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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Why Do We Judge Parents For Putting Kids At Perceived But Unreal Risk?

    Came across this article discussing a recent interesting study on a topic relevant here.


    Even though violent crimes have decreased since the 1970's, our society is much stricter, and judgmental, about leaving children unsupervised and allowing them to play independently. The public today tends to judge parents harshly, so a study was conducted to see if the basis for this judgment is moral, not risk based.

    To get at this question experimentally, Thomas and her collaborators created a series of vignettes in which a parent left a child unattended for some period of time, and participants indicated the risk of harm to the child during that period. For example, in one vignette, a 10-month-old was left alone for 15 minutes, asleep in the car in a cool, underground parking garage. In another vignette, an 8-year-old was left for an hour at a Starbucks, one block away from her parent's location.
    The researchers then manipulated the circumstances under which the children in the vignettes were left alone. Those included the parent being injured in a tragic accident, something work related, to do some volunteering, relaxing, or to meet a lover.

    The surprising result was that people's perception of the danger to the child varied according to the circumstances under which the child was left unattended. People felt the child was at greater risk of harm if the child was left unattended to meet a lover than if they were unattended unintentionally.

    Additional analyses suggested that it was indeed participants' judgment of the parent's immorality that drove up their assessments of risk. The authors sum up their findings like this: "People don't only think that leaving children alone is dangerous and therefore immoral. They also think it is immoral and therefore dangerous."
    All statements are my opinion only.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    in TX from ARKANSAS
    IMO kids just cant play unsupervised all the time with some adult noticing ....I just have never wanted to chance the fact that that adult is not a total perv, I just don't think its worth the risk ....sad because I did a lot of exploring as a child , but it was not safe then either. I just don't know
    Suzanne Marie Sevakis Welcome home.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    I think one reason we are all more unsafe now than when I was a child is the prevalence of hard porn
    and violent movies and video games. Of course abuse and violence happened back in my day too, but our cops and robbers
    and cowboys and Indians games with those play pop guns, and Playboy, were nothing compared to what
    is out there nowadays. It will only get worse as we now have a whole generation raised seeing this extremely violent stuff.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    I've started a reply three times now. Needless to say this has give me a lot to think about. Thanks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    I think one thing that has changed the way we look at safety concerns for children is we are more aware of what can happen. Back when I was growing up we didn't have cable. We had a few local channels that covered the new in a half hour. That and we had our local thin newspaper.
    News was also reported differently IMO. It seems to me they didn't talk about child molestations and such. So many things were taboo to talk about on the news.
    Now we have social media, news online, 24 hour news stations, and local news is two hours long (often repeating itself).
    Even as a young adult I wasn't as aware. I didn't know that a child can be killed by a recliner, TVs tumbling off unsafe stands and killing a child. So many examples.
    I was raised with being able to roam all day as long as I was home for supper. The same parents that raised me, would be upset if I had allowed my children the same freedoms. They are not as naive as they once were.
    As far as the survey I would do not think leaving a small child in a car is ever safe. Circumstances of why the child was left might make me more forgiving, but I still think it is unsafe.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Up North
    Why? Because practicing stringent "risk averse parenting" is now a cultural imperative in the United States. We have, in 25 years, re-defined what is appropriate parental supervision. It's a form of demonstrating wealth and social status, IMO. It began as "competitive parenting" by highly educated "stay at home moms", IMO, that has spilled over into irrational over protection, fueled by a nonstop 24/7 media presence that sensationalizes crimes, and the blogosphere of parenting "advice".

    People increasingly believe that practicing stringent "risk averse parenting" demonstrates their higher social class, enlightenment, advanced education, and socioeconomic status. IMO. As in, "rich, educated, enlightened parents" pay close attention to supervising every aspect of their child's life, and "poor, uneducated, unenlightened parents" don't. Wealthier parents can "afford" to more closely supervise every aspect of their offspring's lives, or hire a surrogate to do the same.

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