What’s Life Like Without the Constant Fear of Predators? Ask Oprah!

Oprah visits  “the happiest people in the world” and finds out.
Guess where their kids nap? (First two minutes of 8 minute vid.)

And meantime: HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Give thanks we live in a time when kids are safer than ever before…even if it’s hard to convince anyone of this fact. — Lenore

28 Responses

  1. I love the audience laughter at the comment that “nobody wants to steal your babies.”

  2. It’s a great video. It’s such a shame that anyone even attempting to leave their kids outdoors here, even if they were comfortable with it and their kids were NOT in any danger, would probably be reported for it.

    Lack of religion leads to a happier population… better not go there 😉

  3. “we live in a time when kids are safer than ever before”

    Well, for some kids anyways.

  4. “Lack of religion leads to a happier population… better not go there”

    If there really is a correlation, it remains to be seen if it’s a causation. I do think it’s safe to say that religion isn’t going away any time soon, not is lack of it.

  5. I agree Rich and thanks for that video, I’m watching it right now and it’s sending shivers down my back. There are simply no words…

  6. OH GOD! That is awesome!

  7. Good call, Rich. What’s really scary is that video is hardly depicting the bottom of the barrel when it comes to horrible things going on in Africa. Some of the southern and eastern parts of the continent make Nigeria look like a paradise of human rights.

    It’s an important thing to be thankful for, especially today. I’m grateful I don’t live in a part of the world where teenage boys view recreational gang rape (wholesale, not little isolated incidents) as “cool,” or where having sex with an infant is widely accepted as a means of curing venereal disease and HIV.

  8. The vids show two extremes, a society that has hardly any problems and one full of so many that it’s future looks bleak. The ones in the middle are capable of turning into either one, just have to decide what kind of society the people as a whole really want for their children and grandchildren. It doesn’t magically happen, people got be involved in put effort into it.

  9. On the Denmark one,

    Must be nice living there, I am in Canada, which is kinda in the between that style socialist and American style capitalist. Healthcare and schooling for children is paid through our taxes, but we gotta pay for college/university, maternity leave sucks, employment insurence is practically a scam, tax money gets wasted on BS, homelessness is a big problem, and people are freakin’ materialistic. I would love Canada to be more like Denmark, but no one wants to sacrifice anything for it.

  10. So glad you posted this, Lenore. Felt this when at the Safer Internet Forum in Luxembourg a few wks ago – there just isn’t the fear factor in the Net-safety context over there, not like we have. From the outside looking back in, it occurred to me that Homeland Security-think seems to have spilled over and seeped into so many aspects of life in the US. Not that helicopter parenting is just a post-9/11 phenomenon. Would be fun to talk to you about that. The Time article (that featured you – http://bit.ly/1zGVO5) didn’t go into the origins of the scared-parents thing, did it? Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. P.S. I too am gripped by the contrast between Oprah’s Denmark video and the Africa one Rich posted. Also saw the film “Precious” last night (couldn’t cry during – hit me later), which depicts the cruelty to children also happening here in the “first world,” hopefully less so. All point to the need for more enforcement of the UN Convention (treaty) on the Rights of the Child (more on that + related links here: http://www.netfamilynews.org/2009/11/un-child-rights-convention-how-about.html). [Amnesty Int’l points out that, “of all the UN member states, only the US and the collapsed state of Somalia have not ratified it” (http://www.amnestyusa.org/children/convention-on-the-rights-of-the-child/page.do?id=1101777).]

  12. The Denmark video is very unrealistic. Yes, they leave their babies to sleep outside for “fresh air” and taxes are very high, but the lifestyle these women portray is not representative of the population. They are simply reinforcing stereotypes. When you think of Denmark, what do you think of? All the stereotypes portrayed here. Instead of giving us a realistic view of another country, they reinforce the view we already have. Not everybody is blonde, in fact not even a majority, you would be surprised (if you believe this stereotype) how few blondes there are in the country. Danish people come in all body types, just like the rest of us. They are not all tall and thin. Danish ultramodern design is just as radical for them as it is for us. Very few people live that way. Most people live in small apartments, as such there is good use of space, but not usually to the extreme pictured here. Not everybody’s home is clean and organized. Some people there hoard things just like people in our own country. There are homeless people. There are slums. There are people who live off the government. There are even Career University Students who stay in University for decades because the government pays them to. And not everybody is happy!

  13. Oh, Lenor, I got a good one for you….

    Dunno where to send this, can’t be bothered to search, so I’ll just post this here for you.


    Yeah, gotta keep thos waving old men off the streets!

  14. Of course Denmark has homeless people – every country does – in countries like Denmark it is a mental health issue. 1 in 1000 people are homeless. In the US its about 1 in 600.

    Lenore you might be interested in a wee video about a Copenhagen daycare – ages 2-7 – it’s called Childhood’s Garden and it follows a day at Nokken. They give children KNIVES.

  15. I’ll have to remind myself of this video the next time my kids are underfoot and I start to complain about the lack of space. My house is a lot bigger that that one and there are only 3 of us.

  16. That is a very interesting video. Copenhagen is a beautiful city that does seem as portrayed here. There are many positive aspects to their society, and yes, they do seem more civilized.

    It’s more homogeneous than America though. I think the Scandinavian cultures to tend to be this way. They are small nations and most people have a lot in common with one another.

    I agree with their philosophy and find many things about their way of life enviable. Lemontree is right, though, this is a Utopian presentation that is probably over idealized.

  17. @Elle- at least we get mat leave for 52 weeks, though I agree with you that the pay rate is dismal- without employer top-ups/savings/partner with a great job, it’s often impossible to survive for that long on half of your original salary/pay. I’ll take our system over being forced to go back to work 6 or nine weeks after the baby’s born, though.

    I’m with you on wanting to be more like Denmark in a lot of ways, but at least we’re better off than a lot of countries. You’re right- everyone wants things to improve, but no one is willing to sacrifice anything to get there.

  18. Awesome. The happier you are, the more successful you thought to be. If that isn’t the best measure of success, I don’t know what is!! Awesome.

  19. I think the underlying message is not one about being religious or not, but about being rational regarding risk.

    The parents interviewed were confident that their behaviour was low-risk (e.g. we don’t know of people stealing our babies).

    My favorite pro-child part was the small house, less things. Why have a big house when children (esp young ones) just want to be with YOU. And why clutter up their lives. (Now if I could just convince my hubby of the second point!)

  20. Lemontree is right about the video perpetuating a lot of stereotypes, but there isn’t anything particularly inaccurate in the video, either (didn’t it feel like an Ikea store in that apartment?). There are aspects of Danish and Scandinavian stereotypes that many people don’t readily learn about from the media or during time spent as a tourist.

    I’m hardly an export on Scandinavia, but in the past 15 years I’ve visited Denmark and Sweden and have stayed in many family homes (my husband’s paternal family is Norwegian and he has many Swedish and Danish friends and colleagues). I’ve been to Norway many times during the past 15 years to visit various in-law relatives. We’ve also had many Scandinavian guests in our home. So I’ve had opportunity to discuss and observe on many occasions.

    I really love many, many aspects of Scandinavian society and culture, and think we could learn a lot from their successes and generous attitude towards each other. However, the US is a place that values individualism over all else while Scandinavian countries throw their lot in together in a far bigger way, so there are considerable cultural, political, and philosophical differences and reasons why what works relatively well there there won’t work well here and vice versa.

    But one thing I’ve observed that would really rankle most Americans is the pervasive “groupthink” mentality in these countries. That’s not to say that there are no differing opinions, but my observation is that overall there is a far more homogenous attitude and view than we are used to. I’ve met very few people who are openly or even mildly critical of their government’s policies, for example. So one might be tempted to think Scandinavian countries are a utopia of sorts and perhaps in order to achieve the high ranking social and health stats, a pervasive cohesiveness is required.

    Yet I’ve got to wonder what it’s like to live there if one holds a minority opinion that goes greatly against the majority view. It is definitely not a society that is supportive of strong individualism, especially if one wants to go contrary to official social or health doctrine. On the surface, the liberal ways of Scandinavian countries may seem very tolerant, but under the surface, there can be a quite a bit of intolerance to anything contrary to the core of the majority.

  21. I doubt that Oprah has any real insight with these sex offender hysteria laws. In fact she supports the Adam Walsh Act. It’s good for ratings.

    Lenore, you are the new Oprah of common sense. You research your topics and base them on research and common sense. If only the media and our law makers would do their research before hand. What a blessing that would. Lives saved and BILLIONS of dollars put into prevention as opposed to doing “More Harm than Good.”

  22. “Copenhagen is a beautiful city that does seem as portrayed here. There are many positive aspects to their society, and yes, they do seem more civilized. It’s more homogeneous than America though.”

    Bingo. To quote P.J. O’Rourke– Remark: “‘In Sweden, we have virtually no poverty.” O’Rourke’s Reply: “That’s interesting. In America, among Swedes, we have virtually no poverty either.”

    (Different country, same concept.)

  23. We lived in Iceland (as U.S. diplomats) for three years. Our youngest child was born there. He slept outside all the time as a baby, and continues to do so as a toddler…yes, in the U.S.. If he falls asleep on a walk or in the car, I put him in his stroller and he happily sleeps outside for 2-3 hours.

    No one has called the cops, and I have no plans to discontinue this happy, safe habit. We can also adopt trends not native to our home country that we find better for ourselves, its just a matter of doing it.

  24. Sorry, in above comment, it should be “it’s”, not “its”.

  25. I’ll just correct the notion of people in Denmark staying in college indefinitely because of public support: You get a modest amount (and access to cheap housing) for as long as your education lasts plus ONE year if you need it (in case you flunked something and has had to do a course over) PLUS one year for each child you may have had while you were studying. I find this very generous, but you cannot get it indefinitely.
    In all of modern history ONE infant has been kidnapped from his stroller. That was back in the fifties. A good thing it didn’t end the outdoors naps.

  26. I’ve had two co-workers (one in Canada, one in the US) who took one college course per semester for years after graduation (one still does, the other I’ve lost touch with) to continue the interest free status on their government loans. Some people will work the system no matter what the system is.

  27. Interestingly enough about leaving the kids in the stroller I learned that my Grandmother used to do that with my Aunts and Uncle and my mom. When she’d go to the grocery store she would park the stroller with the kid go inside shop and come back. Wouldn’t that be a nice way to shop! Without the kids.

  28. I’ll have to remind myself of this video the next time my kids are underfoot and I start to complain about the lack of space. My house is a lot bigger that that one and there are only 3 of us.

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