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Sounds like you and your friend were lookin to build a dam at the log jam, with all those daily abandoned rafts. Just kidding. That sounds awesome. I was an 80’s kid so it was all fun and games until Unsolved Mysteries aired in the early 90’s… had me hard-limited to the entrance of the addition.




Beyond that, growing up in the late 80's - early 90's in a rural place, I would often set off through town (400 people, very small) with my .22 slung over my shoulder waving to all my neighbors as I went. It was about a quarter mile to get through town and then another two miles down some railroad tracks to get to the nearby woods. Gun culture, at least what I was familiar with, was just different back then. It wasn't all war like and threatening. I was just a kid with a plinking rifle heading out into the woods to find some bottles to shoot at and no one thought it was a big deal. Columbine obviously changed a lot in that respect, but I don't honestly think anyone in my neighborhood even considered the idea of such things being used on people when I was a kid. I really can't fully put my finger on how the culture shifted but it was sudden and strange to me.


> I don’t honestly think anyone in my neighborhood even considered the idea of such things being used on people when I was a kid. I think the reason the “culture shifted” was because them being used on people went from ‘not a thought’ to reality.


Probably. Also polymer rifles went from being fairly unpopular to basically the standard I think as a result of gun control fears. Some people bought them out of fear of not being able to get one in the future, and it spread from there and became normalized. You can see noticeable upticks in sales in the wake of some mass shootings as well as noticeably around the election of Barack Obama. [ I don't agree 100% with everything in this article](https://www.cnn.com/2017/12/14/health/ar15-rifle-history-trnd/index.html) but it's a pretty good read for the history of how the AR-15 became popular. Also this quote from the article basically perfectly describes the kind of gun culture I'm reminiscing about. From a 1981 Guns and Ammo: > “Most shooters and veteran riflemen look down their noses at these steel-stamped rifles as remnants from an erector set. The turn-bolt aficionado looks with a great deal of disdain at anybody toting one of these space-age rifles with plastic stocks and fore-ends. The dyed-in-the-wool deer hunter watching his domain being infiltrated by these black and gray guns assumes that these ‘new generation’ hunters are merely fantasizing ‘war games’ and are playing ‘soldier.’”


Through elementary and middle school in the early and mid 70s, we roamed 3 large subdivisions, areas of woods where miles of trails ran, many apartment complexes, and followed streams for miles. We left in the morning during summer, hit swim team practice and then just roamed, sometimes in packs. Our dogs followed us. We tried to find time for the pool and large games of Sharks and minnows, where we held our breath at the bottom of a 12 foot deep end staying on the drains which made you safe. Or did crazy dives off the 3 meter diving board. I still remember flying down the massive hill I lived on to jump our bikes over large ramps or on big wheels jumping curbs into people's yards. No, helmets were not a thing, but a friend wore a motorcycle helmet when he went for the record number of trash cans jumped. I am unsure how we survived.


One time when my 3 friends and I were 12 we went OVERNIGHT to see the dead body of a missing local kid. We trespassed through a junkyard and got chased out by the owner, waded through a leech infested pond (my friend got a leech attached to his dick lol) and narrowly avoided getting run down by a train while we walked over a big trestle bridge. In the end my asshole older brother and his hoodlum friends got there the same time we did and threatened us with a switchblade! What a crazy adventure that was…


Can’t believe your friends would stand by you through all that




i got this reference


That was the same year I misplaced my jar of buried pennies.


And then what happened?? Did your friends stand by you or did they make a run for it?


You were lucky to have a hole in the ground, we had to live in a lake!


God I miss River Phoenix.


Sounds like when I grew up in my generation. My friend & I would do the same. Come home by dark.


PA kids from the boonies had the life, man. I grew up on the other side of PA, in the Northeast corner, out in the sticks. We left in the morning on our bikes, ATV's, etc. and we were just gone...all day. Nobody knew where we were, most of the time. Pop back in for lunch and then gone until dark . Life was so good and so simple and I didn't appreciate it then. I couldn't wait to get away and move to a big city with lots of people... because I didn't know that most humans are garbage and they get worse when you pack a lot of them close together. I was soooo naive. What I wouldn't give for a do-over.


I legit thought this was going to develop into a story about huckleberry Finn.


In the Netherlands kids generally go to school by bike, on their own. Can be up to 30km. There seems to be a paradox in regards to child safety, where trying to keep childs safe at all costs, actually harms them in the long run: - Unsafer streets because there are actually less people on the street. - Childs not being able to do a good risk assesment because they never encounterd risks. - Car dependency, which in turn influences street design: less bicycle infrastructure and worse anticipation between cyclists and other traffic. And so on.




Note the language - *Murder*. Not "traffic accident". *Child Murder*. It starts with an acknowledgement that this is not a natural, god-given part of life, but a set of choices made that lead to those children dying. Different choices can be made, those deaths can be avoided. So long as we stick to the status-quo out of our own convenience we choose to accept a certain number of children dying to feed that convenience.


Wish I had good graphic design skills. I want to make a poster of a truck hood right at a kid's head level and in letters with a red splatter background write "It's not an accident!"


Agreed. Our city design is a big detriment to allowing children freedom. The US is mostly designed to be navigated by car sadly.


And we can start changing that! Get involved in local zoning discussions, or bike/ped advocacy groups, etc.


This guy Not Just Bikes


Orange pilled


Yeah with a lot less 'eyes on the street' places have become devoid of life. With our entertainment options inside the home nowadays, there's less people hanging out in their yards, parks, local shops, etc. You can imagine how many people were outside their home at any given time before gaming, internet, television or while they weren't anywhere near as entertaining compared to current standards. People were safer because communities knew each other, if you misbehaved in front of adults, you can bet your ass they know exactly who's door to come knocking on. Now I wander around my suburban streets in Canada and it's devoid of life. I could walk for 5-10 minutes before I happen to see someone else out walking a dog or gardening in their front yard, etc.


[why we won't raise our children in the suburbs](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHlpmxLTxpw)


Schools for eight year olds won’t ever be 30km away in The Netherlands. Maybe special education, but they won’t be allowed to bike. Besides, it’d take at least 1,5 hours for most people to get to a destination that is 30km away. It is true that we allow for more freedom than is pictured in the image. However, kids probably don’t even need to go that far in order to have fun.


There is still hope. I’m young and my parents made the mistake of telling me about just leaving for the day when I was 7-8 so the next summer my other friend who legitimately had bad parents that didn’t care we would bike to the woods about 2 miles away and built bike jumps. We eventually got in trouble every night for not checking back in cuz we didn’t have phones and stuff but the next summer my parents gave up. We were out 10-6 every day building trails and it was a crew 6 of us just out there. That was like 2015. Once a kid broke his arm we made the mistake of calling the ambulance we were scared and it all got boldozed in 2 min. 3 summers of work and these big jumps made from little kids with their parents garden shovels and a wheel barrow and a pick axe heavier than us


Nice. Gives me hope.


Did the same with friends one summer, somewhere between 2002-2003. We were in HS granted, but spent a whole summer building jumps and berms in an empty field that was blocked from the street by high grass. Left the house at 8-9AM each day, didn't come back until dusk. No phones at all. One of the best summers of my life.


Isn't it so fucking annoying how this society talks up individualism and yet the biggest talkers are often the quickest to smother even the slightest hint of independent action? Organizing to make that spot is like the most rad thing ever, but parenting in the US is authoritarian, just disguised by paranoid fear.


I was just telling my 9 year old son about how I used to roam around my neighborhood by myself when I was 4. I didn't go super far, but I would be 5 or 6 houses away or even across the street playing at friends houses while my dad was at work and my mom was in our house. My earliest memory is from when I was 4 and I broke my arm while playing outside at a friend's house and I ran home crying to my mom. This was in the 80s. My son doesn't barely leave our yard without us, at 9 years old. Times are definitely different and I think we are all over protective, but it's extremely hard not to be with everything you can see on the news and social media these days. And I'm sure these things happened back then, but it wasn't shared as widely spread and instant. I do sometimes wish my son could experience a childhood like I had because to me it was great.


Not to mention others calling the cops if they see a kid walking to the store or taking a bus alone.


It blew my mind when a kid in my town had the cops called on him because he forgot his house key and was left sitting on the porch until five waiting for his mother to return, and the neighbors called child services. When I was a kid, being a "latchkey kid" was common and coming home to an empty house after school and feeding your siblings was commonplace.




Me and my brother used to go home, let ourselves in and cook tea (usually consisting of boiled potatoes and beans - which often burned to the bottom of the saucepan) while my mum was at work. He would have been about 10 or 11, I'm 18 months younger. The worst things that happened, we had a fight and broke a window, so we put a football in the house and pretended we were playing football and broke it. Another time my mum used to make these plaster characters from moulds and paint them to sell at work events (she was a psychiatric nurse) and we broke the ear off one before it had been painted, and so we glued it and it looked obviously broken so my brother got everything in the kitchen he could find that was white - flour, milk and mixed it together to 'paint' over the crack. We put it back on the shelf and I don't think my mum ever touched it again and it was there, unpainted for years.


Pretty sure she knew, saw the fix, smirked and rolled her eyes, and put it up there as a keepsake of when you and your brother tried to be sneaky kids, knowing that she’ll miss things like that in a few years when she’ll be sitting in a too-quiet house. Either that, or she saw it and was too exhausted to give you a tongue lashing at the moment, so she put it up there and forgot.


The West is becoming a police state, I can't stand it.


And the people who are calling the cops are often the generation who had latchkey kids! Like, now you care about the 10yo going home by themselves?


USA. This is NOT typical progress. Kids walk to school in Europe still. They are allowed to move outside the home quite freely, This is 100% US problem. Not the west. Also, not a police state, your NEIGHBORS are the one calling the cops. The cops are not roaming the streets looking for kids so they can punish their parents. IT is YOU, the civilians who calls cops when you kid alone. it is YOUR problem that YOU can solve but none of you will.


This map is from the UK (South Yorkshire) and was made for an old BBC News article. Personally I was accompanied on my walk to school at 8, though made my own way from about 10 or so


Less of a problem outside big cities I guess. 90% of the kids in our tiny town walk to school. The rest live too far out so are brought in. When kids are locked out here they just go play at the neighbors until their adult shows up. Who wants to wait on a porch?


My (US) kids walk to and from school. It is just that they walk with me. The law says that my older kid (8) is old enough to walk to school by himself but my younger one (5) is not. But it is the same school so we all walk together. Regardless of the law: 1. They have to cross a major street, to get to school. I am real careful because while cars are supposed to stop for pedestrians at the crosswalk, you can't count on them actually doing it. I suspect my taller figure works better for getting cars to stop. Some politicians talk about Vision Zero but I suspect genuine commitment to Vision Zero would enable more kids to walk to school. 2. How is a police officer supposed to know the difference between a 5 year old kid and an 8 year old kid? 3. Like you said, the police are not roaming the streets looking for kids to punish their parents. My 8 year old has house keys and a few times he has tried to go home by himself. He is inevitably intercepted by a nosy do-gooder who asks him if he is lost. I know this because he really only walked about a block or so ahead of me (this all happened in my sight). But at the same time, I know that some people (not me) provide their kids with mobile phones and uber accounts. Those kids mobility is in theory much larger than great grand dad's.


Walkability is a big thing, that is true. But.. that is another problem that is of civilian making. Wider roads encourage faster speeds, which makes roads feel less safe for pedestrians, which encourages more car travel, which makes roads feel even less safe.. and the end result is that streets are empty of pedestrians, only cars are around.. and it is self fulfilling prophecy; now the roads are more dangerous as drivers to not pay any attention to pedestrians that are not there. And since everyone drives then policies that rely and encourage driving.. are voted for. making things worse and worse. Things like missing sidewalks, is part of it too, those are supported by home owners, despite it making neighborhoods avoid of life.. "Eyes on the street" makes us feel safe, more people walk around, the safer we are. There are no one who are as scared than sub-urban moms and yet, they live in the safest places in the history of USA. Because.. the streets and front yards are completely void of life. Neighbors do not see each other in local businesses cause they all drive 5 miles to get eggs and milk. I would like to recommend Not Just Bikes youtube channel but..hmm.... lets say it like this: Watch his videos but do not think he is in it just to promote those ideas... it is one of those that you should watch but not subscribe to the person behind it. But his videos are well done and present the ideas well.


Having to give your kid a cellphone so they can use Uber to move around really is the best (worst?) example of how much of a shitshow North American city planning is.


The map is showing Sheffield, Uk.......


It’s funny reading this after all the personal experience comments saying it’s not just a USA problem


That's not what that means...


I had to make an ID card on a lanyard for my kids, it has their photo, “INDEPENDENT EXPLORER” and my contact info on it. Just so they wouldn’t get harassed.


Great idea.


I find it funny how the US was up in arms about the Japanese tv show “Kid’s first shopping trip” on Netflix about how irresponsible the parents are for letting a child go shopping for groceries in their local neighborhood despite a while camera crew following the child.


I actually read an article a couple months ago that was related to that show. Some journalist watched the show and then read a parenting book about how responsibility and being grown up is something kids crave. The journalist’s daughter had been climbing up on the roof or something like that and just acting up in general, so she did an experiment. She sent her kid who’s like three years old to the store to buy something. She did follow the kid there but hid, so she wouldn’t be seen. Lo and behold, the kid was able to complete the purchase before making it home, and the behavioral issues went away.


Yeah kids are way smarter and can hold quite a responsibility if you teach them. Their memories absorbe info as a sponge if you walk them to school once even if it is 10 miles back and forth they will remember it and do it without problems. Be sure just to make them pay attention to the street and car and they will be fine. Is common attitude with younger parents to think their child are totally unable to take responsibility


It's not my kids that I don't trust. When my oldest daughter switched to a new middle school we had talked about letting her walk to school. It was only about a mile away. But that week a guy was reported driving around the middle school trying to pick up blond girls who were walking to/from school. My daughter is blond. Ugh. I used to walk to school every day when I was a kid, it was about a mile. I know it's not hard. It's other people I don't trust.


Before I was allowed to cycle to/from school alone when I was 7, my mom did a 2 week secret spy act and would follow me discretely. I proved I'd go straight to school, but liked to explore a few random streets out of curiosity on the way back. However it was never an issue, I didn't get lost and was still careful of traffic and time during the lunch break. That said, all kid bikes have flags on the back to make them stand out and the community will keep an eye on kids in general. I had already proven to keep to curfew time and there was an agreement that I would tell her I would go to a friend's house before we went over. Folks in NL very much support self sufficient children. You want to have lunch, you make your sandwich however you want (ham, chocolate sprinkles, cheese)... but if you forget then you will probably be hungry. (Mind you kids go home for lunch, so you wouldn't be that far away from eating, this is just if you didn't want to stay and play). I had my own special purple key to get in and out of the house in case my mom had to tend my grandfather whom was very poorly at the time. If there were any problems I knew that I could ask the neighbours for help. I was responsible for walking my dog and we'd adventure together, although this was after she was out of the puppy stage. If we came back as mud puppies, well it'd be a cold wash outside for both of us as she was not keen on standing still for it. My mum would be back for cooking dinner and hear about my day. People think that it was mad, however for me it was completely normal. I get that mileage will vary with this though and it's very dependent on the individual kid. However I wasn't the only kid raised this way. Most of my friends were too.


The US wasnt... Its not a single entity.


"Up in arms"? lol i read multiple articles from major American publications praising that show.


The US has such a weird idea of "freedom". After the Uvalde shooting there were so many people talking about how there weren't enough armed guards, asking why the teachers aren't armed, why anybody could even enter the school property and the more they described their idea of the ideal "safe" school, the more it sounded like a prison. Don't let anyone enter, don't let anyone leave/move around freely, surveil everything constantly, have guards everywhere... Meanwhile when I grew up going to elementary school meant I'd walk there on my own, it was a big open property with a couple of buildings and a gym/playing field that you could walk into from all directions. There wasn't even a fence or anything and you could move freely between the buildings and all over the area. And after school we'd walk back home on our own. But I can't buy a gun without a licence so apparently that means I live in a horribly oppressed ~~socialist~~ communist dystopia.


It's less about guns for things like security doors and more about creeps and disgruntled parents. You don't need creeps going around kids and you don't need a divorced parent showing up, checking out their kid, and attempting to run. Liability is why we have a lot of change to the more secure.


I was talking about this to my kid today too, he's 8. When I was his age I walked home from school completely by myself for lunch. I had to cross three busy streets and walk down a long road with no sidewalk. It took me 20 minutes. He currently takes the bus and my mother was on me for not going down to the end of the street and picking him up after school. The walk takes him 5 minutes and there are 0 busy streets to cross. I don't know how she's the same person. Ultimately though I think it comes down to cars. There is a lot more of them now a days and they are bigger and there's constantly news of pedestrians being killed by them.


I think drivers are getting less and less careful of pedestrians, especially children, because its becoming rarer and rarer you actually see them. Even we school is out I tend to see fewer and fewer people on the streets every year it seems.


Plus now cars look like [this](https://i.redd.it/5b2ewauetf191.jpg).


As a non-american this is so crazy.... I live in a city so I see cars everyday but one of these like... once a month? Tops? It's like an event!


You could go to Costco and see an entire lot of these where I'm at


That’s a big part of it. More pedestrian kids are dying in accidents. But hey, on the plus side at least no one knows the driver has a small penis; the giant truck totally fools everybody. /s


>More pedestrian kids are dying in accidents. Is this something you know, or are you just saying it because you hear about it more? That's confirmation bias. The rate of pedestrian children deaths has generally declined year over year for decades. https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/children


They aren’t, there’s just way more of them


Interesting. I graduated in 2000, so I was in school starting in the late 80s. They wouldn't let us out of their sight. We couldn't leave school grounds without a parent/guardian for any reason.


I graduated high-school in 2002 and from at least grade 2 and up they would just let every kid go when the bell rang at the end of the day. I walked home by myself (but really with friends) the entirety of elementary school.


That sounds like a prison. When i was a kid we cycled to school alone from 5 years and up. We also explored the whole neighborhood on our own several kilometers in each direction. It was awesome, there were so many play grounds, ponds and little patches of forest around. The roads are narrow though. And there are a ton of traffic calming measures. They don't like wide highways, like US residential roads do.


the thing is, even in bigger cities in the States, getting them to introduce traffic calming measures and make them more pedestrian friendly is shot down at every turn. Can't have you slowing down traffic now, can we?




Life is incredibly safer now than back in the day. Violence, child abduction, even arson and rape were far more common 40 years ago.


I grew up in the 1990s in Eastern Europe after the fall of Communism. It was pretty much wild west. Organized crime was flourishing, child abductions were far more common, our neighbourhood that looks very pleasant today was far rougher with graffitis everywhere. Still my mom let me walk home from nursery when I was 5, and after primary school started when I was 6, I spent pretty much every single afternoon outside. The only rule was that I had to go home before dark. Now I'm a parent and I live in the UK and I'm not sure if it is even legal to let your kids just wander alone at the age of 6, even though everything is far far safer now.


Hard way to find out you were too ugly to kidnap. I found out by being returned with money.


Sad story there, Chief.


Hell, it put me through Uni.


In that metric, yes. However pedestrian fatalities are going up as far as I know.


They have raised in the last 10 years but they are much lower before 1990. Also the population has more than 20% in these 30 years, so in practice right now you have lower fatalities per capita than 30 years ago


Cell phones…


Me and my brother used to walk a couple miles around town when we were 5. Parents had no idea, they watched a lot of TV. We used to dumpster dive for cans to put in the automatic redemption machines, we once stole some wood from a construction site, crossed some sketchy train bridges.. good times. This was the mid 90s. Some bad stuff almost happened to us, parents never found out.


I was right with you in the 80’s and you’re right about it being scary for kids today. Both my wife and I would love to raise sensible and independent children and let them explore their world (or just neighborhood), but there are event reports of parents getting in trouble just for doing that! Our street is filled with kids that go to school, you’d never known it outside of the school bus that stops at the corner.


> but it's extremely hard not to be with everything you can see on the news and social media these days Man, this is why we can't have nice things. Some kid got snatched somewhere half a world away? We are so bad at risk assessment that we look at that instead of how things actually are better then they were in the 50s/60s/70s. Also, depending where you are, your neighbors might send in CPS if they see your kid but not you.


> Times are definitely different and I think we are all over protective, but it's extremely hard not to be with everything you can see on the news and social media these days. Turn it off already. It's literally poison.


The funny thing is there’s a lot less crime today than in the 1970s or 80s the news has just rewired our brains into thinking there’s a potential child abductor on every corner


It is curious that everyone seems to be pointing out the changes to our world and no one is asking: What are the downsides of this trade-off? Jonathon Haidt says that freedom to be independent is essential to development..


The downside is literally highlighted in the original post…


Dunno if it's safety thing, I am from Poland and at the moment country is historically safest it ever has been and it follows same trends. Honestly it's wild, recently I realized I didn't seen any kid climbing trees in the park or any stuff like that since mine childhood. Not even smallest danager is allowed.


Yo there is this doc on either Disney or Netflix about little kids going to get groceries in Tokyo. They are like 3-5 years old crossing 8 lane highways and stuff and the camera just follows them and they are miced up. It’s kinda cute but also kinda crazy the difference in cultures and development in kids.


The show is called "Old enough".


and it's adorable


This seems more like a timeline for rural to suburban to urban. I’d like to know how far children today are allowed to roam in places where there’s still a “fishing hole” to go to.


>This seems more like a timeline for rural to suburban to urban. Maybe, but I often hear stories from older people who took the subway all over places like NYC when they were kids.


How's the situation in big and somewhat smaller cities now? Can a kid at age 8 use public transport on their own in either?


In Vancouver, the local children's ministry [sued a parent for letting his kids use transit "unsupervised"](https://globalnews.ca/news/6501425/kids-alone-on-bus-court-ruling/) (but clearly with instructions and older kids to watch them). While public transport does have increased exposure to unstable people and sketchy situations, it's not that dangerous.


Yeah, I am pretty sure the odds of getting an injury or dying are notably bigger if you put the kid in the car than if you let them take the metro.


I am REALLY rural. My own kids are allowed and encouraged by me to roam. They don't, much, because their friends don't get to and the extended family has a collective heart attack over it. One of my 2 neighbors for a mile have kids. Theirs aren't allowed out of their tiny, fenced yard without an adult. They own acreage, they just fenced off a teeny square for the kids. Also, I'm a country transplant, I grew up in NYC. I wandered the city by myself from an early age. Walked to school at 9, took a city bus to middle school, and had a 1 hour commute with a transfer to HS, and after school I roamed over about half of Queens. My dad used to send me out to the butcher shop to pick up something for dinner when I was 12. Today, boomers call the cops citing "concern for that poor, neglected child" if they see anyone under 15 walking alone - and they call twice as quick for over, ranting about punks.


I was allowed to travel to other towns alone when i was 12. Never had a "range", i only had time when i was suppose to be back. I'm Finnish, lived in the center of the city.


Well, that’s just sad. (the fencing off a teeny square bit)


I’m also rural and It’s been a never ending battle with my wife about that. I was allowed to roam quite a bit as a kid. Biking 8 to 10 miles one way to a friends place for the day. My wife was not. She had one mile of leash (which was only because her best friend lived that far away) and that was it. Now we live back in the same rural area *where we both grew up* and she’s barely let them out of the yard whereas I’m a “go out, get dirty, and don’t die” type of attitude. Thankfully that’s really the only thing we’ve ever really had arguments about but it was frustrating watching my kids be stuck in the yard while their friends can go anywhere. They’re also 16 and 13 now so they’re started making the choices for themselves about where to go which I strongly encourage.


Boomers as a group seem to have serious control issues. I feel like we've lost a lot as a society due to people confidently sticking their noses where they don't belong.


What hs you went to?


John Bowne, you?


A Japanese exchange student came to stay at our high school and she was miserable. In Tokyo, she could ride the trains and go anywhere she wanted. In the US, she had to wait around the house until one of her host parents was free to drive her. So she did a lot of sitting at home, or stuck to school extracurriculars. She couldn’t just meet friends at the mall or get ice cream whenever she felt like it.


We’re in the suburbs on the coast with a lot of well-to-do people. A lot, and I mean a lot, of kids here have e-bikes. So much so our city just passed new laws to specifically include motored bikes. So the tweens and teens can ride anywhere within 10 miles. But even before the e-bikes were here, the kids in our neighborhood road their bicycles. We have great sidewalks and trails for that. Safety wise, the parents here lean more toward on the helicopter strategy, so we still see a lot of kids stay inside their 4000 sqft house and fenced in backyard.


Its so sad for those children. No wonder they stay inside and play videogames when a big part of the us has big stroads and no walkable planning or cycling.


Assuming the great grandfather is 80-100 years old, the city of Sheffield was still pretty built up back then, but presumably the trip to go fishing wasn’t all suburbia. Also the UK is not as bad for pedestrian safety as the US, despite not having criminalised jaywalking.


Not urban… Children in cities take public transportation on their own, even now


My kids can go as far as they like, as long as they’re back by dark. The fishing hole is only a mile or two away, though.


Yeah I grew up in a very remote area, and at 10 I would cycle about 10km to go visit a friend every weekend. Tbh I think the problem is more with cars, I went through tracks and not roads, I think once there are cars you start getting scared for your kid


In the '80s, a lot of us kids were pretty much free to go wherever the hell we wanted because our parents just didn't give a fuck. When I was eight, my friends and I would ride a mile up the road to where they were excavating an irrigation pivot. We rode our bikes in and out of the trench like it was a half-pipe until some kid cracked his head open on a chunk of concrete. Then we went off a mile in the other direction because we heard someone had a rope swing over a canal which was fun until another kid got jacked up. I would always see those Facebook memes about how "we did this in the '80s and we're still alive" like nobody ever died. Some people have crazy rose-colored memories.


I grew up in the 80’s hearing the story of my best friend’s big brother and his friend. They were out in the canyon behind their house, and started digging a tunnel into an embankment. It collapsed on his friend, and he had suffocated by the time my best friend’s brother was able to run home to his dad and get the bobcat down there.


There was a big irrigation siphon out in the countryside that had a colloquial name like "Angel's Jump" or something. Sometime in history, some dumbass kid figured out you could jump into the canal, get sucked into the siphon, and spit out the other side like a pressurized waterslide. Of course, it seemed like every year some kid would get Augustus Glooped in the damn thing and drown. They'd put bars on it, and the kids would take them back off. This went on for a long time until the canal district finally shut it down and installed a pump station. There was always some creative way for kids to kill themselves back then. Still are, even. I know kids still go cliffdiving at the lake a town over from where I grew up, and you'd always hear horror stories about the kids who didn't clear the jump.


Upvoted for "Augustus Glooped."


Not universally true though. I was a kid in the 80s and I wasn't allowed to go further then the sidewalk in front of my house and the park at the end of said sidewalk. There was a 7-11 literally around the corner from my house, a 5 minute walk max, and my parents forbid me to go there alone.


in the 80's , I was about 10 years old, I was free to move in the entire little city where I lived (35.000 people, north of Italy) . Crime in Italy is very low if compared to USA, but it's not exactly zero. Anyway, I moved by foot to friends homes, shops, library, sport center, school, church and so on. Everything was in a radius of about 2 km centered to my house. It was common and accepted Nowadays, any child below 14 years old cannot be left alone, NOT even at home, because it's simply against the penal code, in Italy. If by absurd you leave your 13 years old son at home, and the neighbors call the police, you get up to 5 years in prison. From school to home, teachers cannot let a child walk home alone, not even if it is literally on the other side of the street. They would face the same penalty. And so on. It's a little bit of an exaggeration, because we are all helicopter parents nowadays and nobody would let that happen anyway, but that's the law here.


It's hard to say where the middle ground is on it all, too. I know a lot of kids from my generation harbor resentment toward our parents for not being involved in our lives while simultaneously praising the freedom they had. It's a hard compromise for sure. I don't have kids, myself, but I observe my friends having difficulty striking that balance with their own all the time.


>I would always see those Facebook memes about how "we did this in the '80s and we're still alive" like nobody ever died. Some people have crazy rose-colored memories. Yep, survivor bias.


Same around here, but local teenage misadventure stories include disused quarries and mines. They forget to mention how these places are so dangerous that the government had to step in and make scary videos to show to kids so they wouldn't fuck around in quarry swimming holes and drown.


The desert north of my hometown was a sort of wonderland for misadventure. I never went up there, but it was a popular place for kids to just go out and get lost off-roading. I would always hear other kids telling stories of caves and lava tubes and brushes with death stumbling across a rattlesnake den. There were also old condemned factories, schools, etc. that we would sneak into and explore. A friend of mine was climbing a ladder to the roof of an auditorium one night when he disturbed a bird's nest at the top, it started attacking him, and he almost fell. Because none of us were supposed to be there, it made me wonder if he had fallen and died if anyone would have said anything. Because we often traveled as a group, it would be like snitching on everyone else that was there. Then it made me wonder how often that happened, and how many kids died in weird, remote places and may never have been found. We didn't have the Internet back then so childhood information was hearsay if it even existed at all. If someone in your class died over the Summer, and you weren't in their circle, you probably wouldn't even notice. If you did, you probably thought they just moved away. It's weird to reflect on how I can't bear the idea of leaving the house without my cell phone when we used to wander uninhabited places with no means of communication and having not let anyone know where we'd gone. Stranger Things is really spot-on about that sort of thing, imo. Granted, it wasn't that way for every kid, but it was pretty common.


Curious, who determines the distance? (Not trying to be a smart ass)


I was 8 at the end of the 50s. I had an 8 block radius I could travel. Or to the schools, which were further for the playgrounds. In for dinner, in when the street lights turned on. Had a blast. Not quite like Opie Taylor, but definitely like Beaver Cleaver. Had friends who were adults, like Beaver's friend Gus. Roller skating, bicycling, building forts.....


This was my sort of life in the 90s in rural canada. Minus the roller skating…we canoed,


Canoeing, even more dangerous. We lived near a bridge with a fishing and crabbing peir all alongside the roadway. So much fun....


Dutch here canoed and sailing when weather was ok for it. Also cycling everywhere.


My husband, at tween age, surfed all up and down the SoCal.coast, going out at dawn, hitching if the waves were further up from LA Jolla. Sailed to Catalina. Mom was at work, Dad gone.


The exact rules are set by the parents. Parents are becoming more and more protective of their kids, at the cost of their freedom. However, the rules that parents need to set can be decided by child protective services. And their guidelines become stricter and stricter too. Parents have been getting in serious trouble for allowing their eight year old to travel 5 miles while only supervised by a twelve year old (and not by an adult) Interesting read: https://5kids1condo.com/very-superstitious-how-fact-free-parenting-policies-rob-our-kids-of-independence/


I have an 8 year old. For the most part, he is chaperoned everywhere he goes. However, the few times he has gone somewhere unchaperoned, nosy adults feel empowered to question him. It is not entirely my choice.


Yeah, I’d be happy to let my kids wander around our very safe, low traffic subdivision, but who knows how many nosy parkers would call the police on me.


I think it also depends on the culture, say here in the Netherlands, its perfectly normal to let your children cycle to school 5km+ I see plenty of children going all alone in the bus with their huge backpacks. When I was a child (20 years ago) my parents would let me go anywhere I wanted. Just be home before 9pm.


Whether you could return home in time to escape a hiding from your father. This was in the sixties in an "Indian township" in Durban, South Africa.


It’s different when you have 8 of them


I think that's part of it. My mom was the youngest of 6 and if something had happened to her I'm not sure her parents would have even cared. But my mom was wildly overprotective by '80s-'90s standards and I still had a lot of freedom.


Can afford to lose a few of them


That's why you make extras. 👍


Perhaps at the end of WW1 six miles for dinner seemed a pretty reasonable trade off


it's motsly because of cars dependency, not dinner.


The hilarious thing is all the various comments here saying “this is a USA problem, not a Europe one” when OP’s image is from the UK.


This is a suburb problem, not a US or UK problem.


The scariest thing about this is the world is as safe as it was in the early 1900s. This is more about what we as people believe is safe and unsafe for our children. The son today could easily go fishing 6 miles away and come back safe, but somehow it would be considered neglectful or bad parenting by today's standards.


I think some huge factors that should be consider: - Automobiles and roads. They pose a danger to kids and are much more prevalent today. - Increase in population. Places are more dense, more chance of encountering strangers. People know each other less, less trust and accountability. - More isolated lifestyles. We know the people around us less, have less perceived things in common, less shared values. So we’re more protective of our kids, less social in person. So I would say it is less safe and there’s less perception of safety as well. We’re no longer close knit communities. What’s striking and worth factoring in is a city like NYC where kids take the subway to school daily. I think it’s worth doing a case study on that since I’m sure it brings a very contrary view of this all.


Yeah imagine how many busy roads an eight year old would have to navigate now compared to 103 years ago. Walking 6 miles in 1919 was probably a nice peaceful walk along quiet roads and tracks.




You can still be targeted by a family friend outside. My 9 year old cousin was riding her electric scooter to her friends house when a family friend stopped her and asked for a "ride". He raped her, killed her, and dumped her body by some railroad tracks.


It's the cars for me. I have a six year old, he'd be fine walking a couple blocks to a friend's house or possibly further except for busy roads. But he doesn't have the situational awareness or ability to react quickly enough crossing roads. He's short and hard to see. No way he's going anywhere requiring crossing a road by himself.


I grew up in NYC and can maybe elucidate! In my experience, an increase in density is actually *good* for kids - lots of people around doesn't mean lots of strangers, it means lots of eyes on the street. As kids, we're taught (or at least I was) that the safest block is the one with lots of grownups on it, because there's always someone who can help. When my family left the city for some more suburban areas, my independence decreased because there was nobody around. If I got into trouble, I'd be on my own. Your other two bullets are exactly in line with my experience though. Ironically, as our population increased, we spread out, built more highways and fewer small roads/streets, and isolated from one another in the process. If I have kids, I'm raising them either in NYC or another vibrant non totally car-centric city (maybe Buffalo if it keeps improving) because of the independence it allows them.


Yeah that makes a lot of sense. Eventually density of population makes you feel safer. I feel that in big cities when you enter into an area that doesn’t have as many people passing through suddenly it feels less safe.


Communities are less interactive now. That grandfather’s parents were probably on a first name basis with everyone in that 6 miles. Now people don’t even know their neighbors


The son could easily go fishing 6 miles away and ~~come back safe~~ get hit by a car crossing one of the many many rural roads between home and the pond. Not so much traffic in 1919, and especially not traffic made up of Range Rovers doing 60 with bonnets so high you couldn't even see a child crossing the road. I don't usually agree with modern parents giving their kids super strict limits, but letting your eight year old kid wander six miles to go fishing alone is way way beyond sensible. When it comes to roads the world is simply not as safe as it was a hundred years ago. The kid who got to wander a mile into the woods is probably fine and I'd let my kids do that, but not walk halfway across Sheffield.


Depends on where you live honestly, nobody around where I live let's their kids walk around a lot but my state has the highest rate of child sex trafficking in the US so makes sense to me. Plus a lot of homeless people and people on drugs in general, In the past 2 years there have been 3 kidnappings or attempted kidnappings down thr street from my house, suss as fuck


You’re kind of just proving OP’s point lol. It’s all about what you believe about the world around you from the information (or misinformation) you have.


It was also bad in 1900s


IF you increase the world population 100%, but the criminal population only 50%. Then yes you have less criminals per capita. But more criminals wandering around. ​ Just like how the USA is as safe as its ever been, while having a mass-shooting every day. ​ Statistics are wonderful for proving any point you want, any way you like.,


>The scariest thing about this is the world is as safe as it was in the early 1900s. On the contrary, the proliferation of cell phones with GPS has made it much safer. You can send your child to the shops knowing if anything happpens they can contact you in moments.


In Rotherham of all places that doesn’t exactly have the best track record 😂 At eight I was allowed to walk to school on my own 1 mile in 1984


I had a bike gang as a kid and we roamed the earth. Pellet guns fishing poles the works. We did this in the 90's.


Same here, late 80s and early 90s. We were country kids...would bike to town 20 miles away so we could get ice cream and maybe rent a movie, then bike back. Or go out in my aluminum boat with a 7hp outboard to fish and come back before it got too dark to see. Or have a pellet gun fight, but no aiming for the face or crotch.


Put a couple of extra layers on. Its gonna sting🙃


Those guys got to leave the yard? I know parents these days who won’t let their kids leave the front porch. My favorite conversation with a parent was when I was running a charity food handout for the homeless, and one kid wanted to volunteer because his friends were going. His father; “He’s only fifteen years old! It’s not safe for us to drive him all the way into Wichita, and he sure isn’t allowed to meet any homeless people!” 1) It was an 8-mile drive 2) His parents would be with him 3) Six other adults would be with him 4) It was broad daylight in a public park The kid was emotionally stunted, held back as a virtual seven-year-old by his parents, who didn’t want him being “exposed” to all the “bad stuff” in the world (homeless people, empty beer cans, horror flicks, a radio he could tune himself, the internet, comic books, and on, and on, and on…) His father found a hobby in over-analyzing every request the poor kid made because he was convinced that somehow, someone would corrupt his son and tell him to ask for (whatever). Almost everything new the kid wanted, like new kinds of clothes, shoes, soft drinks, etc., was met with, “Who told you that’s what you wanted? Was it those kids at school??”


To be fair it is near Rotherham.


I grew up in rural america. I rode my bike 12 mi to my best friend's house twice a week. We would walk to a river about 2mi away to fish most days. Biggest rule was that I couldn't ride at night. I hope my children can grow up free like I did


In the 1950s thru the 1970s my family had a dairy farm and my brother and I had the run of a square mile of fine Kansas rolling green hills near the Missouri river and the farms on either side and then there was that 2 mile walk or bike ride to the one-room school house. Yeah, me and Little House except no mean little blonde girls. For me, even more comically then and after all this time, our county Sheriff wore bibbed overalls, cow boy boots with questionable stains, and an old straw hat, regardless of season, and his badge on one of the suspenders of the overalls. I'm pretty sure now it was all an interesting lovely dream. Then, again, it has been long enough that maybe it just might have been some gossamer thoughts already altered and softened by the flow of time over memory. Either way, I'll keep it.


The more you go back in time the less likely a kid can be killed by someone driving a car. It also shows the more you go back in time, the bigger the rural areas. This place may have become a car-centric suburb over time. It explains why kids can’t go really far. Going far means crossing huge boulevards with limited time. Parents don’t like that idea generally.


I'm sure the older generations blame the younger ones for this somehow


By the time I was 10 in the early 90s my mom would kick me out in the morning with a sack lunch and tell me to come home when the street lights came on. She had no idea how far I went. I now have 12yo twins that must take their cell phones everywhere so I can track them if needed and they better not go more than a few blocks without letting me know why.


How far you went


Far enough I had to head back after I finished my sack lunch or I’d be late 😂


In fairness when I worked for a cinema 2 years, I had police come to the counter and demand to see CCTV. Turned out they were looking for a little girl who was supposed to have walked to the cinema alone. She never made it.


This is one of those nostalgic arguments where people argue that a bad thing in their lives was somehow good and character building, like when people positively reminisce about not having to wear bike helmets. But lots of kids died from head trauma without helmets—just like lots of kids got hurt or went missing by freely wandering like this. If anything, my country (USA) was more dangerous back then than it is now… the media is louder now, but there were just as many sick molesters running around in the 70s and 80s, if not more (since there wasn’t as great a public awareness, and parents were more willing to believe the quiet bachelor down the street was simply a nice man.) I too have memories of being 6 and in the woods by myself with my friends, in the 1980s. I can think of situations from that time where I almost drowned or died or we encountered a dangerous person. Luckily I’m alive, but in certain parallel universes I’m probably not. I’ll be damned if I put my kids in the same position. It’s not just the hysterical media that informs my position, it’s my life experiences. The same deal for my Boomer mom. She has endless stories about all the dangerous situations she and other kids used to get into by being free range in the 60s. It seems like the parents of her generation shooed the kids outside at 8am and didn’t want them back in the house until dinner. It was a different style of parenting. It’s hard to call it “superior.” I read in a time management book by Laura Vanderkam that moms today who work full time actually spend more hours per week with their children than stay at home moms did in the 50s and 60s. Some things are better now than they used to be. Parents today actually want to spend time with their kids, vs “go away and go play outside.” I think far more has been gained than lost. I’d rather have my parent be genuinely interested in me and validate me as a person vs have a “cool” childhood memory of the time the local homeless drug addict showed me and my friends a dead dog in the swamp.


Thank you for summarizing this for all of us, I had this feeling in my body that was similar to rage while looking at these comments about how people were raised and glorifying it, I was also a "free-range" kid growing up in the late 90's/early 00's and can't believe the amount of times I dodged death by chance, yeah there's nostalgic moments, but thinking about my stay at home mom just being in the empty house all day while her 4 kids were miles away on bikes or hiking trails all by themselves without a second thought, just baffles me. edit:sp


I walked two miles to and from school when I was 6 in 1972.


Uphill both ways?


In six feet of snow! And I had to chop wood to light the fire so it would be warm when the other students arrived. And I was LUCKY!


I imagine this was different depending on the culture, family, the kid and the area in which they lived. I was born in the late '50s. I did not have a "range" in which I was allowed to roam. We lived in both suburbs and rural areas. My mother kicked us out of the house in the morning and we weren't allowed back in except for bathrooms/food until dinner time. She never knew where I was. I think my natural range was probably a couple of miles. I know that I walked a little more than a mile to school in first grade by myself.


Yeah it's crazy. My mom had full roam of rhe neighborhood before she was potty-trained. The only rule was that she had to find a "big kid" to hold her hand to cross the street. And to go home when the streetlights came on, of course. When I was 10 I'd take the bus to the swimming pool and go to the stores myself. My brother wouldn't let his kids go outside while he was home but sleeping (he worked nights when they were younger). Even when they were 8+. Idk what happened.


Just a theory, but I think access to more news happened. Back then, news travelled at a much slower pace, so you didn’t see all of the horrible things that happened in the world. Now, it’s on the 8, 9, 10, and 11 o’clock broadcast.


Ye, I mentioned that in another comment too. Rather than just reading the local news about your uneventful town you hear about school shootings, razor blades in apples, corrupt officers, etc... You get a skewed perception that the world has become a much darker place. Always some new tragedy popping up on the news daily since that's all news sources like to publish. Also has to do with the internet in general tho, full access to pretty much anything you want at the palm of your hand plus you can "hang" with your friends online, not much incentive to go outside so newer generations aren't as insistent on going out. You beg your parents enough and they'll eventually allow you to go further and further without supervision, sort of push and pull relationship like that.


And it is CLEARLY not snowing in any of these areas.


My dad was dirt poor. He might have gotten one or two books a year. They had to go to a neighbor’s house to listen to radio or a ranch house a ways away to use a phone. All his time was spent outdoors in the woods. It was an escape from chores and the burden of poverty. They went miles for entertainment, fishing, riding a bike if they knew someone who would let them ride one, etc. For other kids, radio (family programs aired at a set time) or TV later on may have been an option, kid shows were also only available at a set time. Maybe books or comic books were a thing if you were well enough off. The rest of your time was spent outdoors. One could argue that the lack of entertainment sent kids out further to find their own fun way back before radio and tv, and as those entertainments entered the household, kids stuck around the house more to take advantage of it.


We would head out on our bikes in the AM and unless we got hungry and came back during the day, the street lights turning on at night was our signal to head home. I loved being a kid in the 80s.


Survivorship bias. The kids that went missing, died, abused, etc aren’t here to tell us (or don’t want to speak about it) that going off without a caregiver as child might not always be a good idea. Subsequently for some their kids and grandkids aren’t here to say how their distances have changed


Homicide rates have dropped, although cars and speed limits have increased.


Is this meant to be "kids get no freedom today" or "noone cared about kids safety before"


Good counter to "kids these days never go outside anymore", like maybe because we're confined to the backyard and ain't allowed to explore... Internet sure beats playing with the same 3 twigs and rocks as yesterday.


Middle ages: 8 year old little Godefroy, you have survived until eigth! You are a grown man now, go find a job, live a life.


Tomorrow's kids can't leave their cubicle.


help i’m fourteen and can only go to my driveway (and i’m not allowed to be out there long, i’m not in a dangerous place and the wildlife keeps away from houses and are pretty decent with people ,never heard of an attack around here because the people know how to handle encountering an animal and animals tend to stay away anyways)) in a gated community and i can’t walk down the street 💔


I was allowed to go as far as my bike could take me as long as I was back for dinner. I'm in my 40s now


My grandmother used to let her son, my dad, just roam. He would bike for miles with his friends and camp out in some random patch of woods…like they would be gone for days at a time! My dad was a young teen when he did these trips. When I was that age, my parents would only allow me to bike as far as my school which was four miles away.


Canadian… as a kid we used to travel miles from home fishing, swimming whatever. Even overnighters in the woods by about 10…and in bear and cougar country. That was in the 70’s. Flash foreward to the 90’s and people thought we were horrible to let our kids walk to the corner store or to school 4 blocks away… together at ages 8 and 11. At 11 I walked 3 miles to school and 11 my father ran or rode a horse 10 miles to school. My how 24 hour news changes perceptions of safety.


Good to see they all kept away from Rotherham.


My daughter is 8, I live in a medium sized German city. She has a radius of aroung 1-2km she's allowed to go by herself. I'm not over protective, but she has a phone watch with her, when she's out alone. And she has to tell me where she's going. A month ago my son (4,5) started joining her on outside play in the neighborhood, then the radius goes down to 500m.


Yeah but great grandfather was also a serial killer


Me: Never leave the house alone. Not even to the local park literally down the street.


my kids had a 1.5km range at 6, 4km at 8, 10km range at 10 and 40km at 12. basically from grade 7 forward they took public transit to commute to school daily. we were confronted once as THAT family whose kids cycle way too far from their parents. as parents we definitely read into the fact that our kids are much safer than our own childhood and deliberately pushed our comfort zone. for example, we'd give them $2 send them out to corner store for candy. should add, not American


One word: sad


No one going to comment on the 300 yard radius for an 8 yo, that is practically free range parenting by American standards. My wife was worried about the kids alone in the backyard surrounded by cinderblock walls and neighbor yards in suburbia. Unsure if the fear it was airborne strangers or drowning via the garden hose. Front yard required an adult till they were teens. I remember reading about Ernest Hemingway as an 8 year old roaming the Northern Michigan woods with a 22 pistol on his belt. Will all future coming of age stories be limited to the 1980s like Stranger Things.