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What Scares You?

When our son was a youngster, he really loved all the popular horror movies. He insisted I watch some of them with him, which I did with my hands over my eyes. I still shiver at the mention of “Chucky” or “Children of the Corn.”

Every Halloween holiday included a marathon of Freddy Krueger movies during which I didn’t know whether to laugh at or scream at while watching. None of these experiences with scary movies appears to have affected our son in a negative way that I can see.

I never got into watching such things after he left home. However recently on one of those raw, rainy days I was mindlessly ironing some shirts. The TV was on in the room and there was some sort of horror movie on the screen. It wasn’t the type of picture from the “Halloween” era of movies. No, this was more frightening than that. It involved how some awful people would intercept children’s security cameras and even talk to little kids via their bedroom security monitors.

I should have turned it off right away. It was like looking at a tragic accident and not being able to turn away. This differed from those blood and gore movies that were not so believable. The plot of this movie scared me simply because it seemed to me to be absolutely plausible in this day and age.

The fear it instilled in me was one of helplessness against an unforeseen evil. It’s the same way I feel these days about online predators. I’m not referring to just the sex perverts out there who troll the Internet looking for child victims. It’s the ones who attempt to steal your identity and wreak havoc on your life that also have me looking over my broadband shoulder.

Life was so much simpler when we were kids. Our biggest fears included the dark, failing a spelling test and being late for dinner. I’m sure our parents confronted the usual fears of child rearing but I don’t think they had quite the worries of today’s parents and kids.

In my youth, more mothers were able to stay home and watch out for one another’s kids. We played in groups and rarely ventured out alone after dark. There were not the fears we have today of having our kids and grandkids playing on the sidewalk in front of our homes unsupervised.

Locally a lot of money is being spent to spruce up neighborhood playgrounds.

Other than organized sports games at these locations, few children can be found playing there as we did decades ago. I doubt that will ever change, as more kids prefer to play games via electronic tablets or computer screens.

And that’s sad and scary, too.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at hziegler@theintelligencer.net.

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