Myth 28: Children Get Poisoned On Halloween

HalloweenThe story that children far and wide are being poisoned by unwrapped Halloween candy and home-baked Halloween cookies, that there was ever a razor blade in the apple is the very definition of an urban legend. It is a myth to the extent that NO American child is on record as EVER being seriously hurt by a contaminated Trick-or-Treat bon bon. Continue reading

Myth 26: “Better Safe Than Sorry” Is Rational Thinking

stopsignWired.com has spoofed the syndrome that many of us concerned parents are vulnerable to — access to and believing too much scary information and believing our children are extremely vulnerable to harm. Their June 1, 2009 piece called “Alt Text: Beware Nebulous Internet Disease” starts with this jab, “The infection typically begins when the victim reads about an unusual affliction on a news site or current-events blog. Upon reading, the victim begins to experience one or more symptoms of that disease, typically minor symptoms such as a scratchy throat or slightly reddened area of skin.” – Wired Continue reading

Myth 25: Social networking sites are crawling with predators

onlinepredatorThe State Attorneys General put together a task force to get to the bottom of safety issues related to the internet. The group was called the “Internet Safety Technical Task Force” and it was run out of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. The group found that “Although identity deception may occur online, it does not appear to play a large role in criminal cases in which adult sex offenders have been arrested for sex crimes in which they met victims online.” Wait a minute, isn’t that double talk? Continue reading

Myth 21: Carseats are safer than seatbelts for ages 2+.

23273103thbEvery child who is 1 year old and weighs 20 lbs. is allowed to ride in a front facing car seat (if only because they get too huge to fit rear-facing anymore) and at age 4 and 40 lbs they can graduate to a car booster seat until they turn 8 or until they are 4 ft. 9 inches tall. Endless studies show that carseats and booster seats are safer, safer, safer. But safer than what? And under what circumstances are they safer? Are parents even qualified to install the carseats they buy? Certified child passenger safety seat installers and Highway Patrol officers are required to complete a 4-day course on carseat installation. Do carseats and booster seats for children age 2 to 8 actually make your child safer or are you being bullied by carseat companies into spending $300,000,000 per year on complicated safety devices that have no more benefit than a properly used seatbelt? Is improved safety for small children through the use of carseats and booster seats a buckled down fact? Or is the sense that these seats provide more safety for your kids just a well marketed myth?
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Myth 15: It’s proven that cell phones cause cancer.

Dr. Lennart Hardell of Department of Oncology at the Örebro Medical Centre in Sweden conducted a study in which he reports to have found that long term cell phone use doubles the risk of malignant brain tumors and hearing nerve tumors. He also reported that people under 20 years of age were five times more likely to develop brain cancer from cell phone use. This study has received much hysterical publicity, but, and this is a big but, it has not yet appeared in a peer-reviewed journal. Until it does, it has the same amount of scientfic credibility as you telling your child “if you make a face it will stay that way” Continue reading

Myth 14: Video games encourage violent behavior.

Of 3000 parents surveyed by What They Play: The Parents Guide To Video Games, the majority said that they were more afraid of their children playing video games than seeing porn when away from home. Mitt Romney warned, “Pornography and violence poison our music and movies and TV and video games. The Virginia Tech shooter, like the Columbine shooters before him, had drunk from this cesspool.” Hillary Clinton said, “Grand Theft Auto, which has so many demeaning messages about women, and so encourages violent imagination and activities, and it scares parents.” Set aside for the moment that some politicians will just throw any sensational speculation into the oratory stew to make an impression (the roommates of the Virginia Tech Shooter, Seung-Hui Cho, said that Cho never played video games). Could so many parents and politicians be right? Does playing violent video games transform ordinary, well adjusted kids into violent maniacs? The FBI and the United States Secret Service don’t think so. In fact, it is has been observed by the most comprehensive study of kid gamers to date that playing violent video games can be therapeutic for many kids, enabling them to express teenage frustration, rebellion and experimentation in a safe, non-threatening way.

That’s crazy talk. Show me some proof. Continue reading

Myth 13: School shootings are an epidemic.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (in their report “The School Shooter: A Threat Assessment Perspective”) cautions that people should be cynical about news coverage of school shootings. The FBI says that the news coverage of those events are “inherently hasty” and rely on “sources who themselves have incomplete or inaccurate information”. They also say to be wary of reports issued by academics, researchers, and other specialists because they frequently lack critical confidential information that is only available to law enforcement officials.

Here are a few myths that the news media has perpetuated about school shooters that the FBI says are just plain wrong: Continue reading