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Extreme Sports May Benefit Kids

When it comes to extreme sports, how much is too much for our kids? From motocross to snowboarding, more and more parents are letting their children participate in dangerous activities, all in the name of fun.

But at what cost?

One newer sport gaining popularity is parkour. You basically use the urban landscape as a playground, jumping between buildings and doing flips over handrails. Another is extreme skateboarding, where you soar over 70-foot gaps while doing tricks in the air.

The latter is what landed 13-year-old Jett Eaton in the hospital. While trying a major jump, he crashed into the ramp and suffered a fractured skull, bruised frontal lobes, a seizure and a concussion, as reported in the New York Times Magazine.

MORE: Do Firstborns Face Greater Health Risks

While for some kids, the risk is worth the potential for harm. But for the moms and dads of these extreme sports youngsters, why are they letting their kids take the risks associated with such pastimes?

"If you're going to live, you can't live behind a stop sign, taking no risk, and every time you want to do something that gets your heart beating, you decide that it's safer if you don't," said Jett Eaton's father, Geoff. "That's not how I live. I don't want my kids living like that."

Turns out, living with risk as a child may actually be beneficial. As the Times reports, Norwegian research psychologist Ellen Sandseter and a colleague found that those who said their parents encouraged things like rock climbing and kayaking were less prone to criminal and antisocial behaviors like speeding, stealing and vandalism.

"If you've grown up with a lot of experiences with risky play, this teenage period will be more manageable, you'll be more realistic in your risk assessment," Sandseter tells the Times.

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Image via Twenty20/poeticshark

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