How to easily solve “helicopter parenting” by providing a safe way for children to learn about safety and danger
Due to the high degree of safety in modern society, the idea of what is “safe” vs “dangerous” has changed. As overall safety increases, people begin to see previously-acceptable situations as dangerous. This cycle may continue as time goes on, unless action is taken.
This concept is perhaps most evident in the increasingly conservative construction of children’s playgrounds, where even the humble swing set is under threat of removal due to its perceived danger.
Fig 1: Example of a playground.
A possible solution to this safety-to-danger perception treadmill:
In order to re-calibrate people’s perception of safety and danger, we suggest providing an extremely dangerous situation in juxtaposition with a “normal” situation. This way people can get a proper grasp of the full range of possible options for safety / danger.
Fig 2: Example of something that would generally be regarded as “dangerous” across all human cultures.
Specifically, the idea is to have a playground with a “normal” section and then a (possibly fenced off) deadly snake pit.
This would allow both adults and children to realize that the deadly snake pit was “very dangerous” and that the swing sets were relatively safe in comparison. No doubt this new realization would also pay dividends in many other aspects of life. Education is very important!
Fig 3: Artist’s rendition of the final “safety and danger” playground.
Left: safety. Right: danger.
PROS: Would help provide useful perspective on the degrees of safety and danger in modern society. Would help children learn the various degrees to which something can be dangerous. Additionally, would provide employment for hard-working snakes.
CONS: It’s hard to imagine any downsides or problems to this proposal.