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NWF Green Hour

Commentary on what parents should know about and can do to counteract common "nature deficit disorders" in our TV-watching, video game-playing children including encouraging a daily "Green Hour" of outside play and learning. A program of the National Wildlife Federation

Friday, December 09, 2005


Green is Safer -- Parental Worries About Kids Playing Outdoors are Wrong-Minded!

Parents generally assume that children are safer staying home online than they are playing outside where a sexual predator or other evildoer might approach them. Wrong. Here are some Seventeen Magazine survey facts that bring home the point. Of teenage girls (ages 12 t0 18):

• Sixty percent have filled out a questionnaire or form online and
given out personal information (name, address, date of birth,
phone number, or school name).

• Twelve percent have agreed to meet in person with someone
they have met only online.

• Forty-five percent have told someone they met online personal
information, such as their real name, age or date of birth, address,
phone number, or school name.

• Sixty-one percent have received pictures from someone online.

• Twenty-three percent have sent pictures to someone that they
have met on the Internet.

• Fifteen percent have received suggestive or threatening e-mail
messages that have made them feel uncomfortable.

• Thirty percent have been in a chatroom where the discussion
made them feel uncomfortable.

• Fifteen percent have read messages on the Web that have
threatened violence.

In the meantime, incidents of violence to children in outdoor settings is down by nearly 40% over past years and a child's chance of having a worrisome encounter while playing in the backyard or neighborhood is negligible notwithstanding sensational media cases indicating the opposite.

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