BIG NEWS! Free-Range Kids Meets Reality TV

Hi Readers! And now for something completely different: Television! I am about to start filming a reality TV show dedicated to the wild idea that our kids are at LEAST as smart and safe as we were — so why don’t we stop treating them like hand-blown swizzle sticks?

Yes. For real! This is a TV show that is going to try to turn the tide.

The show will feature yours truly going to the homes of parents who are OPEN to the idea of loosening the reins a little (or at least one of the spouses is), but still worry about a lot of What If”s: “What if the kids get hurt?” “What if they get lost?” And, of course, “What if somebody snatches them?”

And who can blame folks for worrying this way? Considering that most media spend the day screaming that our children are in terrible danger from everything you can think of (Germs! Dirt! Branches! Predators! Playing in tree houses! Going on sleepovers! Video Barbie! Valentine’s Day! Halloween!), parents are naturally at their wits’ end. As a result, sometimes even reluctantly, they forbid their kids  the kind of freedom that used to DEFINE childhood. The freedom to ride a bike to the beach, or meet friends at the park, or simply walk to school.

With any luck, the families and I will talk about what’s lost when kids are cocooned and what is gained when we teach them to start making their way in the world — safely! This is not about daredevil parenting. It’s about sort of old-fashioned parenting in modern times. And as somber as this post is starting to sound (somehow I’m hearing a cello solo as I write), the show should be FUNNY too.

So what I’m looking for is families who haven’t taken the Free-Range plunge yet, but are almost ready to try it, with me (and the cello) on their side. The only catch? They have to live in or around New York City or Toronto. I know that means missing a lot of great families, but those are my marching orders.

If you think your family might be interested, or if you know of another family that fits the bill, please drop a note to Sylvia Lee, the casting queen, at Slee@cineflix.com. And also, please feel MORE than free to post this plea on your Facebook page or any social media you’re on. We really want to find some great families and have  a great time and spread the idea that our kids can be safe and sound, even if we are not watching them Every. Single. Second.

That’s it. Thanks for your help! (Don’t I sound calm?)  — L.

The Wisdom of Wikipedia

Hi Folks! Just found this great Wikipedia entry. I hadn’t heard of “Mean World Syndrome” before, but it really makes sense! It’s almost a relief to have a name to give the ramped up fear so many parents feel. — Lenore

Mean World Syndrome (via Wikipedia)

Mean World Syndrome is a phenomenon where the violence-related content of mass media convinces viewers that the world is more dangerous than it actually is, and prompts a desire for more protection than is warranted by any actual threat.[1] Mean World Syndrome is one of the main conclusions of cultivation theory. The term was coined by George Gerbner, a pioneer researcher on the effects of television on society, when he noted that people who watched a large amount of television tended to think of the world as an intimidating and unforgiving place.[2]

Individuals who watch television infrequently and adolescents who talk to their parents about reality are said to have a more accurate view of the real world than those who do not, and they are able to more accurately assess their vulnerability to violence. They also tend to have a wider variety of beliefs and attitudes.[3]