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SHARE THIS VIDEO! Helicopter Parents, Here’s Why You Are So Afraid

Woo hoo! Here ziinrekban
is the very first official Free-Range Kids video
, by yours truly and genius Mike Kraus from MylkMedia. It explains — cheerfully — how we get risk wrong and end up terrified for our kids. Buzzfeed did a wonderful synoposis.

Buzzfeed, baby!

Please, please share this on Facebook and everywhere else! It will help your friends understand how society floods us with fear, how we’re pre-programmed to hold onto the most horrifying images, and how our brains work like Google. When we ask ourselves, “Is X safe?” our brains retrieve the easiest information to find — the scariest possible stories about some kid doing X.

Unfortunately, the higher a story is in our brain’s search results — and the worst stories are always at the top — the more likely we think it is, even though usually just the opposite is true!

So enjoy, share, and reject the fear! – L.

And here is the Buzzfeed synopsis and QUIZ! Take the quiz!

I watched the video five times before I noticed this graph’s headline.


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29 Responses to SHARE THIS VIDEO! Helicopter Parents, Here’s Why You Are So Afraid

  1. Colin Summers February 21, 2017 at 11:10 am #

    Okay, but it sort of sounded like I should be worried about lightning strikes. Apparently they are more common than Oscar wins, and there’s a whole WEEKEND of those coming up.

  2. Miriam February 21, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

    How about a youtube link?

  3. Miriam February 21, 2017 at 12:26 pm #

    Oh, and also have another version in an American accent?
    Because some people think that maybe it’s good for Europe, where people are ‘civilized’, but not in the US where “all the crazy stuff happens”…

  4. Leon Dubov February 21, 2017 at 12:40 pm #

    I’m not sure how the statistic on shark deaths vs Presidents works. There have been 43 Presidents in the US and I’m pretty sure that over the same time period many more were eaten by sharks. Not sure if I’m misunderstanding the math.

  5. Kenny Felder February 21, 2017 at 1:28 pm #

    BEST. VIDEO. EVER. I am sharing it with everyone I know.

  6. Steve N February 21, 2017 at 1:33 pm #

    “how we’re pre-programmed to hold onto the most horrifying images, and how our brains work like Google. When we ask ourselves, “Is X safe?” our brains retrieve the easiest information to find — the scariest possible stories about some kid doing X.”

    I believe that another term for this phenomenon is the “availability heuristic”. See the works of Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman for more on this mind trap. Very interesting.

  7. Dee February 21, 2017 at 1:36 pm #


  8. Vicki Bradley February 21, 2017 at 1:56 pm #

    The video explains this phenomenon concisely and in the most simple terms – a must-see for helicopter parents everywhere!

  9. Ron Skurat February 21, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

    Society doesn’t flood us with fear, the media does. And since virtue signalling seems to be the neurosis of the decade, it gets passed on from parent to parent so that everyone feels superior. If anyone kept any critical distance they’d realize how idiotic this behavior is.

  10. James Pollock February 21, 2017 at 2:28 pm #

    “Society doesn’t flood us with fear, the media does.”

    I disagree. Some of the most fearful folks are the ones consuming the least amount of media.

    We take our cues from the people around us… but we choose the people around us, in part, by how much they share our worldview. It’s a feedback loop.

    If you’re a fearful person, you’re going to congregate with other fearful people… who are all going to validate your fearfulness. If you’re NOT a fearful person, you’re going to congregate with other non-fearful people– who are all going to validate your non-fearfulness.

    “The media” is not a singular noun. It’s a plural. SOME OF the media cater to fearful people. SOME OF the media cater to non-fearful people. And… it varies depending on exactly what fear you’re considering. Examples: Fear of crime? Fear of terrorism? Fear of liberal gun-grabbers coming to deprive you of your Constitutional rights? Fear of the “New World Order”? Fear of the creeping fascism resurging in both European and American politics? Each of these has media supporters/generators… but each has media detractors, too.

  11. Jenny February 21, 2017 at 2:45 pm #

    This is great. If tweaked just a little bit it could be about politics instead of parenting. Fear of violence by refugees and other immigrants is driving us to lose our collective minds about immigration policy in much the same way that fear of stranger abductions has caused us to lose our collective minds about how to raise our kids.

  12. BL February 21, 2017 at 2:54 pm #

    @Ron Skurat
    “Society doesn’t flood us with fear, the media does. ”

    You can avoid media and still see it.

    I don’t remember metal detectors in my youth. You could walk into the county courthouse or city hall or local school without challenge.

    I walked and rode my bicycle in a suburb and two small towns by the time I finished school and was never challenged by a cop for being out “alone”. I had plenty of company.

    I carried a pocket knife everywhere, including to school. Now it’s considered a dangerous weapon, not a tool, and to carry it on school grounds is a criminal act. Must be planning a knife attack!

    It used to be quite possible to check into a hotel or board an airplane without showing identification, not to mention all the other security rigamarole involved in airports.

    ID badges to get into workplaces. That used to be the exception, not the rule.

    All fear, all the time. Gotta prove who you are, because you’re probably a criminal or terrorist. Sign in, badge in, show ID, check your pockets, go through the detector, what are you doing outside and where are you going, citizen?

  13. Jessica February 21, 2017 at 3:26 pm #

    You are so right! I have no idea why, but Americans (I mean the ones in the demographic this is aimed at) tend to think that America is drastically unsafe, so parenting practices that work “elsewhere” are impossible here.

  14. Kirsten February 21, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

    Enjoyed and shared.

  15. lollipoplover February 21, 2017 at 3:51 pm #

    This applies to so many aspects of not just parenting, but life in general.

    My kids had a long break over this President’s day weekend and my daughter asked if we could do a special day with her and her best friends…skiing. Problem was- only 2 of her friends had skied before and the parents truly thought they would DIE if they went on this ski trip. After talking a few of the moms off the ledge and reassuring them that I could manage a trip with 7 young teenage girls who were not great skiers, we made plans. They were honestly so excited. And I was completely blown away at how easily they learned to ski, take lifts, and enjoy a most amazing trip. Bonus: their parents realized how much they enjoyed it and will sign them up for ski club next year.

  16. Nicole R. February 21, 2017 at 3:58 pm #

    Loved this video!!

  17. donald February 21, 2017 at 4:19 pm #

    Excellent video! It shows how we can lose perspective without even realizing it!

    Logic and rational thinking are much more accurate at determining what’s real. However, because this type of thinking weighs up pros and cons, it takes longer to do. If we perceive a life or death situation, we don’t wait around for this slower thinking. This is normal. This is the way it’s supposed to be and has worked well for mankind since the stone age.

    However in the last 70 years, the ‘stress trigger’ has become too sensitive and fires inappropriately.

    I made a cartoon of this. The emergency situation in my cartoon is an airplane that has one engine out. The airplane is too heavy and is going to crash! It has to throw out ‘baggage’ (nonessential items) in order to lighten the load. Therefore it throws away the frontal lobe of the brain. This is the part of the brain that can measure risk. When this happens, YOU NO LONGER HAVE THE ABILITY TO MEASURE RISK!

  18. Eric S February 21, 2017 at 4:22 pm #

    @Leon: “I’m not sure how the statistic on shark deaths vs Presidents works. There have been 43 Presidents in the US and I’m pretty sure that over the same time period many more were eaten by sharks. Not sure if I’m misunderstanding the math.”

    That’s 43 Presidents within over 200 years. Considering there was about 4 million people living in forming United States of America at that time, and there about 324 million people now, that’s 320 million difference. 43 out of 320 million is, by all accounts a very, very, very, very small number. Remember, 43 presidents are spread across 228 years. Here it is in another perspective, in 2016 alone, there were 37 shark attacks in the U.S. Meaning, you are more likely to be attacked by a shark than become POTUS. Point being, most of the fears of parents these days, are a very rare occurrence in the bigger picture of a child’s life.

    More importantly, what is more important? The quelling of parents’ fears, or the well-being (mentally and emotionally) of a child from the day they are born, to when they leave the nest. If all they ever learned from parents was fear, and to be constantly sheltered and coddled, what do you think they’ll be like when they have to move on with their lives by themselves? As parents, our job is not to appease ourselves, but to make sure we raise our children right so that they can be confident, self sufficient, and smart about taking care of themselves as adults.

  19. dancing on thin ice February 21, 2017 at 5:39 pm #

    It is a lot more complex than “Society doesn’t flood us with fear, the media does.”

    Others have noted that we tend to gather around those that think like us.
    Probably less than 0.5% are such fact based that they fact check even things they want to believe are true with many other personalities perpetuating needless worries.

    The media then targets these different groups with different fears.
    These fears then become laws and rules to affect the rest of society.

    The definition of the media has changed and can be include the Walt Kelly Pogo quote:
    “We have met the enemy and he is us”
    In other words, we are responsible when fears are spread by social media.

  20. dancing on thin ice February 21, 2017 at 5:46 pm #

    A better way to phrase my sentence could be:
    “Probably less than 0.5% of the population are are such sticklers to details that they fact check even things they want to believe are true as a contrast to many other personality styles that will just click they like something and thus perpetuate needless worries.”

    (but this still may not be as clear and precise as I’d like it to sound.)

  21. Wilbur Post February 21, 2017 at 8:02 pm #

    This is great, but what’s mostly missing from the video is the cost of over-protection. Many parents operate on Buzzfeed’s second answer: “the odds of bad things happening to my kids may be small, but they’re my kids and I am going to take every precaution to protect them.” In other words, the stakes (my childrens’ safety) are so high that the odds (of something horrible happening) don’t matter. And as long as there is no cost (to my childrens’ well-being), why not over-protect? That’s how I operated when my children were little. It was understanding that I was passing on my fears to my children, and causing them to feel unsafe in the world, doubt their own abilities, and avoid taking risks that made me stop and re-evaluate my behavior. Learning that the things I was afraid of were very unlikely was helpful, but until I realized I was doing actual harm by over-protecting I had no reason to stop.

  22. Kenny February 21, 2017 at 9:58 pm #

    Hi! Can you share a YouTube link? Vimeo seems to be blocked in Indonesia for some reason..

  23. Margot February 21, 2017 at 11:26 pm #

    Nice one, Lenore. Although I would have liked you to include the statistic concerning the length of time you would have to abandon your first born on a street corner before they were abducted. That’s my favourite.

  24. donald February 22, 2017 at 12:35 am #

    “We have met the enemy and he is us”

    Well said!

    While I don’t hold the media blameless, we have to acknowledge that they are only supplying a demand. It’s circular argument like the chicken and the egg scenario.

    The media targets our emotions because we demand that our emotions be stirred up. We need to recognize our own addictions. The human body produces its own heroin. In fact, when the fight-or-flight instinct is activated (in the hypothalamus) your body releases endorphins, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These fight or flight chemicals are essential for survival. However, we’ve turned them into a recreational drug. That’s why we DEMAND A MEDIA TO KEEP US IN FIGHT OR FLIGHT FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE!

  25. Andrew February 22, 2017 at 8:05 am #

    That is awesome. But is there somewhere that explains the statistics?

    What are the odds of becoming President (zero for me), or winning an Oscar (probably also zero for me) or being struck by lightning?

    Similarly what are the odds of being killed by a shark, becoming a victim of terrorism or being abducted by a stranger?

  26. Crystal February 22, 2017 at 11:36 am #

    I shared this online and immediately had women questioning my judgment and parenting — although they didn’t address the video whatsoever.

  27. Papilio February 22, 2017 at 3:19 pm #

    Over here in civilized Europe (ha ha), I can’t watch the video either 🙁

    “There have been 43 Presidents in the US”
    “That’s 43 Presidents within over 200 years.”

    Since Obama was the 44th, either I’m missing something or you’re all in denial (can’t blame ya).

  28. BL February 22, 2017 at 3:27 pm #

    Trump is the 45th, but Grover Cleveland was counted twice since his terms were non-consecutive (weird, but the State Department actually made that way of counting official). So 44 distinct presidents.

  29. Leon Dubov February 23, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

    I see your point and you’re preaching to the choir. I think we both did the POTUS vs shark math correctly. That doesn’t mean that sharks are a danger we should worry about. However, when videos like this misrepresent the facts to make a point, it cheapens the message…a lot!
    If we’re going to convince others that kids are safe and should be let out to play with other kids without being wrapped up in bubble wrap, we have to have correct facts.