Breaking news from the UK. Kid’s fear clowns.
We thought there were plenty of children in the world who are not born with the apparently innate fear of clowns but apparently not as many as we thought.
We reported on one unfortunate case in an earlier edition of letters to the editor here at Inside Magic.
Nursing Standard magazine — a journal we read monthly but only for the pictures — reports on a University of Sheffield study.
The researchers wanted to improve the "decor of hospital children’s wards."
Of the 250 kids betwixt the ages of four and 16, "we found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable."
Apparently part of the problem is that adults (who may or may not like clowns) think kids should like them.
Our brethren in white face know only too well how some audience members react almost viscerally to them. Even Ronald McDonald spooks some kids.
One long-time reader of Inside Magic suggests the study was flawed.
"First, the study was performed on a very small and select sample of
children," he writes. "Sick kids cannot be considered representative
of all children. It makes sense that kids depending on medical
professionals for their well-being would react strongly towards anyone
or anything that does not seem to be part of the medical community. If
you asked sick kids whether they would want to be cared for by a
doctor, a nurse, or an elk, they would likely reject the gangly and
often violent forest quadruped in favor of the health care
professionals. That’s just plain survival."
Another reader suggests the study was limited in another way. "Why
don’t they ask kids at birthday parties whether doctors or nurses scare
them? I bet the last person the birthday girl wants to see is a doctor
with a bag full of needles and alcohol wipes."
The University of Sheffield did not respond to our telepathic request for a response.
Check out the Yahoo News rendition of the story here.