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Report Suggests That Nanny State Might Actually Not Be For the Best 430

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the slowly-catching-on dept.
tonyreadsnews writes "Usually, 'thinking of the children' is a starting point to impose limitations on video games and internet in general. For once, a study requested by UK's Prime Minister seems to be a bit more objective than most. In the Executive Summary (PDF) 'Children and young people need to be empowered to keep themselves safe — this isn't just about a top-down approach. Children will be children — pushing boundaries and taking risks. At a public swimming pool we have gates, put up signs, have lifeguards and shallow ends, but we also teach children how to swim.' I think that is an important point that most studies miss, that just 'thinking of the children' and locking the bad stuff away is actually setting them up for failure later in life. A direct link to the full PDF is also available."
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Report Suggests That Nanny State Might Actually Not Be For the Best

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  • by Quattro Vezina (714892) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:12PM (#22898140) Journal
    At the same time, UK Social Services is committing acts of terrorism [dailymail.co.uk] (yes, kidnapping threats are acts of terrorism) against a family with fat children.

    Hypocritical much?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by geekoid (135745)
      Did he direct the social service people to do that?
      Of course, in this case the children really have no choice in their diet, so it doesn't apply.
      I read that article and thought how terrible...then I looked up how much a ston weighs(14 pounds)(6.35Kilo)

      An 11 year old weighing 168 pounds has health issues, and it's not 'Baby fat'.

      Clearly the parents need educating, and no there children shouldn't be taken away unless they are being fed a dangers dies and the parents refuse to change.

      ".' Last year, an eight-ye
      • by Fjandr (66656) on Friday March 28, 2008 @04:02PM (#22898918) Homepage Journal
        Terrorists are people outside a formal government, so no it is not terrorism.

        That's a very limited definition of terrorism.

        A more reasonable definition of terrorism is any group attempting political change through an attack on a civilian target. That includes governments or quasi-governmental groups.
      • by Arthur B. (806360) on Friday March 28, 2008 @04:03PM (#22898924)
        Terrorists are people outside a formal government, so no it is not terrorism.

        Very convenient definition... uh. I'll place it on my bookshelf along with

          - It's not fascim when we do it
          - It's illegal so it's wrong
          - The government can do it because it said it was legal
    • by plague3106 (71849) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:26PM (#22898366)
      Cutting your child is a crime; why should making them fat and giving them life threatening illnesses be fine?
    • by evildarkdeathclicheo (978593) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:47PM (#22898672)
      It seems like this is all just an attempt to deal with the symptoms of the original cause, which is unqualified parents. We require licenses and tests to be able to drive or fly. Licenses to fish or check out library books, yet we allow any drone or sheep-person to enter into the commitment to raise and rear a human being for the next 18 years without so much as a second glance. This is like trying to clean up pollution while hawking hummers to every soccer mom. -W
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by brunascle (994197)
        wow

        you dont allow people to procreate any more than you allow them to feel emotion. procreation is not a privilege you grant, it's a fundamental aspect of life. not civilized life, not even human life, but life, period.

        a society that would regulate it horrifies me.
        • by evildarkdeathclicheo (978593) on Friday March 28, 2008 @04:27PM (#22899296)
          It is horrific, but I believe it is necessary. "Intelligent" people breed far less then "unintelligent" people do. Since we're all striving towards democracy, this can only mean the collective devolution and dumbing down of our society (one only need to look at the last few US elections to see this). As horrific as it may be, the only way to keep this from happening is to indeed introduce some means of population control. Why not keep the uninterested and unqualified parents out of the process at the same time? We spade and neuter our pets after all, why not our peers? -W
          • by PoliTech (998983)
            Now you're just trolling with the Plot Synopsis for the movie "Idiocracy" [imdb.com]

            Your real name wouldn't be "Private Joe Bauers" by any chance would it?

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              Nah, he's probably one of the shitheads associated with groups like CORRUPT.

              They're an evil, evil neo-Nazi organization that worships at the altar of eugenics. They're the main reason why I've come to consider extreme pro-science zealots to be just as bad as extreme anti-science zealots.

              The only reason I've even heard of them is because I know a guy who's a member, and after finding out about his crazy belief system (he actually identifies as a neo-Nazi), I've done my best to avoid him.
              • eugenics (Score:3, Insightful)

                by bussdriver (620565)
                Eugenics is not Nazi. Nazis used gasoline so does that mean we are just as bad as them?

                In the USA, the government used to sterilize people! Eugenics had gone a long ways towards being acceptable and normal in the 'civilized' world. Eugenics was practiced and gaining popularity all over the world until the extreme distortion and abuse of those ideas by the Nazis linked the two together and guilt by association caused Eugenics to fall out of favor.

                Is it not possible that there is some middle ground? Should we
          • by Virtual_Raider (52165) on Friday March 28, 2008 @05:04PM (#22899798) Homepage

            We spade and neuter our pets after all, why not our peers? -W

            If you think about it more in depth for a second, the answer as to why not is clear: there is no easy way to evaluate the 'worthiness' of anyone. There may not even be any way to do it whatsoever. For instance,

            • You seem to assume yourself to be part of the educated group that would be exempt from the reproductive ban. In real life nothing assures that you will form part of the control elite. For past examples think of party officials in communist states, slave owners, whites in apartheid. The harsher the restrictions imposed on a population, the more power those enforcing the restrictions bear and the bigger the gap between the rulers and the ruled. And the less likely it is for any given individual to move from one group to the other.
            • The word 'peer' is misused. The word 'intelligent' is misused. You are effectively proposing a class distinction: educated and uneducated, and as I pointed above, you appear to be excluding yourself from the uneducated, thus they are by your own definition not your peers. That is by design an unjust system to boot. Do you really, honestly believe that only worthy people were party officials? Only unworthy lowlifes where slaves? That blacks, browns, yellows, green-polka-dots are fundamentally 'less' than whites? Why? Why not? How is this any different? Good luck trying to get your way if someone with more power than yourself deems you inappropriate under an institutionalized discriminatory system.
            • Education levels are subject to debate, quality of education is not uniform, some types of education emphasise certain aspects of human life and other types underline different matters. Within the same country (any one) there are regional differences, how would those be accounted for? Without trying to insult you or anything, based solely on the stuff you wrote I consider you to be less well educated than myself and by your proposal I would deny you the right to reproduce because I consider your ideas wrong and dangerous. The problem is that because I believe what I believe I wouldn't permit that system to be implemented, but because you believe what you believe you would.

            It's highly unfeasible to try issuing licences for people to exercise their biology.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by xstonedogx (814876)
            Even if we accept the underlying premise...

            As horrific as it may be, the only way to keep this from happening is to indeed introduce some means of population control.


            Option A: Give the government control over a human experiment which will cause untold suffering, be vulnerable to abuse, is ethically and morally anathema to everyone I know, and is doomed to failure.
            Option B: Have more unprotected sex with a clean partners.

            I'll take Option B. Thanks.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Reziac (43301) *
            Once everyone has been bred for superior intelligence and there are no more morons... who's going to clean the toilets?

            [Leaving aside that most of the complete morons I've known are in fact "intelligent" people by any objective scale, but lack all trace of common sense.]

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by CommanderData (782739)

              Once everyone has been bred for superior intelligence and there are no more morons... who's going to clean the toilets?
              Our superior intelligence will allow us to design and build robots to take care of that!
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rtb61 (674572)
          Well in a modern society that is no longer true. The modern social society establishes itself as a net to provide care and support for all of it's members in the event they need assistance. To absolutely clarify of the issue, a modern society does not consider children to be a possession of the parents, they are not chattel to be bought and traded, once born they a mini citizens with the same rights of care and protection as other citizens, just as you an adult would not wish to be forcibly left under the c
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Angostura (703910)
      Oh excellent. A story from the Daily Mail. The Mail thrives by to scaring middle England through sensationalist reporting. A quick Google search reveals that the Mail is the only paper to have spoken to this family, and we have absolutely no idea what the facts of the case are, other than reported to the paper by the family itself.

      Still, by describing this as an act of terrorism, you show yourself as a true devotee of the Mail school of hyperbole. So well done you.
  • by monkeyboythom (796957) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:12PM (#22898146)
    I always thought it was called either "culling the herd" or "being a Darwin Award recipient".
  • At a public swimming pool we have gates, put up signs, have lifeguards and shallow ends, but we also teach children how to swim

    The needs of the US are different from the UK.

    Obese people just naturally float, just like the really big chunks in the septic tank (and politicians) always rise to the top ...

  • Middle ground (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eln (21727) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:13PM (#22898164) Homepage
    Starting off by calling it the "nanny state" is already trying to frame the debate in a way that reinforces particular biases.

    No, we should not attempt to foam pad the entire world so the precious little ones don't get hurt, but that doesn't mean we should just toss them out in the woods and let them fend for themselves either. Certain safety regulations are required for the functioning of an advanced society, many of which are created at least in part to keep children safe (school zones, crosswalks, etc).

    The debate should be about which regulations and safety precautions make sense, not about creating a false dichotomy by calling any regulation the imposition of a "nanny state".

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Gat0r30y (957941)

      not about creating a false dichotomy by calling any regulation the imposition of a "nanny state".
      you must be new here.
    • If we do this:

      we should just toss them out in the woods and let them fend for themselves


      Can we film it? Bet it would be fun to watch... kinda like battle royal...

      [badum-ching]
    • Re:Middle ground (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:21PM (#22898286)

      Unless I missed something, the entire report is basically arguing for such a middle ground. I don't see anywhere it says we should throw children into dangerous situations they can't cope with. Rather, it seems (from a first quick scan at least) to be advocating throwing children into somewhat dangerous situations carefully so they can learn to handle them safely in their own right.

      This sounds like the kind of common sense you'd get from someone who actually deals with children professionally and sorts out problems in real life. Oh, wait, she is. :-)

      Sadly, I gather she's decided that her television programmes weren't necessarily in the interests of the children participating and discontinued them now. That's a pity; they were very informative and seemed to be done quite responsibly from a naive but interested observer's point of view.

      • Re:Middle ground (Score:4, Insightful)

        by eln (21727) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:45PM (#22898652) Homepage
        What's this article of which you speak? I was mostly just objecting to using the term "nanny state" when the stated intention is to present an objective opinion. Clearly, the term "nanny state" is too loaded to form the basis of a rational discussion.
      • Re:Middle ground (Score:5, Insightful)

        by UncleTogie (1004853) * on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:57PM (#22898820) Homepage Journal

        I don't see anywhere it says we should throw children into dangerous situations they can't cope with.

        ...and I'm sick of self-righteous soccer moms telling me what is "too dangerous" for MY kids. They don't want their crotch-fruit to catch sight of a tit until they're 18, fine. They've no right to make that determination for the rest of us under the guise of "it'll warp their poor lil' minds!".

        The problem, IMHO, is that ANY simple childhood pleasure can be dangerous. I'll bet our older users can remember merry-go-rounds, and quite possibly being flung from one. A good real-world physics lesson, lost to time and litigation... all because a kid or three lost a baby-tooth after tumbling from one. Are they dangerous? Not especially... but shrill, overprotective parents will invariably make them out to be kid-killers. Ditto for see-saws.

        We need a better definition of "dangerous", not more protection from that which isn't....

        • Re:Middle ground (Score:4, Insightful)

          by QRDeNameland (873957) on Friday March 28, 2008 @06:10PM (#22900556)

          They don't want their crotch-fruit to catch sight of a tit until they're 18, fine. They've no right to make that determination for the rest of us under the guise of "it'll warp their poor lil' minds!".

          Where does this idea that tits are inappropriate for children come from, anyway? They're MADE FOR CHILDREN!!

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Reziac (43301) *
            I guess all those naked primitives in South America and Africa and Borneo must have kids with warped little minds, since they've seen nothing but naked tits every day of their lives....

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Alsee (515537)
          Oh hell. Ya write a post that is 99% Interesting and Informative and Insightful and reasonable and logical and you talk to people like adults... and 1% of the post ya put in the two lousy words "crotch fruit" and suddenly the only label you've got is (Score:5, Funny).

          Crotch Fruit.

          -
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by webmaster404 (1148909)

      No, we should not attempt to foam pad the entire world so the precious little ones don't get hurt, but that doesn't mean we should just toss them out in the woods and let them fend for themselves either. Certain safety regulations are required for the functioning of an advanced society, many of which are created at least in part to keep children safe (school zones, crosswalks, etc).

      Most of the things talked about aren't safety. Is the kid going to get hurt if they see something that scares them? Or if they see violence and no way should they ever be exposed to swear words. While some things are for safety this article isn't one of them.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      The debate should be about which regulations and safety precautions make sense, not about creating a false dichotomy by calling any regulation the imposition of a "nanny state".

      I admit that people are prone to thinking of this as being an example of a false dichotomy, but it isn't really.

      The basic fundamental difference between protecting kids and nanny state rules comes down to the intent. The former focuses on known threats that are the most likely to leave a kid dead or unable to function in the future and acknowledges that freak accidents will happen regardless of number of resources spent trying to prevent them. The later focuses on anything which could possible harm a child

    • by plague3106 (71849)
      School zones and crosswalks are fine; having crossing guards run out and demand you stop even though you have right of way is not.

      I think it's the latter that people are against, not the former. Overall, there seems to be an inclination to always blame the driver in any kind of accident. That's simply not reasonable, but the people doing this are the ones yelling "think of the children!"
      • Re:Middle ground (Score:5, Insightful)

        by LehiNephi (695428) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:42PM (#22898612) Journal
        I ran across a very insightful article a few years back, which is still just as true today:

        A Nation of Wimps [psychologytoday.com]

        The idea is that by over-protecting our children, we deprive them of the opportunity to learn for themselves, to learn to assess a situation and choose an appropriate course of action. In the long run, it actually hurts them, because they haven't had the chance to develop those skills.
        • by plague3106 (71849)
          Heh... maybe the UK only now found that article. :-)
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Hmm... how much of this is due to pushing by the mass media? Do wimps make good consumers and wage-slaves?
          • Re:Middle ground (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Alsee (515537) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @12:31AM (#22902876) Homepage
            It's not that wimps make good consumers and wage-slaves.
            It's that SCARED PARENTS will eagerly pay lots of money for products to make the scaries go away, and they are easy to manipulate into watching (and staying tuned to) scary TV filled with advertising, and they can easily be manipulated into voting for/against any candidate in the voting booth.

            *BOO!*

            -
      • Don't know where you live, but I've lived all over the US, and in every city, county and state I've lived in, pedestrians have the right of way at all corners and crosswalks, which are the only places I've ever seen crossing guards.

        This whole "crossing guards suck" and "Why do they always blame the driver?" line of reasoning seems like a personal tangent to me. You didn't, uhhhh, run over a kid by any chance, did you?
      • by ArcherB (796902)

        School zones and crosswalks are fine; having crossing guards run out and demand you stop even though you have right of way is not.

        Pedestrians always have the right of way. If a crossing guard runs out and tells you to stop, THEY have the right of way.

        I think it's the latter that people are against, not the former. Overall, there seems to be an inclination to always blame the driver in any kind of accident. That's simply not reasonable, but the people doing this are the ones yelling "think of the children!"

        It's like the guy said:

        At a public swimming pool we have gates, put up signs, have lifeguards and shallow ends, but we also teach children how to swim.

        He's not saying we should get rid of fences, gates and lifeguards. He's saying that we should ALSO teach our kids to swim in the event that children somehow get around the precautions we set up. I see it this way, it is the parents responsibility to teach their kids to swim. It is the state's responsibility to build fences around pools for the idiot parents w

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Certain safety regulations are required for the functioning of an advanced society

      A certain level of cultural awareness about what is and isn't safe might be required for a functioning society, but there is no inherent need for regulations. The modern world is no more dangerous that that of ancient agrarian societies, but the dangers have changed. Past cultures didn't need government regulations telling them not to eat all their seed stock, or not to confront a pack of wolves alone and unarmed. Nor do we
    • Humbug (Score:4, Interesting)

      by j_w_d (114171) on Friday March 28, 2008 @04:21PM (#22899216)
      The human race has successfully raised children for millenia, risks and all. The idea has always been to see them to adulthood, whenever that happens to roll around culturally, and then see them out the door. If this happens, you have successfully passed your Darwinian challenge course. If they learned enough from you in the process that they succeed in punting your grandkids out the door, the formula has continued to demonstrate its adaptive suitability. "Protecting" children - and even adults from miniscule risks, you know, terrorists for example, or guns even, is scarcely beneficial except to the nuerotic. Consider that the US homicide rate last year was 5.5/100K. The automobile related death rate is nearly three times that, and guns and cars are our favorite risks supposedly. The birthrate, at an all time low, is still one hundred times that. Violent USians haven't even nipped a dent their birthrate. The conclusion is that "protections" for such miserably minor risks do not make any sense demographically or economically. The only sense they DO make is within a society where media defines "social problems" - animal rights, disabled access, child risks, lead based paint, asbestos, ect. - and politicians act to look as if they are earning pay.

  • by FredFredrickson (1177871) * on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:14PM (#22898168) Homepage Journal
    But sometimes I confuse myself. I mean, sure, don't show children "adult" things, and make sure they don't swear... but why? Why exactly do we embrace an arbitrary concept of "innocence" in children? I believe being honest is the best way to raise children. Of course my child has already seen breasts, he was breast fed. Why deny their existance just months later? Why not explain how society works and give them the honest scoop?

    "Sex is only for adults, but since you asked..."

    Sometimes I hear a young kid swear in public and it always catches me off guard, thinking "geez, kids these days have no respect." But then I think- what is inherently bad about swear words anyhow? We're just safegarding them from things that we've deemed innapropriate in our society- that they don't even realize is inappropriate, because they're new to society. Why not be brutally honest with them instead?

    "Son, Fuck is a bad word that people don't like. Try not to say it in public or around your teacher. Also, don't use it around your parents, it's disrespectful."

    Treat them like children.. they'll act like children...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Joe Snipe (224958)
      That's how I have been raising my daughter. She is now four, and aside from a bit of shyness she seems pretty well adjusted. we'll see what happens once she is in school, correcting the other children on the myth of santa and the easter bunny. I foresee many parent-teacher meetings.
    • by Idiomatick (976696) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:29PM (#22898408)
      Agreed w/ almost every word. BUT swear words exist for a reason. You need a way to be rude in society. If someone is a real jerk to you being able to say "fuck off asshole" gives it weight. If there were no swear-words or they were used without notice they could not serve this purpose.
      • Hmmm... I have never though of it that way. That was a truly, insightful post. If I had mod points I would mod this post up.
      • Exactly. (Score:5, Funny)

        by ZombieRoboNinja (905329) on Friday March 28, 2008 @04:46PM (#22899546)
        We're protecting the swear words, not the kids.

        If we have six-year-olds running around saying "fuck" willy-nilly, all that does is ruin the shock value of a perfectly good swear word. At that point you might as well be saying "boink."

        "Oh yeah, boink me harder, baby."

        "If Johnson doesn't get that report in by Tuesday the whole department is boinked!"

        Now where's the fun in that? We'd just have to come up with a NEW swear word so horrifying that no child would be able to pronounce it without immediately being swallowed by the jaws of Hell, and honestly, I don't really feel like digging that far into the Windows API documentation.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by geekoid (135745)
      ". but why?"
      SO they fit in socially. In my house there is no such thing as 'Bad Words' only impolite words. Which is strictly enforced.

      Now, I don't knwo what you mean by 'adult'. Exposure to sexual situations buy young children have a negative impact later in life.
      As I'm sure you know, kids are not little adults.

      "Treat them like children.. they'll act like children..."
      treat them like adults.. they'll act like confused children and develop issue.

      Now, the care about these situation for a 2 year old is differe
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Forcing sexual abuse on a child will cause problems. Explaining sex to a child is natural. (however the actual sex talk probably should wait till around puberty).

        I'm not saying treat them like adults, just don't baby them. The idea is simple: give them just a little more responsibility than they know so they have room to grow. Don't give them room to grow, and they won't.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rossifer (581396)

          however the actual sex talk probably should wait till around puberty

          I think that waiting until the hormones are racing through their body is way too late. I was intensely curious about where I came from by the age of 8. I was also masturbating by the age of 6 (practice early! practice often!). I may have been precocious, but I feel strongly that waiting until the edge of puberty is waiting too long.

          My mom told me all about the birds and the bees shortly after my eighth birthday at my request. I remember

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eln (21727)
      A big part of parenting is teaching children how to function in society. The trick is to explain things to them at a time and in a way that they can understand given their emotional and mental development, and doing so in a way that resists transferring your own cynicism to them or that gives them more information than they're capable of processing at whatever age they are.

      For example, telling children swear words are inappropriate because they are not polite and can offend people is okay, but telling them
    • by Quadraginta (902985) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:46PM (#22898660)
      The problem with your thinking is that it seems to assume that children are just like adults, that they think the same way, have similar value systems, et cetera -- they just lack experience, so they should be "brought up to speed" in much the same way an ignorant adult would be.

      Not so. Children are fundamentally different from adults. They don't think the same way. They don't experience the world the same way. Check out any good textbook on cognitive development and couple it with close, unprejudiced observation of your own children.

      Most importantly, the way children think changes fairly rapidly as they grow. How a child reacts to a naked tit, for example, completely changes from age 1 to school-age, and again in middle school, and once again at sexual maturity. A wise parent considers these changes, and does not try to use the same reasoning and the same solutions at all ages.

      And, in recognition of the fact that children don't think the same way at the same age, society tends to say that certain experiences should be shoved into certain age ranges, when they are easiest to successfully understand and cope with (either for the child or for the adults around him). It's among our oldest traditions as a species, the idea that certain experiences are best at certain ages, and it would generally be gross folly to overturn them without damn good reason. ("Gee! Tt seems reasonable to me! What could possibly go wrong?" doesn't qualify, by the way.)

      The same arguments apply to purely intellectual stuff, too. For example, the present trend to teach algebra skills as early as grade 5 or 6 is almost certainly badly misguided. The mental circuitry required to easily learn algebra is usually (although not in every case) not "hooked up" until early adolescence. That means kids are tortured with stuff that is very hard to get, when waiting a few years would make it a piece of cake. Again, a failure to understand that children are not merely miniaturized, ignorant adults.
      • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday March 28, 2008 @04:38PM (#22899446) Homepage Journal
        Not so. Children are fundamentally different from adults. They don't think the same way. They don't experience the world the same way. Check out any good textbook on cognitive development and couple it with close, unprejudiced observation of your own children.

        It's true. My daughter (4.5 yrs) knows that a baby comes from a sperm from the Daddy and an egg from the Mommy and grows in her baby factory, but it has never occurred to her to ask how those two came to be together. An adult would pursue the inquiry to reduction at each level.

        The same arguments apply to purely intellectual stuff, too. For example, the present trend to teach algebra skills as early as grade 5 or 6 is almost certainly badly misguided. The mental circuitry required to easily learn algebra is usually (although not in every case) not "hooked up" until early adolescence.

        I read this idea elswhere a few weeks ago, and so decided to test it out. On a 20 minute car ride, my daughter learned the idea of X+ and X-, and thinks it's fun to solve for X, for small numbers anyway.

        Granted, that's not all of the study of algebra, but the idea of symbolic representation isn't beyond the grasp of a relatively intelligent preschooler (she's not a math savant). I think the right question to ask is, "what ideas from Algebra might be appropriate for a first grader?" Right now everybody is focused on whether Algebra I is appropriate for Age X.

        I think we're doing a disservice to learners by teaching:

        This is what math is.
        [insert 6 years]
        Actually, this is what math is.
        [insert 4 years]
        Turns out, no, this is what math is.
        [insert 4 years]
        Well, yeah, that's what one kind of math was, but here are a bunch of others.
        [insert 2 years]
        Turns out we're still figuring out what math is.

        We should be figuring out the right way to integrate rather than constantly stratifying. Granted, that's harder, but there are plenty of folks who like to study this stuff, and those of us stumbling around in the dark for lack of it would appreciate some real research.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        The problem with your thinking is that it seems to assume that children are just like adults...

        Many times, when people bring up the point of treating children with respect and intelligence somebody will inevitably say they are not just miniature adults.

        Of course children are not adults, either physically, mentally, or experientially. Children are not idiots either, and neither should they be treated like retarded adults or like trained dogs. Children should not be leashed or fenced in like pets. Children are human and need to be treated individually based on their own personalities and intelligence.

    • by bigtangringo (800328) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:49PM (#22898694) Homepage
      Your logic and facts have no place in politically charged public discourse.
    • by feepness (543479)

      But sometimes I confuse myself. I mean, sure, don't show children "adult" things, and make sure they don't swear... but why? Why exactly do we embrace an arbitrary concept of "innocence" in children? I believe being honest is the best way to raise children. Of course my child has already seen breasts, he was breast fed. Why deny their existance just months later? Why not explain how society works and give them the honest scoop?

      We don't deny they exist, we simply say that they do exist, but that we general keep them to ourselves.

      "Son, Fuck is a bad word that people don't like. Try not to say it in public or around your teacher. Also, don't use it around your parents, it's disrespectful."

      Swearing is used to express a particular emotional circumstance. If everyone swore whenever they felt like it, it would cease to be useful for the situations we use it for. Kind of like calling every marklar a marklar. Then marklar wouldn't be able to marklar when you were marklar or marklar. See what I'm saying? Since kids don't have the emotional maturity to make that distinction we simply ask the

  • Not only that... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OpenSourced (323149) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:14PM (#22898170) Journal
    At a public swimming pool we have gates, put up signs, have lifeguards and shallow ends, but we also teach children how to swim.

    Most importantly, nobody suggest that swimming pools should be outlawed.

    • by Fjandr (66656)
      I'm so glad you brought this up. We should outlaw swimming pools post-haste. Think of all the children who have drowned in them! Won't somebody think of the children?!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rossz (67331)
      In the U.S., more children drown in backyard (private) swimming pools in two days than are killed by gun accidents for the entire year. Since "think of the children" is one of the major arguments of the Brady Bunch, I think we should "think of the children" and outlaw the far more dangerous private swimming pool!

      The number of deaths came from (I think) the CDC about a year or so ago. I don't remember the exact citation, but I do remember 2 days vs 1 year very clearly. I'd google it, but I can't be bother
  • by TheWanderingHermit (513872) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:15PM (#22898190)
    In "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg," Mark Twain warned about this kind of thing. The town was so proud of their righteousness that they wanted to keep that reputation so they made sure kids were never subjected to temptation so they'd never do bad things, then a stranger comes by, gets fed up with their self righteousness that all he does is tempt all the leading citizens. Since none of them have had much experience with temptation or resisting greed, they all fall in his trap and he shows how corruptible they are.

    They change the two motto from "Lead us not into temptation" to "Lead us into temptation" because they learn that only by dealing with temptation will they learn to fight it.

    It's the same thing here, just took over 100 years later for anyone to actually have the guts to stand up and say it.
  • by Asmor (775910) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:15PM (#22898202) Homepage
    Objective - Adj - A viewpoint which is closer to your own

    Granted, I totally agree that a nanny state is a Very Bad Thing (tm), but it seems disingenuous to say that because the report doesn't glorify a nanny state, it is therefore more objective.
  • by sm62704 (957197) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:17PM (#22898230) Journal
    Think of the politicians! Think of the gadflies!

    Won't somebody think of the busybodies?
  • by Gat0r30y (957941) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:18PM (#22898248) Homepage Journal
    NEVER SHAKE A BABY!
  • by iamacat (583406) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:20PM (#22898268)
    Children have parents coming to swimming pool with them. Imagine sending a 5 year old to swim by him/herself and not checking back for 3 hours. Now why would you do the same with an online (or just violent) game or Internet browsing/chat/so on session?

    Now the situation would be reversed for a 16 year old teenager. He/she is expected to live independently in just two years, so supervision (on Internet or in the swimming pool) should only happen on voluntary discussion basis of if there is a reason to suspect problems.
  • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:21PM (#22898274) Journal
    People like risk because the thrill of danger followed by the realization of success pushes our pleasure buttons.
    Life is dangerous. It's a terminal disease. We can't make everything safe no matter how much we try, because we're all going to die anyway. However, we can make life increasingly unpleasant by removing all the fun, interesting parts of it in the interests of a fundamentally unreachable goal of complete safety.

    Thing is: it's a shifting goal. In the early 1900's, being able to buy dynamite at the hardware store made sense. Does it now, from a societal viewpoint? There *are* things that become increasingly dangerous as populations and technologic sophistication rise, so maybe we do need to change our rules over time, to deal with shifting situations. It's not like all safety laws and regulations are bunk. I'm living proof that seatbelts save lives, and if cars weren't legally required to have them, I might've been squished flat by a semi.

    The thing is: we, as a culture, need to understand that 'safety' is not, by itself, sufficient reason to pass laws. A better understanding of the consequences is required, to prevent us ending up in a self-imposed prison.
    • Thing is: it's a shifting goal. In the early 1900's, being able to buy dynamite at the hardware store made sense. Does it now, from a societal viewpoint?
      Yes. You haven't seen the size of the roaches in my place.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by plague3106 (71849)
      Well, regarding seatbelts, its a good thing one was able to save you. On the flip side though, 33% of the time there's a fatal accident and some of the occupants wore seatbelts and some didn't, those that did were the one's that died. Everything is the same, except wearing of the seat belt.

      Now, take it a step further. You choose to wear your seatbelt and it helped. But why do you feel you have the right to tell someone else they must do so, especially given that a third of the time a seatbelt could kill
  • Tags (Score:4, Funny)

    by GWLlosa (800011) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:24PM (#22898318)
    I know we were all expecting "suddenoutbreakofcommonsense", but I was really hoping someone would tag it "whatcouldpossiblygowrong" instead.
  • Oh really (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:24PM (#22898332) Homepage
    I was confused there. I could have sworn that creating a risk-averse society was going to lead to a more daring and entrepeneurial economy, a government with balls of steel that stands up for the principles its society claims to hold dear, and a society of people who are independent and capable of functioning on their own without cradle-to-grave hand holding.

    Of course the greater issue is how we got down this path in the first place. People don't want to admit it, but it's the feminization of society. It is offensive to modern values to suggest such a thing, but simple observation will show you that the outrage over these restrictions is far more common and fiercer in men than women. Women may disagree with the excesses, but they don't disagree with the principle nearly as much as men do because as voting records have shown countless times in many countries, women tend to value security over freedom. Ever wonder why most libertarians tend to be men?

    I'm not trying to bash women here, I'm just saying that society as a whole has taken on an overtly feminized aura to it. There is no balance anymore, the way there used to be.
    • Re:Oh really (Score:4, Interesting)

      by plague3106 (71849) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:38PM (#22898566)
      Hmm, interesting point, certainly something to think about. Perhaps women also tend to, more than anything, even if it means their life is forfeit, protect children. This is then followed by the irrational "if you don't agree with me you don't care about children" line that seems to be shouted at anyone that disagrees.
    • society as a whole has taken on an overtly feminized aura to it. There is no balance anymore, the way there used to be.

      I'm not necessarily disagreeing with the rest of your viewpoint, but society as a whole has been overtly masculated for as far back as when men won their women over by clubbing them and dragging them back to their caves. Saying that there was balance during the time when kids ran around with firecrackers blowing their hands off with their fathers standing on the sidelines going "boys will b
  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:25PM (#22898352) Homepage Journal
    by the Journal of DUH.

    Besides the nanny state, what about this concept that "everybody wins". Society needs mediocrity to reward the true winners. It also needs Darwin Award winners.
  • I propose the following test for all children (5 would be an appropriate age) -

    1) Tell them that strangers candy always tastes the best.

    2) Tell them that a highway makes a great playground.

    3) Tell them that walking around in Harlem with a shirt that has a racial slur is a good idea.

    Those who survive these tests not only will have a firm understanding of how our society works, but have a healthy dose of common sense. The others we can weed out before they get a chance to breed.

  • Good heavens, this is a godawful summary. The submitter seems to have been so busy making every word as inflammatory or nerd-snide as possible that he only vaguely alluded to what the report is about! Also, I don't think he knows what "objective" means.
  • I was running down the highway a little after sunset and a girl, maybe 13, walked right into my path and I almost ran her over. She was in a bikini, walking home from the beach I guess.

    Talk about situational awareness.
  • that just 'thinking of the children' and locking the bad stuff away is actually setting them up for failure later in life.
    Only when danger isn't an issue should you unlock that bad stuff. I wouldn't give a child a chainsaw or a gun without strict supervision, a few rules and an expectation that the child is responsible enough to handle it. I think I shot my first gun when I was like 10.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LehiNephi (695428)

      I wouldn't give a child a chainsaw or a gun without strict supervision, a few rules and an expectation that the child is responsible enough to handle it.

      And I think that's appropriate. The problem arises when people in authority take away a parent's right to teach their kid to use a power tool or a gun altogether. It used to be "You're the parent. You decide when your kid's old enough to do X." Now it has become "We, the government, know better than you whether your child is old enough to do X." Of cou

  • by ericferris (1087061) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:38PM (#22898558) Homepage
    I think it's a great idea to warn people about the danger of the nanny state. I showed that article to a friend of mine, who is a Congress staffer in Washington D.C. He was enthusiastic. His boss will present it in commission. They'll form a committee to formalize these recommandation and will draft a bill.

    The bill will create a new Federal agency, the Protection Against Nanny State Agency. This new Agency will monitor public behavior and watch for complacency and exaggerated reliance on the State. Its agents will have power to monitor private conversations and intervene in public or private places. Whenever someone will be heard saying "they oughta be a law" or "why doesn't Congress do something", the agents will intervene, battering down doors if needed, and vigorously wag an aseptic, non-latex-gloved finger in the face of the offender, who will be sternly warned: "That would be asking for a nanny state, Sonny".

    The new Agency will cost an estimated $134 billion a year. But this is a small price to pay, considering the Federal government will protect us against the growing menace of the Nanny State.

  • There are two sides to this argument, the problem is that it's nothing more than two different a priori or axiomatic sets of philosophical truths. Unfortunately I rarely see either party attempting to find common group as they believe the other is necessarily fallacious because they stand in contradiction to a fairly emotionally invested topic. Saying "Children and young people need to be empowered to keep themselves safe" is has the same philosophical weight as saying "we need to protect our children in t
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by taustin (171655)
      There are two sides to this argument

      I disagree. There are no sides at all. The issue is one of continuously varying shades of gray. It's not a binary equation; there are more than two answers. There are, in fact infinite answers, to each variation of the question.

      In some cases, people should be left alone to live their lives as they see fit. In other cases, they should receive guidance and protection from the government. This varies by the circumstances - everyone should have the government look for obvious
  • Never mind the children -- how do we teach the damn adults to take care of themselves? What a great world it would be if people took responsibility for their own lives rather than blaming the government for not giving them enough "free" goodies.
  • I give my 100% approval to this report.

    On a completely different note, I would also suggest there's never been a better time to buy my flaming, radioactive razor-blade ball. It's the happy fun ball [google.com] for the next generation. Fun for all ages!
  • by asc99c (938635) on Friday March 28, 2008 @03:58PM (#22898838) Homepage
    news - there's a great tag. Can someone also tag it slashdot in case we forget?
  • its kinda sad. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by apodyopsis (1048476) on Friday March 28, 2008 @04:23PM (#22899242)
    when I was younger (and no, I'm not that old) me and some friends would regularly meet up in the morning, raid respective parental kitchens for a pack lunch and vanish for 9-10 hours. We'd walk >5miles, make swings from old rope and swing out over the water cress beds, get soaked, throw stuff at each other and generally behave like children. This was before sat nav, gps, mobile phones and our parents had no way of contacting us. We all had small change for the public phones and the one time we needed help (someone broke a coller bone) we managed on our own to organise things.

    It was simply how children behaved.

    Now mothers are frightened to let children out of their sight, and a whole generation is growing up mollycoddled and unable to think on their own or take risks. Worse, numerous studies show that without exposure to other people, children to play with etc., they grow up lacking many social traits they need to learn from their peers and with little immunity for many common viruses. And don't even get me started on education.

    It's sad, and I wonder (a) how we got to this situations and (b) how to get out of it.
  • Nanny State (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Brandybuck (704397) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @02:12AM (#22903180) Homepage Journal
    The term "Nanny State" refers to government treating its citizens like children. It is a contrast to the Daddy State that punishes you if you've been bad, and the Mommy State that shields you from the consequences of your actions. A Nanny State is one that is overly protective. All three assert that adults are too immature to run their own lives and that government must run their lives for them.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanny_state [wikipedia.org]

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