During my usual surfing and blog trolling, I came across an article posted at the Mahatma Gandhi Blog referring to a recent Unicef study that shows children who live in countries that are more permissive are more happy and well adjusted. Apparently kids in the Netherlands are the most happy while the US is ranked 20 and the UK 21. Canada comes in at number 12. It was suggested that such freedoms as legalized drug use and prostitution lead to less rebelliousness and societal calm.
It's great to give children a balanced and open respect for the world around them. But I wonder how balanced a study like this really is. The internet and other electronic communications provide our kids with free access to all sorts of things that may or may not be good for them. The scary thing is that there are those out there that will exploit this freedom. Consider the recent actions in Austria where an international child pornography ring was busted. Is this the kind of freedom we want our kids exposed to? We need to provide them with a careful balance of both freedom and security. And that's something this study didn't really consider.
I, for one, don't think there's anything wrong with including security in the way we measure our happiness.