I remember asking mom about wars and things like that at around age 5 or 6. While she probably didn't go into every detail, she tried to explain those topics to me and didn't tell me that kids shouldn't think about such things. If you have smart, resilient kids I see no good reason for all the coddling and shielding.
Intent matters. Did he intend to harm his kids ? He didn't. He was putting them in harm's way to some degree, but he did that in order to teach them valuable lessons and to make them more experienced, wiser kids. I can't say that I think parents can expose their kids to *any* level of risk for any reason, but I'm also not at all a fan of the idea that kids need to grow up in some kind of silky coccoon, always protected from any and every slight or danger. There's merit in overcoming fear and danger, imho. It's a view of course not shared by those with a more utilitarian view of what life is about.
Somehow I knew that this was going to be the NYT complaning about 4chan and uncivil speech coming from certain types of people and not all uncivil speech, of course. If you're at all familiar with the "social justice" crowd, you probably know that they don't believe that the rules of civility apply to them. Asking them to watch their language or to be considerate is usually denounced as attempts to "control" them and to "silence" them. Those who are the targets of their policing, the ones whom they "call out", though, are just supposed to sit there, shup up and listen while the "approved trolls" from the social justice world dress them down. This is of course understood already by many on slashdot. I saw a commenter abvove approve of trolling by followers of the flying spag monster. That's fine actually but I wonder if the commenter is also ok with trolling by the those who wish to defend christianity in vigorous manner. I rethorically wonder, that is.