Are we pampering our children by providing super safe playgrounds and schools games that deny them the skills they need to become effective adults? Nanny State author and blogger David Harsanyi says "yes" in an interview with Brian Williams on the NBC Nightly News. Take a look.


Blogger Zerosumgame said...

I saw the report, and of course, being the far-left network that NBC has become, they pretty much dismissed his assertions.

But Dr. Helen, I think that people are becoming more protective of children for a reason that goes beyond the Nanny state -- we have fewer children.

A lot of couples (including Glenn and yourself) have only one child. I'm no psychologist, but am I wrong in thinking that in an era when many families have one child or two at most, they are going to be more protective of them than in the past when 3 or 4 kids were not uncommon?

7:39 AM, November 02, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...


No, I think you are right. I came from a family of five kids, all born one after the other. My parents didn't have time to watch every little thing we did! I do think that fewer kids plays into a psychological fear that makes today's parents more overprotective plus they have fewer kids to manage meaning each kid gets more attention and instruction. That said, I do think that the state regulates both kids and adults too much--look how many rules and regulations for "safety" reasons are in play for adults such as eliminating transfat, no smoking, etc. seatbelts, for adults. I think in general, our country is heading towards a Nanny state (if we are not there already) that restricts freedoms by making it a crime to take any risks in life of one's own free will.

8:40 AM, November 02, 2007  
Blogger David Foster said...

Things like this remind me of some lines from Walter Miller's great novel A Canticle for Leibowitz:

"To minimize suffering and to maximize security were natural and proper ends of society and Caesar. But then they became the only ends, somehow, and the only basis of law -- a perversion. Inevitably, then, in seeking only them, we found only their opposites: maximum suffering and minimum security."

9:34 AM, November 02, 2007  
Blogger Cham said...

This might seem like it has nothing to do with your post, but I think it does. I know a young person in her late 20s who I most certainly do not consider a friend, who grew up in one of these over-protective families where things were pretty much handed to her. Last weekend while she was in the protective confines of her SUV this lady was the only witness to a man being brutally beaten by 4 other men in an alley. Because the situation made her uncomfortable, and even though she had a fully charged working cell phone with her, she didn't call 911, she did not honk her horn, she did nothing to stop the attack or assist the man with his injuries. Instead she kept driving and later complained to her friends that there was too much violence in the world.

Overprotected children turn into adults that like to live in a overprotected bubble. Risk, assertiveness and leadership are not their thing.

9:49 AM, November 02, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...


I think kids who grow up not taking responsibility grow up to be adults who think that that mom, dad, the state or whoever will take care of everything. Unfortunately, that is where our country is headed. The government has more and more of a hand in regulating our behavior, our lives and now, sometimes our thoughts. Be prepared to see more people like your (un) friend, as we become more regulated. People who stand back like sheep, doing nothing well bitching loudly that the world is going to hell.

10:02 AM, November 02, 2007  
Blogger David Foster said...


I think this kind of behavior relates to the obsession with certification, education, and training. People are increasingly propagandized that no one can do a job unless they have specific training for it--so, leave the response to a trained law enforcement professional. This attitude was very much in display during the debate about whether airline pilots should be armed...I analyze the psychology here.

11:23 AM, November 02, 2007  
Blogger DADvocate said...

I see less of the over protectiveness in rural KY/OH than in many large cities. The biggest thing is the everyone gets a trophy stuff which even the kids know is baloney. I like seatbelts and bicycle helmets but I also like my kids skateboarding and other "crazy" stuff.

Cham's story reminded me of the Kitty Genovese murder in 1964. Thirty-eight witnesses and none called the police or intervened. I've intervened a couple of times. It's very scary but the perpetrator always ran as soon as they realized I was going to take action.

1:42 PM, November 02, 2007  
Blogger Mary Martha said...

I attend a church where there are lots of large families (six or more kids). It is striking to see how independent those children are at a fairly young age compared to the smaller families of my friends.

Not only are the independent - but they are also quite outgoing and willing to help others (even those outside their family). I think it's because they live in a household where it is expected that they be helpful, so they are helpful out of habit.

In particular - I would say that the girls are quite a bit more 'daring'. Likely because they have the space and freedom to be daring without parents watching their every move.

3:34 PM, November 02, 2007  
Blogger Sid said...

I am a certified playground safety inspector. It is an industry standard for our field and I offer to do free inspections of local playground equipment.

I have a slideshow of absolute horrors I have found on playgrounds. When I call attention to the issues, I get apathy or head-nodding. I rarely get shock. A general response would be "so, I guess we should get that jagged, rusted metal off the playground?" Then, the matter gets referred to a committee, board of directors, of administrator to be forgotten unitl the next child is injured.

The number of reported playground injuries has not gone down as playground equipment has improved and been made much safer. The general consensus is that as playground equipment has been made safer, adults supervise children less and allow younger children to use equipment designed for older children.

And no, I am not talking about bunmps, bruises, of bobos. I am talking about death, head injuries, and permanent disability.

4:05 PM, November 03, 2007  
Blogger Lou Minatti said...

Scouting, Helen. I have mentioned this to Glenn a few times but he won't discuss it. All of these "Dangerous" books. Just have your kids join the Scouts. Scouting is the "Dangerous" books in real life. Knives, fishing, astronomy, etc. Scout membership is down and meanwhile the wimp factor is up.

Scouting takes TIME on the part of parents. That is why membership is down big, I think.

11:25 PM, November 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on, scouting isn't like that anymore. Between the hysteria re: pedophiles and child assaults, and a growing number of women who feel that male bonding with knives, hunting, fishing, etc. are supporting aggression, men aren't involved in scouts like they were. What remains is an already watered down scouting curriculum. Nowadays, the handbook talks about diversity. It talks about feelings. It talks a lot less about firearms.

1:29 AM, November 04, 2007  
Blogger tomcal said...


I like your article. Frankly the primary reason pilots should be trained is to overcome any instinctive hesitation they might have before acting, and to increase the chances of their own survival in a gunfight.

You have probably read it, but others should take a look at "On Killing" by Dave Grossman.

11:51 AM, November 04, 2007  
Blogger tomcal said...

Our son's high school just spent a huge amount of money replacing its grass football field with a synthetic one, which is supposed to be designed to reduce, if not eliminate, the danger of broken bones during games.

I am proud to say that our son "broke the field in" by breaking his arm on it during a pick-up game at lunchtime within a week after it opened.

No, we didn't sue.

11:59 AM, November 04, 2007  
Blogger tomcal said...


Just how does one become a "Certified Playground Safety Inspector"?

When I was in school, our "Safety Inspector" was Miss Summers, who would tell you to stop if she thought you were doing something too dangerous.

This is a little extreme, but at an elementary school I visited in Nicaragua last month, there is an abandoned well, 5 feet wide, 160 feet deep, and at grade (no wall around it, you could just walk right in) right in the middle of the playground. Although I am not a Certified Playground Safety Inspector, I was able to identify this as a hazard to the kids, and offered to pay to cover it up.

My offer was declined for the following reason: In that area there are many abandoned wells just like the one in the schoolyard. If the kids don't learn at an early age to be hyper-vigilant about their presence, they will fall into them and die.

12:17 PM, November 04, 2007  
Blogger tomcal said...

By the way, if anyone feels compelled to do something about this particular hazard, it is located at N11°57'34.62" W85°57'32.32".

Make sure to have one of the kids walk with you as you approach it or you might fall in.

12:35 PM, November 04, 2007  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

I contrast the current overcoddling of children with Brigadier general Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay, who died this past week.

At age 12, he would help advertise his dad's business (candy shop)by flying a biplane over beaches dropping candy samples to the crowd below.

Imagine that. Flying a plane at age twelve for a business. Now, our 12 year old sons are Beavis and Butthead types, because of child labor laws and liability law.

We have let our young men down by aquiescing to the safety dweebs and zero risk for kids mentality.

1:32 PM, November 04, 2007  
Blogger tomcal said...

Sgt Ted:

Yes, in our current environment, BG Tibbets would have violated so many FAA regulations by the time he was 12 that he would probably have been permanaently ineligible for military service.

In addition, he would have been removed from his parents custody and sent off to Child Protective Services for so many reasons they would be impossible to count.

2:06 PM, November 04, 2007  
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