Thursday, 20 March 2014

The Overprotected Kid

quote [ A preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery?without making it safer. A new kind of playground points to a better solution. ]

It is always perplexing to me how this has happened. When I was about ten years old, I'd be walking to the stables, saddling my horse and then riding out of the city into the uninhabited wilderness, all on my own. My mare was prone to try and run up onto the highway alongside which I had to ride before I got out of the city. I don't suppose ten year olds today would be allowed the same kind of freedom, and that is a sad thing.

[SFW] [+5 Interesting]
[by Skuld@8:04pmGMT]


Dumbledorito said @ 8:06pm GMT on 20th Mar [Score:1 Insightful]
You had a horse that you rode out of a city? You lived in a city where the area surrounding it was uninhabited wilderness?

What part of Middle Earth did you grow up in?
Skuld said @ 8:11pm GMT on 20th Mar
The horse was small and shaggy, and I rode out into the lava fields...
cb361 said @ 8:20pm GMT on 20th Mar
Minas Morgul then.
Skuld said @ 8:38pm GMT on 20th Mar
My friend's mount went 'gollum' half the time. It was a bit disconcerting, I must say.
Bruceski said @ 8:49pm GMT on 20th Mar [Score:1 Insightful]
It's an interesting bit of human psychology, take a look at your info on the post:

"I did this thing that was fine but a little risky in hindsight, I don't suppose kids today would be allowed to do it."

You just equated a fact with a hypothetical, in such a way that you probably didn't even realize you were doing it. And in so doing your freedom in the past becomes "evidence" of control in the present. Now let's look at the article.

[specific example of a free-form playground] "If a 10-year-old lit a fire at an American playground, someone would call the police and the kid would be taken for counseling."

The article later goes on to talk about harder facts, but that kind of disparity always seems to leap out at me, and I felt I had to mention it.
Bruceski said @ 8:54pm GMT on 20th Mar [Score:1 Good]
As a counterpoint, when I grew up in the 80s we played with tires behind the synagogue, and the park by my house had gnarled sap-and-pointy-bit-filled juniper trees that we'd declare forts and hide in. Last I heard a few years ago the tires were still played with and the trees were still used as forts by most of the kids in the neighborhood.
Skuld said @ 8:53pm GMT on 20th Mar
Well, I don't have kids, so I don't really know what kids today are allowed to do and what not. I only have facts from my own childhood, and not facts from currently ongoing childhoods. Thus I am aware of this disparity, but unable to do anything about it at present.
Skuld said @ 9:03pm GMT on 20th Mar
Also, upon re-reading your comment, no I don't think it is risky at all, not then and not in hindsight. I think it is perfectly normal, and the fact that people are prone to classifying it as risky is weird and kind of creepy.
Bruceski said @ 9:18pm GMT on 20th Mar
I assumed classifying it as risky was why you included the "my mare was prone to running onto the highway."
Skuld said @ 9:38pm GMT on 20th Mar
Yeah, I can see it makes sense to read it like that. In my head I was just thinking back, remembering riding her. She was a very good horse for a kid, extremely patient, her only bad habits were this slow veering towards the highway, and a faster and more insistent heading for any running water. She would always try and wade into the deepest water when I was crossing streams, and once she managed to swim with me towards a small waterfall. That was cold, meltwater in the spring.
Dumbledorito said @ 9:57pm GMT on 20th Mar [Score:3 Funny]
Maybe your childhood seems riskier because your parents only let you ride "Belle Mare, The Horse That Wanted To Die."
Skuld said @ 10:03pm GMT on 20th Mar
More like the mare who was so fat she'd float and not have to work as hard.
Dumbledorito said @ 10:56pm GMT on 20th Mar
It's the horse that's also a pool toy!

Also, why doesn't D&D take having a fat horse into account when crossing a river? If they were more buoyant, it might be worth the extra hay costs.
Skuld said @ 11:01pm GMT on 20th Mar
Does it consider PC/NPC fat for the same purposes?
Dumbledorito said @ 5:04am GMT on 21st Mar
Mostly it's the DM saying, "Do they have armor on? They do? Yeah, drowned."

If they're a wizard, the robes get heavy when wet or snag on a rock or something. DMs are dicks.
Skuld said @ 6:36am GMT on 21st Mar
Sounds like you have suboptimal friends. Unless of course you are playing with people you don't consider friends. I've personally never fancied D&D so much. Call of Cthulhu is much more my style.
Dumbledorito said @ 7:59am GMT on 21st Mar
It's just how our sessions work out. If characters dying all the time is upsetting, I think you're playing CoC incorrectly.
ithaqua10 said @ 12:10pm GMT on 21st Mar
CoC characters rarely die, they just suffer from debilitating insanity.
Skuld said @ 7:03pm GMT on 21st Mar
Depends on how wise the players are. But in general the characters should definitely not be functional for long.
arrowhen said @ 8:52pm GMT on 21st Mar
I think that depends on the group. I've never played it myself, but I had some friends in a group whose characters either all went insane and killed each other or just got their faces eaten off by blasphemous horrors seemingly every other week.
Skuld said @ 7:07pm GMT on 21st Mar
Oh, absolutely, which is one of the factors I like it. The focus is more on interaction, and how the character deals with whatever is going on. Not how the stats and the players' munchkin-fu deal with whatever is happening.
papango said @ 6:55am GMT on 21st Mar [Score:1 Good]
A school here (NZ) recently got rid of all their playground rules and it's really worked out well for the kids, from what I've read. They have a pit full of junk, too.

I think one of the key issues that make playgrounds like that and the one in the article in Wales is that parents here can't sue if their kids get hurt, so playground designers don't have to go crazy taking out every little thing that a kid might bump their head on. I think the litigious culture in the US makes innovations like this almost impossible, and when they are tried they will only last until someone's precious angel gets a boo-boo and they rush into court.
bones said @ 9:49pm GMT on 23rd Mar [Score:2 Insightful]
The reason people have to sue is the for-profit medical industry. Allow me to explain--

Let's say that your child gets injured and you have insurance. Your insurance can force you to sue (or not get money) in order to cover their own costs related to the injury. Those costs are artificially high because of for-profit medicine.

When someone gets hurt, the amount of money involved makes liability very important. Since we don't spread the damage through a social safety net, we spread the damage through our legal system.

TLDR; Don't leave NZ. Even if you do have Golliwogs.
papango said @ 10:14pm GMT on 23rd Mar [Score:1 Funny]
I think you're totally right. In a place where calling an ambulance could leave you with a massive bill (or a massive court case) I'm not surprised parents are more cautious.

Those golliwogs are a serious problem. For fuck's sake New Zealand is supposed to be better than that.
Skuld said @ 7:25am GMT on 21st Mar
Does anyone know how or when, or why, US-culture became so litigious?
Bruceski said @ 8:17am GMT on 21st Mar [Score:1 Informative]
I don't believe it's really the first case, but the first memorable one was McDonalds in 1994, when they were sued for a driver being injured by her coffee. That got a lot of media attention.

The sad thing is that though that's held up as an example of starting the trend of frivolous lawsuits, it was a legitimate case. McD was serving their coffee WAY too hot, and she got third degree burns from it that needed skin grafts. A lot of the details of the case got trimmed down to punchline length in the retelling.
Dumbledorito said @ 9:20am GMT on 21st Mar [Score:2]
And what goes unmentioned are the corporate-on-corporate lawsuits happening almost constantly, whose "costs" make any consumer lawsuit look like peanuts by comparison. They'll sue each other over the color of packaging (Kraft thought a competitor's blue was too much like the blue on it's mac & cheese boxes) to patents to just being dicks (the equivalent of SLAPP suits).

You also have to note that consumer protection law is pretty much under siege right now, because they're able to, as usual, get people to vote against their own best interests by creating the illusion that these settlements are somehow "killing jobs" or whatever.
papango said @ 7:24pm GMT on 23rd Mar
I think part of it has to do with the health system as well. The woman in your example would have gone bankrupt paying for her own treatment, so she had to sue to cover those costs. And the same is true for parents, if their child is injured on a playground that could be a disaster for the whole family.

Here in NZ we have public health care, and companies pay a levy to cover accidents in return for not being sued (although the government can still prosecute if something goes really badly wrong). Parents don't have to worry about an child's injury sending them into poverty and can be a little less over protective.
snowfox said @ 4:53pm GMT on 24th Mar
You're missing essential details.

The issue is not that the coffee was too hot. It was served at holding temperature. The issue is that they did not properly affix the lid. The lady was a passenger, and she put the cup between her legs. As a result, she was found partially liable for her own injuries for holding the cup wrong.

Frivolous lawsuits exist mostly in the minds of conservatives. Just like welfare queens.
arrowhen said @ 6:47pm GMT on 24th Mar
Another rarely mentioned fact is that the victim originally only asked for $20,000 to cover her medical expenses.
lilmookieesquire said @ 2:27pm GMT on 22nd Mar
I saw a movie about that once.

Lord of the Flies.

lilmookieesquire said @ 8:20pm GMT on 20th Mar
mechanical contrivance said @ 8:22pm GMT on 20th Mar [Score:2]
Well, which is it? A joy ride or a food run?
one_inch said @ 7:14am GMT on 22nd Mar
Probably depends if he was drunk or stoned?
Resurrected Morris said @ 8:28pm GMT on 20th Mar
Yeah well...when I was a kid we used to play games like, pass the Molotov and pop the .22 in the see saw.... It was all fun and games until my brother lost an eye....

The River Lethe is also known as nostalgia...
cb361 said @ 8:31pm GMT on 20th Mar
True, but child mortality is probably lower now. Not much lower, because kids weren't put in excessive danger in the 1970s, but a bit lower.

But, yes. Girlfriend's granddaughters are mid-teens now, and aren't allowed to watch Game of Thrones because it's unsuitable. I watched Conan the Barbarian and Monty Python's Meaning of Life at eleven, and I was pretty sheltered by the standards of horror-movie watching class-mates.

It's a product of safety consciousness in western society, and can be a bit over the top. But I'm not going to get all "It's political correctness gone mad!" because even though I have issueswith "Health and Safety", it's a whole lot nicer than the alternative. Strict Health and Safety in the west can be a nuisance, but I can't remember the last time a nightclub burned down in London with hundreds of party-goers inside because somebody had chained the fire exits closed.
lilmookieesquire said @ 8:38pm GMT on 20th Mar
Point of order! That was is August of 1980.
cb361 said @ 8:48pm GMT on 20th Mar
I never read the articles.
Skuld said @ 8:49pm GMT on 20th Mar
All within reason, yes. But I don't know if child mortality due to injury is any lower now. There are way fewer kids perishing of diseases in modern western society, but I don't remember any kid I knew as a child being badly injured or dying due to anything they themselves were doing. There were a few broken bones, and one kid got second degree burns on his foot when he somehow stepped into a hot water pipe on a traffic island outside the bakery.

I am assuming the same kind of incidents are occurring now. Kids running into lamp posts and walls when they are not paying attention, kicking one another in the teeth when someone is being an ass, et cetera. Kids will take risks, it is in their nature as it is a part of growing up. Taking the risks away just means they'll either take more stupid risks, or grow up to be unable to do anything because they are always afraid.

Making sure adults don't do stupid things like chaining fire exits closed, that's a different matter altogether. That's not a question of removing elements enabling healthy play.
Dumbledorito said @ 9:53pm GMT on 20th Mar
In my home town, we had one kid decapitate himself by trying to drive a go-kart under a parked semi trailer. Another got lifelong brain damage from falling off of a roof. We were also a rural community, so there was the occasional death from hunting/guns and farm equipment. One classmate of mine was nearly paralyzed from the waist down after falling from a half-demolished railroad trestle.

I stayed inside and played video games, so I still have all of my fingers.
Skuld said @ 10:10pm GMT on 20th Mar
Yeah, farm equipment does have its risks. My uncle lost a finger as a teen on a tractor's drive shaft. Damn lucky it was only a finger and not the whole arm. This was before they had drive shaft casings.
arrowhen said @ 1:05am GMT on 21st Mar
You could have died of Nintendo Thumb!
cb361 said @ 8:16am GMT on 21st Mar
Or SE wrist.
fishhat said @ 4:18pm GMT on 21st Mar
"I've always wanted one big forearm"

I'll stick with two, thanks.
mechanical contrivance said @ 8:50pm GMT on 21st Mar
Yes, it's good to use the left hand once in a while. Keeps things interesting.
cb361 said @ 10:54pm GMT on 23rd Mar
Yep. It's like getting a hand job from Stephen Hawking.
cb361 said @ 11:23am GMT on 21st Mar
I just unpacked a new network router, and there's a sticker on the power plug that says "If this switch [picture of rocker switch] is turned off the product will not work"

It's Political Correctness gone mad!
mechavolt said @ 11:31am GMT on 21st Mar
Thanks Obama!
mechanical contrivance said @ 1:06pm GMT on 21st Mar
That's probably because they were getting a lot of emails from customers complaining that they can't get online with the router.
backSLIDER said @ 1:45am GMT on 24th Mar
And that sicker did nothing.
Dumbledorito said @ 5:17am GMT on 24th Mar
It allows someone to say with lots of hidden sarcasm, "Sir or madam, did you read the sticker?"
rapscallion said @ 5:36pm GMT on 23rd Mar
I worry about this with my kids. I spent the years between 8 and 18 rambling on my own through the wilds of New Mexico. I'd leave for hours at a time and all my parents asked was a general direction and exprecetd return time. I want my kids to have that same experience but I'm not sure how to give it to them.
HoZay said @ 7:01pm GMT on 23rd Mar [Score:1 Insightful]
It may be the trick is to have several kids, so you have backup if one of them turns out to be Fodderwing.
papango said @ 7:17pm GMT on 23rd Mar
My parents had three. A practice one, a real one and a spare.
Bruceski said @ 8:44pm GMT on 23rd Mar
My dad's nickname for my twin brother is Control Group.
backSLIDER said @ 1:49am GMT on 24th Mar
You know that makes you "the experiment".
Bruceski said @ 3:29am GMT on 24th Mar
Yup. Oddly though, my brother claims that dad calls ME Control Group when I'm not around.
snowfox said @ 4:55pm GMT on 24th Mar
Sounds like a pretty shoddy experiment to me!
Bruceski said @ 5:58pm GMT on 24th Mar
His real job's in theoretical physics, so it's understandable he'd make a few mistakes. We're more mad science than science.
Bruceski said @ 8:44pm GMT on 23rd Mar
Step 1: move to the wilds of New Mexico.

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