I saw a girl of about 10-11 walking down the road by my house a few nights ago. It was about 6pm and she was walking on her own. I said to my husband “I wonder what she’s doing walking about at this time on her own”. Then I stopped.
It was 6pm. It wasn’t dark. It wasn’t raining but my first thought was one of concern. Then it dawned on me – I rarely see children walking around unaccompanied anymore. I live on a new-ish housing development comprising mainly of houses which means children yet it is very rare I will see any playing or walking alone. The only time I see kids without adults is usually walking to school. Granted the nights are now starting to draw in but I thought and it was the same in the summer.
I remember the six weeks holidays as kids; every day and night we would be out the front playing or playing on “the green which was 2 streets away from our houses. There was a big gang of around 10 of us all playing out. Then when people started getting older, me and my next door neighbour would always be roaming around playing. But that’s what everyone was doing! The streets were full of kids, noise and games. But driving home the streets are empty, desolate and lonely. Have we become that afraid to let our kids play out of our sight? Is there danger lurking on every street corner?
My son will be 6 in December so luckily we are a while off him wanting to go out on his own but there’s a park not far from us. And I cannot imagine him going there unaccompanied until he was well into secondary school yet at half that age my parents trusted me.
It’s sad because I had the best times playing out with everyone from from down our street. I would hate for my kids to miss out on the fun I had yet I honestly cannot ever imagine letting them have the same freedom I did. Maybe when I am faced with the issue at the time I may feel different. But for now, I can’t ever imagine them not being exactly where I know and am in see able distance.