How did America end up raising Generation Paranoia?

Cars have never been safer. Which is true of modern childhood more generally: Kids are safer and healthier than they’ve ever been. Why, then, are they so worried?

Social media, for starters. It provides uncertain adolescents a bottomless cornucopia of things to fret about and precious few tools for putting those concerns into perspective.

But the rest of us also have to accept some responsibility. We scrubbed their playgrounds of anything even mildly risky (read: fun) and told children they could never go anywhere alone because a stranger might kidnap them — even though stranger abductions ran about 65 a year in the latest data, or roughly 1 for every 1 million kids in the United States. We’re also, of course, the ones who put them through mass-shooter drills.

In other words, we’ve not only made them excessively fearful but also given them the wrong fears. School shootings rather than traffic accidents; abductions instead of swimming pools.

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