From the start, it is necessary to point out that most of the myths that will be presented in the following article are mainly enforced by parents to protect their children from the potentially dangerous consequences of the activities. On the other hand, other misconceptions have earned their “absolute truth” moniker by repetition and some of these white lies are simply more convenient explanations for facts of life that our kids are not yet ready to hear.
Nevertheless, all parents want what is best for their children. In this case, teaching them the ability to dissociate between actually proven facts and misconceptions that stem from “common knowledge” from an early age is the right thing to do. Let’s try to debunk the prevalent ones.
1. Coffee and caffeinated beverages stunt growth
The main reason why parents are not comfortable with their children drinking caffeine based beverages and particularly energy drinks or coffee stems from the inevitable burst of energy and hyperactivity. As of such, they will try to employ the kids’ fear of being short for the rest of their life in order to deter them from these drinks, sometimes utilizing pseudo-scientific explanations like “coffee burns calcium and your bones will not develop properly, so you will not grow up tall”. Now, without denying that children need a healthy dose of calcium and coffee is not exactly the best way to achieve it, at this point no study has determined a direct correlation between height and caffeine in kids.
2. You will develop acne if you eat chocolate
This myth stems from the idea that fatty aliments promote the secretion of sebum, which blocks the skin pores and eventually causes acne. Truth be told, refraining from excessively eating chocolate is not actually bad for the health, especially since child obesity is a global problem at this point, but then again, no research has linked chocolate and acne so far. Children are more likely to experience acne during adolescence when hormonal changes kick in, particularly if they have an oily skin complexion.
3. Sneezing with your eyes open will cause them to pop out
Leaving aside the fact that it is virtually impossible to keep your eyes open during a sneeze, there is a ton of reason why this outcome is impossible. First of all, the number of muscles that attach the eyes to the socket would not allow your sight organs to become dislodged, irrespective of how strong the sneeze is. Secondly, we all know that the only person who can sneeze with his eyes open is Chuck Norris. Lastly, the Black Plague has been eradicated since the Dark Ages.
4. You can become cross eyed simply by crossing the eyes too often
Since no child wants to develop a “deformity” that would brand them as an outcast among his peers, parents tell them this popular myth in order to stop them from making weird faces in public. True, it can be embarrassing for you as a parent to have your kid squinting and grimacing at strangers, but there is no evidence to support this theory. When the strain on the eyes’ muscle becomes too great, they simply revert to the original position. You can keep your eyes crossed as long as you like and it will not become the second nature to your visual organs.
5. Going outdoors with wet hair is a surefire way to catch a cold
Here is an interesting statistic revealed by surveys: in excess of 40 percent of the interviewed parents genuinely believe that you stand to catch a cold if you go outdoors before your hair has been fully dried. Moreover, they are enforcing this belief on their children. Fortunately, the combination of wet hair and cold weather is actually harmless, because contracting a cold requires exposure to the actual virus. Furthermore, cold weather is only a factor in less than 0.5% of cases, since only 1 in 200 forms of the virus is more likely to thrive if the temperature outside dries the nostrils. By all accounts, you are more likely to catch a cold in winter by sharing the space with an infected person.
6. You should never swim within less than 30 minutes after eating because of muscle cramps
Yes, approximately half an hour after a meal your body will diverge a higher amount of blood to the stomach in order to aid the digestive process, time during which you will normally feel weaker and a bit sleepy. Consequentially, swimming is probably not the best type of activity, due to the associated dangers of drowning. However, muscle cramps and meals are not linked in any way, but rather develop due to muscle fatigue, dehydration and sodium deficiency.
7. Swallowed chewing gum remains in your digestive tract for years
It may appear to be true especially since chewing gum is innately sticky, right? Well, it’s not and like virtually everything that cannot be dissolved by your stomach’s acids, gum will always make its way through the digestive track and out the “backside”. However, before you start swallowing chewing gums like popcorn, you should probably know that a large enough quantity could form a mass big enough to clog your tract.
8. You can develop arthritis from cracking your knuckles
Cracking your knuckles is not only an extremely annoying habit for others, but studies indicate that in time it will cause damage to the cartilage and decrease the grip’s force. Nevertheless, you certainly cannot develop arthritis by doing it.
9. Television is more damaging for children’s eyesight
Staring into the TV screen for prolonged periods on a daily basis does place a significant strain on the eyes, but studies have revealed it is way more harmful for adults than it is for children, since younger eyes can recuperate easier. Nevertheless, a sedentary lifestyle is highly contraindicated during the development stages.
10. Eating carrots will help you develop night vision
A myth propagated by the British air forces during WW2 in order to conceal the fact that the troops were equipped with foolproof radars, the link between nighttime vision and carrots is wrongfully interpreted. However, the beta-carotene helps in the assimilation of vitamin A, which is directly related to an improved set of eyesight, but only during the day.