I recall reading the Freakonomics section outlining the statistically unfounded fear of handguns over swimming pools since the press sensationalizes gunshot deaths much more so than swimming pool deaths, even though the latter is much more prevalent, and thinking about all the other seemingly misplaced worries that parents have. In today’s news cycle where every outrageous event, no matter how isolated or rare, ends up being run over and over and pounded into our psyche that we, as parents, actually start to believe there’s a real threat to our family, no matter how remote in reality. Here are a few very common fears that I see amongst friends, families and pop culture.
- Everyone’s a Molester – I had to undergo a background check to coach my kid’s T-Ball team. While that sounds all well and good, what’s the actual risk to children? Of the millions of little kids playing sports each year, how many actually whisked off in a van and molested by their coach? And what’s the cost to society of all these background checks every year? Here’s why this is odd. First off, all the coaches in our league are moms and dads of kids playing. Next, where’s the opportunity? During a practice or a game, there are other parents, other kids and I have my own kid to look after. At what point in time or location would there be an opportunity to conduct the heinous crime? While parents may fear the baseball coach, they’re still willingly sending their kids off to volunteer at church and mom is leaving the kids with step-daddy – the more likely culprits statistically. You’ve just gotta wonder if this has been taken a little too far.
- Vaccines – Regardless of the preponderance of evidence from unbiased experts that there is absolutely zero correlation between vaccines and autism (I researched this thoroughly before vaccinating my children and was surprised by the crap the anti-vaccine fearmongers have made up on the subject), virtually every new parent actually believes their kid is at risk of autism following each vaccination. They opt to spread shots, skip shots, find a doctor who will tell them that, yes, vaccines are dangerous, when in fact, the data, any way you look at it, demonstrates that there is no link. In fact, when thimerosal was removed from all vaccines excluding flu around 2000, autism diagnoses continued to skyrocket! It’s obvious it’s not the vaccines, but people need to blame something or someone and unfortunately, they’ve diverted attention away from the true root cause (obvious genetic component, with perhaps some environmental triggers).
- Killer Food – It’s tough to argue that there’s not a lot of crap in our food that’s kinda nasty. Fast food, packaged food, whatever. The thing is, in moderation, there isn’t much evidence that it’s actually harmful. It just “seems” nasty. Granted, we do buy organic milk to eliminate exposure to chemicals and we buy organic fruit where we can, but in moderation, consumption of these materials is unlikely to turn our children into zombies overnight. Some parents are so militant about what their children eat that they can barely function outside of mommy’s careful jurisdiction. No eating at a friend’s house and no staying at auntie’s house because they don’t have the right food. Is one night out here and there or a lunch with a buddy where they might serve dreaded non-organic food likely to poison your child? No.
The list goes on.
What Are common Fears You Think Are Crazy?