Scaring Our Children Senseless

It is the responsibility of parents and teachers to protect children and educate them on the dangers that exist in the ‘real world’.  However, in attempting to prepare children for incidents and scenarios that are unlikely to happen we have seemingly created a fear and paranoia that has proven quite destructive to the same children we are trying to protect.

A surge in reports of men acting suspiciously near schoolchildren has triggered urgent talks between schools and police, who fear the ‘‘stranger danger’’ message has gone into overdrive.

Police say heightened fears of children being stalked on Gold Coast streets are unfounded, and the increase in reports is the result of people jumping at shadows after a rash of incorrect media stories.

Regional Crime Coordinator Dave Hutchinson says some incidents are made up, and others are cases of children taking fright for no good reason.

I am a bit concerened at how scared and anxious our children are becoming, and teachers are slightly to blame.  Besides stranger danger and other programes that inhabit fear in students, many teachers in Australia have been scaring children with doom and gloom predictions about global warming.  No matter what your position is on this issue, it is important that teachers instruct, educate and empower children, instead of frighten or demoralise them.

There is a huge difference between helping students become perceptive, instinctive and responsible and helping them to  become fearful and paranoid.

At the end of the day, the importance of the message is lost when it inspires an irrational and overpowering fear.

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3 Responses to “Scaring Our Children Senseless”

  1. Carl D'Agostino Says:

    The increase in child predators out there is scary. In the 1950’s they raised is by scaring us all the time about everything and that was not healthy. In Miami were were scared once a month in elementary school. Air raid drill and hide under desks from atom bomb from Russia. We were smart enough to see how foolish adults were in this because well, like it would really make a difference. It was still scary though.

  2. Margaret Reyes Dempsey Says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I think some children are much more susceptible to irrational fears and all the hype just makes it worse for them. In addition, there are some kids who are very literal and don’t see shades of grey. I know a story where the principal of a school had an “If you see something, say something” assembly. Some kids didn’t understand that advice was for serious things, not the typical nonsense that goes on at schools, and they turned into little policemen, seeing “things” to be reported everywhere.

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