Lenore Skenazy, who wrote Free-Range Kids, just put out her 2010 “Golden Helicopter Parenting Awards” list. Skenazy, if you’re not familiar with her work, Skenazy advocates for parents to stop being so scared all the time and let kids play the way they’ve always done. In 2008, for example, she was criticized for allowing her 9-year-old son to ride the subway in New York City alone. This year she organized a Take Our Children to the Park… And Leave Them There Day,” where children were encouraged to go play. Crazy.
I enjoy reading her ideas. Some of them I agree with; others I do not. But earlier this year, when my 11-year-old’s music teacher refused to allow her to walk the 50 feet from her lesson to the coffee shop where I was waiting for fear that “something would happen to her,” I couldn’t help but understand where she’s coming from. Sometimes as adults we let our fears about children overcome common sense.
Now Skenazy’s put out a list of the most insane parenting freak outs of the year. You can read the entire list here, but these are my favorites:
But It’s Still Less Creepy than “J. Edgar Barbie”: With Christmas gearing up, the FBI warned that “Video Barbie” could be used by child pornographers — even though, so far, it has never, ever seen this happen. This didn’t stop the news media from showing how Barbie could easily be used to videotape from the corner of a girl’s bedroom or even under her skirt.
(The Daily Show also covered this story: The More Pedophiles Know.)
Next Week The Today Show Explains Why You Should Never Cross in Front of a Black Cat: The Today Show warned viewers that no one under 13 should trick or treat without an adult, because, “people put on masks and…do bad things.” Meanwhile, an actual study of sex crime statistics found, “zero evidence to support the idea that Halloween is a dangerous date for children in terms of child molestation.” Somehow, that didn’t get mentioned on the show.
(A child is much more likely to be abused by a trusted friend or family member than a stranger in a mask. I’m not sure if that should really make you feel better though.)
And the Buns Give You Cancer: Dr. Gary Smith of the American Academy of Pediatrics urged that hotdogs be “re-designed” because, of the 20,000,000,000 hotdogs eaten annually, about 10 kids choke on them. That’s one death per 200 million franks. Smoothies! Get yer hotdog smoothies!