Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What Scares Australian Children?

Spiders, Monsters, Bullying, Being Hit By A Car

Interesting results from a study on what really scares the children of Australia. Climate change and terrorism don't rate very high. This is why four year olds are not allowed to vote. If they did, you'd have the prime minister out there campaigning on how he/she is going to deal with the "threat of monsters" :

Children are more scared of spiders, monsters and being in the dark than terrorism or war, research shows.

When asked what scares them, a survey of 220 Australian children put animals, bullying and getting hurt ahead of war or natural disasters. Only three mentioned terrorism.

Being lost and The Dark were the most common answers for one third of six to twelve year olds.

Second most cited general fears were of snakes, spiders, dogs. Being hit by a car, death, injury, the school principal and bullying also ranked high.

More boys than girls were fearful of The Dark, or of being lost. More girls were scared of animals and injury. Being unable to breathe also scored highly for boys and girls.

Younger children are more likely to be concerned about monsters, with 26 kids listing them as their greatest fear.

The researchers concluded that for children, the most common fears had "remained very stable over the past 25 years."

Melbourne Zoo's invertebrate specialist Patrick Honan said children should be cautious about approaching animals they don't know.

"People do get bitten by snakes and dogs, but generally when they are touching them or, in the case of snakes, trying to kill them," he said.

"But there is no logic to the fear of spiders. Spiders and people coexist very happily."

When I was a little kid, I had a bastard of a teacher tell my class that we shouldn't be afraid of spiders and cockroaches, because they crawled over our faces all the time when we were asleep anyway, particularly in winter, when they were attracted by the heat of human breath.

No kid in that class slept well that night, or any night for the next week or two.

I can still vividly remember a young friend telling me he had started sleeping with his head inside the pillow case. Why? Because he woke up in the middle of the night and there were all these tiny little hairs in his mouth. The same kind of tiny little hairs that might have fallen off the long, spindly legs of a very big spider. Brrrrrrrrrr.