In a podcast episode between Shane Parrish (the curator for the famous Farnam Street Blog) and Morgan Housel, there is a very interesting point where Morgan shares his experience so far as a father of a 8-month-old boy.

He says that it surprises him how becoming a parent makes him much more sensitive to all the news stories about violence, mass shooting, or terrorism.

On the bright side, he believes it shows how being a parent makes one “more sympathetic and maybe just have a greater touch on life in general … more in touch with suffering and pain in the world”.

Now, I was really happy listening to it. Isn’t it touching, to learn that being a parent makes you a better human being, with more appreciation to life?

However, that particular sharing has kept popping up in my mind in the last few days, especially after reading “Stolen Focus” by Johann Hari ... But in an unexpected opposite way.

In the book, Mr Hari dedicates a few chapters to discussing how overprotecting our children - not allowing them to go out and play - has significantly affected their ability to focus. Several reasons have been suggested and discussed, but an obvious one is that children nowadays seem to spend much more time looking at the screen (and how this type of activity destroys our ability to focus I’ve discussed in my previous post).

But, this phenomenon - of children not being allowed to play outside - has actually started not long ago. In the 1960s and 70s, children were still mostly free. It seemed to only change through the 1990s, somewhat unsurprisingly and coincidentally, with the raise of the Internet - when we started getting a lot more information, mainly of the terrible events in the world.

That’s when the link is established to me: being more sympathetic as parents, at the same time getting more and more information about the shooting, the kidnapping, make the overprotection tendency almost inevitable, right?

If you keep seeing these images and news, would you not turn to over-protect your child?

To be honest, I haven’t been able to come up with any solution yet. However, I believe the understanding here is equally important.

Rationally speaking, the world is much safer nowadays (at least according to books and statistics),

or at least I believe it’s not more dangerous than it was in the 1960s and 1970s.

However, our information overload issue has blurred it all, and hence we put more and more problems/challenges on our children’s shoulders, just by over-protecting them.

And it’s such a shame!