Are fairy tales harmful to children?

So says scientist Richard Dawkins, who's scathing about stories of princes turning into frogs...

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Reading fairy tales to children is harmful, renowned evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins is warning.

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The prominent atheist says it’s ‘pernicious’ to teach children a supernatural view of the world where a prince could turn into a frog, according to The Telegraph.

He describes fairy tales as “statistically improbable” stories, which could harm a child’s education. Instead, he wonders whether we should foster a spirit of scepticism in our children. 

“I think it’s rather pernicious to inculcate into a child a view of the world which includes supernaturalism – we get enough of that anyway,” he said at the Cheltenham Science Festival.

“Even fairy tales, the ones we all love, with wizards or princesses turning into frogs or whatever it was. There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it’s statistically too improbable.

“Is it a good thing to go along with the fantasies of childhood, magical as they are? Or should we be fostering a spirit of scepticism?”

The 73-year-old scientist went on to make another incredible claim: that he’d never believed in Father Christmas – even at 21 months.

“My mother has recorded in her notebook that I was at a Christmas party and there was a man called Sam who came as Father Christmas, all ‘ho ho ho’. All the children were enthralled by this. Then he left, I piped up much to the consternation of the adults, ‘Sam’s gone’.”

So do you think fairy stories are bad for kids? Let us know in the comments below please!

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