The Kids Really Are All Right: Our Children Have Never Been Safer - Pacific Standard: The Science of Society
Hard to believe—with milk cartons and AMBER alerts reminding parents daily of our greatest fears—but child victimization rates in the United States have dropped dramatically over the last three decades and may be at their lowest point ever. Between 1970 (when detailed figures became available) and 2009 every category of child victimization has declined: child sexual abuse down 53 percent; physical abuse down 52 percent; aggravated assault down 69 percent; robbery down 62 percent; larceny down 54 percent. Bullying has dropped by a third in the last five years. And despite the horrors and headlines of stranger abduction—this year it’s the Cleveland kidnappings; a few years ago it was Jaycee Lee Dugard—confirmed cases are so rare (perhaps 100 or so a year) that the odds of your child being kidnapped and murdered stand at about 1.5 million to one.
30/40/50/60 years ago we did not have the ubiquitous instant news-feed that is the Internet. You rarely hear news of molestation, murder, ****, etc in other cities unless you went to your local library and actively searched for it. Even then, such news took days if not weeks to reach our ears, if ever.
Nowadays a quick Google of "child ****" or "child kidnapping" would give you hundreds of thousands of results from all over the globe. The more naive among us would automatically assume such crimes have exploded when in the grand scheme of things, they are still exceedingly rare. They're just more easily sensationalized as any moron with a computer can forward and comment on such nonsense.
Our kids are safer than they were at any time in history. The rise in 'helicopter parenting' is a direct result of such paranoia generated by the Internet. Hopefully we will grow out of it at some point.