Confusing Security Risks with Moral Judgments

Interesting research that shows we exaggerate the risks of something when we find it morally objectionable.

From an article about and interview with the researchers:

To get at this question experimentally, Thomas and her collaborators created a series of vignettes in which a parent left a child unattended for some period of time, and participants indicated the risk of harm to the child during that period. For example, in one vignette, a 10-month-old was left alone for 15 minutes, asleep in the car in a cool, underground parking garage. In another vignette, an 8-year-old was left for an hour at a Starbucks, one block away from her parent's location.

To experimentally manipulate participants' moral attitude toward the parent, the experimenters varied the reason the child was left unattended across a set of six experiments with over 1,300 online participants. In some cases, the child was left alone unintentionally (for example, in one case, a mother is hit by a car and knocked unconscious after buckling her child into her car seat, thereby leaving the child unattended in the car seat). In other cases, the child was left unattended so the parent could go to work, do some volunteering, relax or meet a lover.

Not surprisingly, the parent's reason for leaving a child unattended affected participants' judgments of whether the parent had done something immoral: Ratings were over 3 on a 10-point scale even when the child was left unattended unintentionally, but they skyrocketed to nearly 8 when the parent left to meet a lover. Ratings for the other cases fell in between.

The more surprising result was that perceptions of risk followed precisely the same pattern. Although the details of the cases were otherwise the same -­ that is, the age of the child, the duration and location of the unattended period, and so on -­ participants thought children were in significantly greater danger when the parent left to meet a lover than when the child was left alone unintentionally. The ratings for the other cases, once again, fell in between. In other words, participants' factual judgments of how much danger the child was in while the parent was away varied according to the extent of their moral outrage concerning the parent's reason for leaving.

Posted on August 25, 2016 at 11:12 AM • 48 Comments

Comments

markAugust 25, 2016 11:25 AM

But folks I object to morally *are* security risks! I mean, all the funnymentalists in Congress that don't "believe" in climate change are endangering us, and our children and grandchildren. And their hatred of blacks, sorry, wetnbacks, sorry, Muslims does nothing but decrease our security....

mark

Yet another BruceAugust 25, 2016 11:28 AM

Interesting article, thanks. It looks like cut-and-paste picked up a text fragment from a sidebar. If you care, you may want to edit it out.

David AAugust 25, 2016 12:02 PM

While there's certainly some interesting psychology involved here, I think it would be quite easy to find a rational explanation for the risk discrepancy by considering what would happen next in each of the scenarios described. For example, if the mother is hit by a car, then we would expect emergency services to respond, and perhaps the ambulance crew would look after the child or call the next of kin. If the mother leaves to meet a lover, we can infer that it's unlikely anybody will intervene to care for the child.

For me, the moral judgement isn't that important. I don't feel any differently about the safety of the child if the mother goes to meet a partner vs having an affair. But the notion that the mother might recklessly leave the child unattended would imply that the child might often be unsupervised and, if so, often in heightened danger. That seems like a rational assessment of the risk to me.

brinyAugust 25, 2016 12:04 PM

Interesting implications for the system of trial by jury and the presentation of cases by a prosecutor. Not that they haven't figured that out for themselves.

PeterAugust 25, 2016 12:16 PM

These results don't surprise me at all. People simply aren't rational creatures. By and large, we react instinctively to situations and then try to rationalize that reaction after the fact (if we bother to think about it at all). The people in this study didn't think "morally objectionable therefore dangerous" at all. Rather, they were disgusted by the observed behaviour and then *invented* a threat to justify that reaction.

HarrisonAugust 25, 2016 12:41 PM

I think it stands to say that the negligent unprotection of your offspring in this context of meeting a lover versus unwilling incapacitation of a capable guardian stands to say that it is a greater risk NOT FROM A MORAL PERSPECTIVE ALONE. An inherent risk to the species is present in the act of leaving your offspring unprotected versus incapacitation - perhaps the perceived risk is not a moral basis, but instead a capability to ensure the survival of your offspring. Just my 2C for a study that could be misinterpreted.

dbmAugust 25, 2016 12:49 PM

I am quite honestly surprised at the lack of articles discussing the security risks posed by M$ and their Windows Update fiasco over the past year. Perhaps they are children too? With the almost inert performance of the updater program, not only have people been exposed to rogue agents, but many people simply cannot get the updater to perform, and turn it off out of disgust...

Nukite, Wan to!August 25, 2016 1:01 PM

They should have controlled for the subject's position on the Altemeyer RWA axis. Statist propaganda constantly bangs on authoritarian themes by associating disfavored activities with moral panics. Case in point: the natural response of using Tor to defend your privacy and freedom of association rights. Statist media react with DARKNET PEDO DARKNET PEDO 1!!!!!! Officially circumscribed discourse chalks that up to sensationalism, but the US Stasi spoonfeeds compliant journalists with empirically void factoids for approved stories. So of course in the prior post you see dimbulb cop types parroting the canned manipulation.

Sincere compliments on a deft 1-2 combination in these last two posts. It's probably too much to expect cop types to catch on the subtle Socratic method here, so we shall spell it out as a public service.

Dr. I. Needtob AtheAugust 25, 2016 1:41 PM

I think what Nukite is trying to say is that we tend to exaggerate risks that could be avoided and forgive those that can't.

JimAugust 25, 2016 1:42 PM

Might be related to why we talk/worry about terrorism so much, and basically ignore the dangers from heart disease?

AppSecAugust 25, 2016 2:06 PM

The challenge with the data supporting lower crime is that could be as a direct result of parents/community paying more attention to their kids overall. If parents weren't being as attentive to their kids, the crime rate may still be that high.

I tend to disagree with that argument, but I'm not sure how you would go about proving that. Of course with cell phones, video cameras, and all other tech, one could argue that even if I was not watching the kid directly, something somewhere is.

Greg JaxonAugust 25, 2016 5:12 PM

This study proves that psych experiment subjects are unable to distinguish between two similar-sounding questions. It merely confirms that people no longer read, nor listen closely enough to catch even the broadest of meanings, let alone any nuance.

GNU/HurdAugust 25, 2016 5:18 PM

Setting aside the security concerns that derives from reason the child was left unattended, taking the reason into account seem to be quite useful:
This social behavior *seems* to be a mechanism that would favor the group over the individual:
This would refrain the individual from being too selfish and putting the people (of the group) in danger for selfish reasons, or reasons that do not benefit the group.

I didn't read yet "Liars and outliers" but it seem very interesting.

SomeOne.

{}August 25, 2016 6:41 PM

Want to know what I think is morally objectionable? The amount of effort expended to undermine freedom of speech and freedom of conscience:
https://citizenlab.org/2016/08/million-dollar-dissident-iphone-zero-day-nso-group-uae/

Ahmed Mansoor is an internationally recognized human rights defender, blogger, and member of Human Rights Watch’s advisory committee. Mansoor, who is based in the UAE, was jailed for eight months in 2011 along with four other activists for supporting a pro-democracy petition. After he was released, Mansoor’s passport was confiscated, his car was stolen, and $140,000 disappeared from his bank account. Mansoor is banned from traveling overseas, and his work continues to attract significant harassment and punishment
On the morning of August 10, 2016, Mansoor received an SMS text message that appeared suspicious. The next day he received a second, similar text. The messages promised “new secrets” about detainees tortured in UAE prisons, and contained a hyperlink to an unfamiliar website. The messages arrived on Mansoor’s stock iPhone 6 running iOS 9.3.3.

Remarkably, this case marks the third commercial “lawful intercept” spyware suite employed in attempts to compromise Mansoor. In 2011, he was targeted with FinFisher’s FinSpy spyware, and in 2012 he was targeted with Hacking Team’s Remote Control System. Both Hacking Team and FinFisher have been the object of several years of revelations highlighting the misuse of spyware to compromise civil society groups, journalists, and human rights workers.

A threat to investigative journalists, intellectuals, human rights workers, environmentalists, pacifists, democracy activists, and other such misfits is a threat to us* all. How are we going to prevent "lawful intercept" spyware from being misused?
*"Us" meaning the 7 billion inhabitants of this ball of rock.

LennyAugust 25, 2016 6:45 PM

When I lived in Phoenix, I was visiting the farmers coop one day and a little girl about 3 to 4 came up to me and asked where her daddy was. I walked her throughout the store until we found her father talking to someone on the opposite side from where he had left her. It was hard to believe that he would see someone he knew and wanted to talk to run off and leave his little girl to become really scared like that. I personally will try to assist a child, at least take him/her to a store manager. I am always conscience of how child protection agencies today are quick to take away children from their parents for the most trivial reasons.
Something I heard that took place in New Jersey. I little boy got separated from his parents in a mall. He became somewhat terrified and went up to a man to ask for help. As the man was standing there talking to him, his parents came up and started screaming that the man had taken away their child. The police became involved and arrested him. As it turned out, the parents made the false claim because they were afraid of getting in trouble themselves with child protection. The accused was finally released, but what a thing to have to go through.

DMAugust 25, 2016 6:45 PM

I wonder what this says for an individuals policy preferences... For example, there are those on the right that find illegal immigration morally objectionable because a law was broken, but a person on the left does not because an illegal immigrant is only seeking to find a more fulfilling/rewarding/free living arrangement. Accordingly, the right will point out every instance of an illegal immigrant committing or being party to a violent crime as a massive risk while the left attempts to downplay such occurrences as isolated and unrepresentative of the whole; the right then gets painted as xenophobic bigots and the left is viewed as a bunch of overly accommodating relativists.

john smithAugust 25, 2016 9:14 PM

This comment by Peter FTW:

"Rather, they were disgusted by the observed behaviour and then *invented* a threat to justify that reaction"

Bob Altemeyer found this is very common in people who score high on his Right Wing Authoritarian (RWA) scale. These folks are largely incapable when it comes to reason, analytical thought, and logical consistency.

Their "gut" tells them the right answer, and then they grab onto any line of thought that would justify it. Any argument that reaches the right answer must be right, because it produced the right answer. No, seriously, that's how it works.

Asking them to do a critical analysis is like asking them to deadlift three times their bodyweight - it simply ain't gonna happen, and if they make an attempt it will be ugly. Step away from the bar, Bro.

My wife and I took the RWA test in Bob's free ebook. She scored the lowest score possible. I scored a few points higher. It explains a lot. His ebook is enjoyable and enlightening. Recommended.

Moral JudgeAugust 25, 2016 9:41 PM

"Interesting research that shows we exaggerate the risks of something when we find it morally objectionable."

Look no further than the first comment by @mark for a perfect example.

DBAugust 25, 2016 9:59 PM

I don't see this as confusing security risks with moral judgments at all. I see it as a risk/benefit analysis. Leaving your child alone in a car, even under relatively safe conditions, is a risk. So the question is, what benefit are you getting for taking that risk? If it's some kind of emergency, that might be forgivable. If it's for purely selfish reasons, like to meet a lover, it's not. And if, as in the "hit by a car" example, the leaving was entirely unintentional, that might be more forgivable.

john smithAugust 25, 2016 10:19 PM

Moral Judge:

"Look no further than the first comment by @mark for a perfect example."

I nominate DB for second place with this compelling submission:

"I don't see this as confusing security risks with moral judgments at all"

Step away from the bar, Bro.

GweihirAugust 25, 2016 11:07 PM

Just shows that ordinary people are completely incompetent when it comes to estimating and dealing with risks. A fact that politicians routinely exploit to get the laws they want passed and to get elected. And if you look at that throughout history, this fact has been known for a long, long time to all that are good at acquiring and maintaining power.

Also explains nicely why today's politicians are typically completely incompetent at their core job, but quite adept at this type of manipulation: Extremely perverted incentives.

GweihirAugust 25, 2016 11:30 PM

@john smith:

I second the recommendation of Bob Altemeyer's "The Authoritarians" (free eBook, Google finds it).

While my PhD is in CS and I am doning only moderate amounts of statistics, the methods used and results presented by Altemeyer are completely sound as far as I can tell. Of course, this being a book and not a scientific paper, he liberally adds personal opinion, but always marks it as such. (This is also the largest criticism by opponents that all seem to be unable to recognize the distinction and mark themselves as like high-RWA candidates that way...)

And it explains a lot. Personally, I rate this in the same importance-class as the Dunning-Kruger effect (which is related). It is also an enjoyable read. That is unless you score high on the included RWA test, in which case you will likely find it garbled and repulsive leftist propaganda that explains nothing, because the notion that there could be a problem with you or your views is obviously completely absurd and hence the methods and findings presented _must_ be wrong.

ianfAugust 26, 2016 12:18 AM


ADMINISTRIVIA

@ Gweihir seconds the recommendation of Bob Altemeyer's "The Authoritarians" (free eBook, Google finds it). [cc: john smith, Nukite, Wan to!]
I don't know much about that RWA scale. I do know, however, that you, Mr. PhD in CS, score an absolute 0 ("zero," integer) on the Altruism scale, and likewise 100% on the Egoism ditto.

Because, acc. to your "method thinking," all interested parties can google for the ebook (i.e. same effort x n); while you doing it just once, and posting the link would have been WAAAAY TOO MUCH to expect from you. Because your time is so much more valuable than the accumulated that of others, we get it now. I suppose we should count ourselves lucky that we found out so easily where on the Complete-to-Nil [profanity deleted by moderator] scale you stand, not that that particular knowledge will make much of a difference in our daily lives.

GweihirAugust 26, 2016 12:35 AM

@ianf:

I do not even need to comment that. Your language and stance already completely disqualifies you from civilized discourse.

ianfAugust 26, 2016 2:10 AM


If you didn't, then you wouldn't have, but apparently you did, so you commented. Perhaps try to be/act consistently the next time?

Sorry, I forgot that unlike us others, you, Gweihir, are by default without fault rhyme automatic. #FTR my language is English, my stance that of a critic. You don't like it, tough; I don't like your egocentric stance either—which is why I took time off my busy schedule to devote to your INFALLIBLE ways. I'll leave it to others to decide whether that "completely disqualifies me from civilized discourse" – which, in your case, was a self-centered monologue anyway, remember?

WaelAugust 26, 2016 2:26 AM

IANFSTRIVIA

Given the moderator's peculiar tolerance to a particular poster, I'm tending to think it's one of several possibilities:

  1. Alerting the moderator to spam links gives one more lives; brownie points go a long way
  2. @Bruce is running an experiment for his next upcoming book
  3. The moderator hired him to clean house
  4. The moderator got bored and spawned a sockpuppet to participate in the fun
:)

Joe KAugust 26, 2016 2:30 AM

Links to download Bob Altemeyer's book The Authoritarians in pdf format, which is freely available online (as noted by @Gweihir) and described on his Wikipedia page as a layperson's account of his research findings, can be found on this page:

https://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

To the commenters here who brought Altemeyer up in the first place, and discussed the pertinence of his work, thank you. I look forward to some interesting reading.

Clive RobinsonAugust 26, 2016 2:35 AM

@ {},

*"Us" meaning the 7 billion inhabitants of this ball of rock.

What you realy mean to say is,

    *"Us" meaning the 99% of the 7 billion inhabitants of this ball of rock that have no say.

WaelAugust 26, 2016 2:38 AM

@Joe K,

To the commenters here who brought Altemeyer up in the first place, and discussed the pertinence of his work, thank you. I look forward to some interesting reading.

None other than @Clive Robinson recommended the book - I found it to be boring -- not my cup of tea. Whenever I can't sleep, I start reading it and I'm gone in a jiffy...

https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013/02/friday_squid_bl_366.html#c1177026

Just giving credit where credit is due :) Better luck with the book...

Peter GalbavyAugust 26, 2016 2:45 AM

I am relishing the subjective irony in many of the comments. Keep it up folks, many of us need some light-hearted and unintentional comedy.

ianfAugust 26, 2016 2:49 AM

@ Joe K.: […] “Bob Altemeyer's book The Authoritarians in pdf format, which is freely available online (as noted by @Gweihir) and described on his Wikipedia page as a layperson's account of his research findings
Not to be petty, or anything, but that your "his Wiki" page colloquially refers to the last mentioned there, Gweihir's wiki page, even if logically to the Altmeyer's one. But nothing's broken, so we're good (are we?)

Of course, all that confusion could have been avoided had only Gweihir FOR ONCE asked himself whether supplying a granular link to a free download of something he refers to would OR WOULD NOT enhance his posted opinion.

Clive RobinsonAugust 26, 2016 3:03 AM

@ All,

A moral question for you...

When I was a child and cars were still a relative scarcity, it was not considered a problem to leave your child in your car for a short while when poping into a shop etc.

Now cars are almost universal leaving your child in your car even for mear moments is considered irresponsible.

However when I was a child we had prams for babies, but buggies/strollers were virtually unknown.

Now however we see children over the age of five still being pushed around in buggies/strollers "strapped in for safety". However you often see mothers shopping with such encumbered strollers, just leave them in aisles whilst they get items from shelves etc as much as fifty feet or in other aisles...

Is such behaviour any more or less reprehensible than doing the same with a car?

Joe KAugust 26, 2016 3:17 AM

@Wael: "None other than @Clive Robinson recommended […]"

Heh, cool. I appreciate your personal review, as well. Regardless of whether it will help me sleep, I'm also curious whether it sheds any light on the obedience tests administered by on-line contractors that have emerged as part of the application process for certain kinds of low-wage jobs in my region.

Can't be sure when I'll get around to reading it, actually. I'm still slowly working through Mano's textbook Digital Design* which you recommended a while ago and which, by the way, I find very satisfyingly clear.

* FTR, the Mano book looks available here, for those who find amazon purchases inaccessible: http://bookfi.net/s/?q=mano+ciletti+digital+design

DroneAugust 26, 2016 5:11 AM

Who pays for these idiotic "studies" anyway? I hope it isn't me - the Taxpayer!

When a responsible person assesses risk, it is done at multiple levels. For example: First you assess the immediate risk; is a child playing alone safely beside a village lane, or is the child about to step into a busy highway?

Eventually, you will assess the complete risk; how was this child put at risk in the first place? In one case the child was abandoned by a parent who was off on a tryst. In the other case, the parent was detained through no fault of his or her own.

In the end, your total assessment involves all of the factors. After the incident, objectively separating the factors when interviewing observers - is impossible!

What a waste of time and money (but at least no talent was wasted)...

Joe KAugust 26, 2016 5:54 AM

@Drone "Who pays for these idiotic "studies" anyway? I hope it isn't me - the Taxpayer!"

Did you even read the article?

First paragraph:

On December 20, 2014, Rafi Meitiv, age 10, and his sister Dvora, age 6, were walking home from a park about a mile from their home in Silver Spring, Maryland. A bystander saw them walking and called 911 to report, quite literally, a sighting of unaccompanied children. Police picked the children up and drove them home. When their father told police that Rafi and Dvora had permission to walk home from the park, the officer asked him, “Don’t you realize how dangerous the world is? Don’t you watch TV?” The police officer called in Child Protective Services, who threatened to remove the children from their home unless their father signed a ‘safety plan’ promising never to leave the children unsupervised.

Taxes pay for police departments. And for Child Protective Services. And (in part) for the University of California at Irvine, where the authors pursue their research.

If the story above is true (and I've seen nobody dispute it), agents of two of those three institutions behaved in utterly irrational fashion, to the detriment of society, and agents of the third have responded with some timely research to shed light onto the systemic problem it illustrates.

Whatever criteria you're using, Drone, to select the state institutions you decide to rave about de-funding, I suggest you re-evaluate your priorities.

Nick PAugust 26, 2016 6:02 AM

@ Clive

Two different issues at play. One is risk of kidnapping and one is risk of dying in the car. The kidnapping risk is extremely low to the point it could safely be ignored in most places. Being inside significantly reduces that risk given most child kidnappers are cowards not wanting to be seen.

The other risk is something we see over here in papers and news on occasion. Mainly during hot summers. They leave the kid, the dog, whoever or whatever in the car when it's 100+ degrees. Someone usually spots the situation before it gets too bad. I can't remember how often people or pets die from it. It's just something that pisses Americans off a lot. So, if you heard griping about leaving inside cars, it could've been a reference to this problem without the context. Unless they specifically stated security...

GweihirAugust 26, 2016 8:53 AM

@ianf:

The book is available from several sources, each one may vanish at any time. This blog gets often referred to years later and so telling people to spend 10 seconds googeling it is the right choice, in particular, as those reading is will probably invest something like 40000-100000x of the time the googeling takes. And they will still have to download it! Maybe you think I should cut&paste the whole thing here? Last I checked, the downloading may take _longer_ than the googeling!

Your completely disproportional and unmerited (and highly insulting) compliant shows one thing: You have some severe defect in your mind and a lot of pent-up aggression. A dangerous combination. You should have that professionally evaluated.

Also, the moderator here seems to be asleep at the wheel.

paulAugust 26, 2016 9:08 AM

I could see a slight justification to the moral-panic effect in the form of inferred extra variables. Somebody who does something we don't like (and maybe even consider risky)is going to be considered less good at assessing other risks in a situation, so the person going to meet a lover might leave their kid in a sketchier neighborhood or in direct sun usw. But the accident story tends to refute this, because any place near where a parent is likely to be struck and seriously injured by a car is similarly unlikely to be a safe place to leave a kid. (And meanwhile, knowing that a child was present at/near a tryst might lead to danger from a stalker-type wronged spouse...)

It's all in the stories we tell ourselves.

ModeratorAugust 26, 2016 9:59 AM

@Gweihir, cc @Wael The moderator is not asleep at the wheel; rather, the moderator does not micromanage discussions, but will review discussion threads when called upon to do so by participants. (Please remember that moderating this blog is *not* a 24/7 job.) I have just reviewed this thread and agree that @ianf is out of line here, both with his use of crude language and its unnecessarily personal and combative tone. @ianf, you are hereby warned. Please do not post any more comments to this thread. And please keep future comments on other threads on-topic, and avoid profanity and personal attacks, or you will be banned. @Pig Panic, the same goes for you; your offensive comment has been deleted.

CallMeLateForSupperAugust 26, 2016 10:26 AM

@Clive
"When I was a child [...] it was not considered a problem to leave your child in your car for a short while when poping into a shop etc."

That's how my childhood went. And as parent exited vehicle, he/she uttered dog-eared admonishments: Behave[1] yourselves; I'll be right back; do not play with the driving controls[2]!

"Now [...] leaving your child in your car even for mear moments
is considered irresponsible."

Yes. Driven by ever more widely reported cases of children being slow-boiled in the family bus. We have TV and the web to thank for that. You and I were fortunate that the cars in which we were temporarily abandoned had windows controlled by cranks, not motors that are inop when ignition switch is OFF.

"[...] you often see mothers shopping with such encumbered strollers,
just leave them in aisles whilst they get items from shelves etc as
much as fifty feet or in other aisles...

"Is such behaviour any more or less reprehensible than doing the same
with a car?"

Seriously? Seriously??!! Sorry to hear your recent food shoppin' went badly.
Navigating around cart-islands is a PITA. No argument here. On the other hand, dashing away from a loaded cart momentarily beats the heck out of personhandling (ya like dat woid?) said cart a-way over there and back, whether metric is time spent or effort expended. Just ask any 50kg, child-encumbered person.


[1] That was sufficient. We *knew* it meant "behave well", because going down with honors after rigorous instruction in what is, and what is not, good behavior was a prerequisite to being trusted with being alone.

[2] Pretty much everything on or attached to the dashboard was out of bounds. There were no secrets regarding the off-limits stuff; we were told in great detail what each thing did. But the over-arching rule was "driver/adult only... and here's why". The only exception to hands-off was the "glove box" (which, on a Packard was like a spacious closet). OK to open and close and rummage in.

GweihirAugust 26, 2016 12:17 PM

@Moderator:

Thank you. And you are right, expecting you to look at this 24/7 is not realistic. I apologize.

Marcos MaloAugust 26, 2016 8:54 PM

I've seen more than a few studies that demonstrated a strong link between "immoral behaviors" such as underage drinking, promiscuous sex, and drug use with an increased risk of being murdered in a cabin in the woods by someone wearing a hockey mask. Oh, wait. Those weren't studies. They were horror movies.

-----------

Wrt to what @Clive was saying, I remember when having to sit in the car was also a punishment for misbehavior when out shopping with Mom. Usually the threat, "Do you want to go sit in the car?" was enough, but sometimes Mom would follow through with it to prove she wasn't kidding. I suspect that with today's standards, Mom would be in jail for child endangerment and my siblings and my self would be in foster homes.

DroneAugust 27, 2016 2:11 AM

@Joe K, You've cited nothing definitive about who is funding this useless study. In addition, you imply I'm raving about de-funding institutions - which is completely untrue! I'm simply asking if taxpayer money is being wasted. Then you go on to infer that leaving children unattended has become a systemic problem. Nothing could be further than the truth. Statistics show that today, the safety of children in public has never been better! The systemic problem is the hype created about a problem that doesn't exist! Many argue that as a society, the U.S. is becoming too protective of children. As a result, the coddling produces dysfunctional adults unable to cope with the challenges of the real world.

Joe KAugust 27, 2016 7:36 AM

@Drone

"You've cited nothing definitive about who is funding this useless study."

Well, searching the article for fund, grant, and similar terms yields no footnotes to the effect of "This research was supported in part by a grant from the Godbig H Porkheimer Foundation," or "Thanx 2 the US Air Force for the phat stax-o-cash, Suckaz!".

Maybe that means we can rule out the Godbig H Porkheimer Foundation and the USAF?

If that doesn't satisfy your curiosity, you have a skeptical mind and I commend you for it. But, unhappily, I have nothing more to offer at this time.

"In addition, you imply I'm raving about de-funding institutions - which is completely untrue!"

Well then, thank you for clarifying. Apparently I misunderstood your intent. Wonderful news.

Speaking of misunderstandings:

"Then you go on to infer that leaving children unattended has become a systemic problem."

You will be happy to learn that I did not infer that. Nor did I imply it. In fact, I implied the opposite. It appears that you have completely misunderstood me in that regard.

So, good news all around!

Cheers.

kaliSeptember 4, 2016 8:38 PM

This is very interesting, bc i thought the woman knocked unconscious by a car would be ranked as most at risk. because the mother is unconscious, maybe the car door of the car with the baby is still open, baby could climb out of the car in trying to help her mother and end up on the street, there is no info on the other driver, may be unconscious, too, so no one is there to call an ambulance, etc etc etc.

Clive RobinsonSeptember 5, 2016 2:53 AM

@ Kali,

People are strange...

In Yorkshire (part of the UK) they have a saying,

    All the world is mad, except you and me. Though you are not looking so good today!

Another UK saying is,

    There is nothing so quear as folk.

Thus the problem you raise has been known for many lifetimes, and annoying as it still is, it is, and probably shall remain,

    Part of life's rich tapestry.

For some considerable time to come.

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