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Where Are All the Children?

            Step outside your front door, look around, and ask yourself whats missing. It didnt immediately dawn on me, but a few weeks after moving to the suburbs of Staten Island, I noticed that the neighborhood was devoid of children playing outside. When I was a kid, I fondly remember riding my bike on the block, roller skating with a friend, walking to school, or just running around and getting dirty. Today, if I were to let my kid play outside on the block, I wouldnt be able to avoid the disapproving jaundiced eyed look from the neighbors. Take Lenore Skenazy, who in 2008 let her 9 year old son ride the NYC subway alone. After writing a column about it, a media storm ensued and she was labeled Americas Worst Mom. The controversy prompted her to start a blog about the insanity of helicopter parenting. She argues that there is no rational reason that parents who grew up free-range, having been allowed to walk to school, take mass-transit, play in the yard and get dirty, should be preventing their kids from doing the same.
             Parental neurosis is on the rise and spreading like a fungus. Fear of kidnapping, germs, broken bones and an endless slew of potential perils that can befall a kid, has parents believing that the world is no longer a safe place for children. Due to messages received from the media, child experts, product marketing and even other parents opinion, parents have lost the ability to reasonably assess risk in regards to their children's safety. One of the most overblown fears is the thought of ones child being kidnapped by a stranger. With a constant bombardment from the media anytime a child is kidnapped or killed, it is no wonder why parents are afraid to let their kids of sight. The truth is, kids are safer than we think. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, An estimated 115 children were the victims of stereotypical kidnapping. FBI statistics show fewer missing persons of all ages down 31 percent between 1997 and 2011, and almost all other crimes against children have been dropping too.

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