Dear Free-Range Kids: Recently I started watching hours of “Law and Order SVU” (streaming live on Netflix for graduate students wanting to procrastinate!) and it’s really quite absurd to watch after a year of following your blog. The episodes where there is a child abduction or attempted abduction always involve some crazy sicko, and the parents are hysterical messes vowing never to let their child go anywhere alone again, etc.
I have to say that, as I think about it, I cannot off the top of my head think of more the three or four names of children who have been kidnapped by crazy psychos (as opposed to by their own family members in a custody battle or something). But SVU seems to find it a pressing enough problem to make countless episodes about it…I guess my point is just that maybe people are so paranoid because they watch too many TV shows and movies that depict this kind of situation, and we allow fiction to creep into our reality.
Why do we automatically jump to Worst-First thinking? In part, because TV and movies have programmed our brains to think that the worst happens more frequently than it really does. — Emily Tanner
Yup, yup, EXACTLY, yup. And in my Free-Range Kids book I have a whole chapter on how the media chooses its stories, and how the brain stores scary images, and why these influence us even when we KNOW they are rare or even FICTION!
And speaking of my book — here’s a link! It’s $10.17 on Amazon and makes a lovely (non-scary! non-toxic! non-threatening!) present. — Lenore