27/02/2013 13:01 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Stop Freaking Us Out - The World Is Not More Dangerous For Our Children

Stop freaking us out - the world is not more dangerous for our children! Alamy

"It's common knowledge that the world is a dangerous place," declared the email I received the other day from a company targeting parents. Umm, really?

It continued: "Missing children posters pop up all over city centres". Strange then, that as a city dweller, I'm not seeing them all over the place.

It carried on in its not particularly well-worded or well-conceived way: "The amount of accidents on the roads involving vehicles and children will always be a source of concern. The news is constantly bearing bad news about children who have wandered off whilst playing out or walking home from school." OK maybe occasionally but not constantly.

Then we get to the point. The company was trying to sell stuff on the back of all this anxiety-stoking: "Mums, dads, grandparents and concerned relatives can now keep tabs on their youngest family members with the invention of new GPS tracking equipment and listening devices."


So their message is that we live in an ever scarier world where we need to tag and spy on our kids to keep them safe from harm.


Putting aside the daftness of listening devices which are disguised as fake mobile phones and which most 10-year-olds would just lose within five minutes anyway, this got me thinking:


Is the world really more threatening for our children than it used to be in the 60s, 70s and 80s when we were their age?


Department of Transport figures show that actually the number of children killed or seriously injured on the roads has fallen dramatically in recent decades.

In 1979, 12,458 children died or were seriously injured, whereas by 2010, that figure was 2,502. That's still too many but it's a huge decrease.

Child abductions meanwhile have dropped from just under 700 in 2006/7 to 552 in 2010/11.

Around half of these cases are believed to have involved strangers rather than for example, a divorced parent taking their child abroad without the other parent's permission.

It was a struggle to find figures going back earlier but it's unlikely numbers are actually higher now than in the 'good ole days'.

Overall, taking all causes into account, according to Office for National Statistics data, the risk of a child dying in 2010 was 65VIRTUAL-Gallery-172246%