Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 05-24-2014, 03:07 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: On the beach!
Posts: 8,943
When did the 'stranger danger' fear begin?

Wandering through a bushland reserve today with my kid and grandkids, it occurred to me that when I was a kid it would have been the same trek, but by myself or with a cacophony of other kids...climbing trees, navigating creeks and looking for tadpoles etc.

So my memories of the late 1960's and all of the 70's are pretty clear: weekends and school holidays you were banished from the house (except to come home to eat). Same with after school...you'd dump your bag inside the front door, then piss off to get up to mischief somewhere else.

All this has changed now obviously. But I wonder when it all changed and what the catalyst was? I truly believe that the world is not more dangerous now than it was back then, but what was the thing that triggered parents into keeping their kids uber-safe?
#2
Old 05-24-2014, 03:14 AM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NH
Posts: 21,833
1981, when people from Boston to Kansas began reporting clowns in white vans trying to abduct children.
#3
Old 05-24-2014, 03:20 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: On the beach!
Posts: 8,943
Quote:
Originally Posted by elfkin477 View Post
1981, when people from Boston to Kansas began reporting clowns in white vans trying to abduct children.
I'm not sure if this is a whoosh or not, so I must demand a cite!
#4
Old 05-24-2014, 03:22 AM
NDP NDP is offline
Member
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: PNW USA
Posts: 8,285
Quote:
Originally Posted by kambuckta View Post
Wandering through a bushland reserve today with my kid and grandkids, it occurred to me that when I was a kid it would have been the same trek, but by myself or with a cacophony of other kids...climbing trees, navigating creeks and looking for tadpoles etc.

So my memories of the late 1960's and all of the 70's are pretty clear: weekends and school holidays you were banished from the house (except to come home to eat). Same with after school...you'd dump your bag inside the front door, then piss off to get up to mischief somewhere else.

All this has changed now obviously. But I wonder when it all changed and what the catalyst was? I truly believe that the world is not more dangerous now than it was back then, but what was the thing that triggered parents into keeping their kids uber-safe?
Australia must've been a fairly safe and quiet place during the late 60s and 70s because I grew up during that same time in the US was frequently warned by parents, teachers, and in-class movies not to trust strangers or even talk to them. And don't get me started on all the precautions they threw at you for trick-or-treating on Halloween.
__________________
Can also be seen at:

Last FM Library Thing
#5
Old 05-24-2014, 03:23 AM
BANNED
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 8,596
In the USA I think it started in the early 80s with some high profile kidnappings like that of Adam Walsh. Some countries still have more lax attitudes to "stranger danger" AKA realistic.

I can remember reading a theory that the cultural anxiety over child kidnappings and the satanic child sex abuse hysteria in the 80s in the USA was really about more mothers entering the workforce and having to trust their children to others. I just mention it because it seemed plausible.
#6
Old 05-24-2014, 03:23 AM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NH
Posts: 21,833
Quote:
Originally Posted by kambuckta View Post
I'm not sure if this is a whoosh or not, so I must demand a cite!
I first read about this in Weird New England by Joseph Citro but there are articles about it online too, like this blog entry and this other one.
#7
Old 05-24-2014, 03:37 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: On the beach!
Posts: 8,943
Quote:
Originally Posted by NDP View Post
Australia must've been a fairly safe and quiet place during the late 60s and 70s because I grew up during that same time in the US was frequently warned by parents, teachers, and in-class movies not to trust strangers or even talk to them.
Sure, we had the warnings like you mentioned, but apart from that our freedoms were great. Our parents trusted us to keep (relatively) safe. We'd rock home with skinned knees and smashed foreheads...they'd apply Dettol and Bandaids, kiss our wounds better, then send us out again to conquer the world!

Might it be possible for kids to reclaim their righteous place in the world? That is, exploring, getting into strife, bunging up their knees and noses?
#8
Old 05-24-2014, 03:40 AM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
Posts: 39,369
My memories of the 50s are very similar to the OP's. We lived in a relatively new suburb, with lots of fields and woods and creeks to play in. Also playing in houses in the process of being constructed. We were told not to talk to strangers, but never heard of anyone getting abducted. We were free to build tree houses, forts and dams, and capture insects for our collections. The only reasons to return home were for meals or TV shows.

Decades later, my mother commented that from an early age, I always came home with barely-living critters in my pockets.
#9
Old 05-24-2014, 03:45 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: On the beach!
Posts: 8,943
Quote:
Originally Posted by panache45 View Post
Decades later, my mother commented that from an early age, I always came home with barely-living critters in my pockets.
One time I came home with a dead snake, found in a paddock (field) nearby. Bloody thing started stinking to high-heavens a day later, but I still insisted on taking it to Show and Tell at school.
#10
Old 05-24-2014, 04:58 AM
NDP NDP is offline
Member
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: PNW USA
Posts: 8,285
Quote:
Originally Posted by kambuckta View Post
Sure, we had the warnings like you mentioned, but apart from that our freedoms were great. Our parents trusted us to keep (relatively) safe. We'd rock home with skinned knees and smashed foreheads...they'd apply Dettol and Bandaids, kiss our wounds better, then send us out again to conquer the world!

Might it be possible for kids to reclaim their righteous place in the world? That is, exploring, getting into strife, bunging up their knees and noses?
I don't know about that because parents now seem to be even more sensitive than they were when I was growing up in the 1970s--and they were pretty paranoid then. I spent many of my formative years living in the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento. The crimes of the Manson Family and the Zodiac Killer were still recent enough to give nightmares to people like my parents. It was also the middle of a period when the US had a steady increase in violent crime from the 1960s to the early 1990s. Everywhere there seemed to be drugged-up long-haired psychos eager to murder (or do something worse) to some randomly-selected middle-class kids.
__________________
Can also be seen at:

Last FM Library Thing
#11
Old 05-24-2014, 05:00 AM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: An East Hollywood dingbat
Posts: 7,653
Quote:
Originally Posted by grude View Post
In the USA I think it started in the early 80s with some high profile kidnappings like that of Adam Walsh.
Or more to the point, with the rise of cable news, which has to create drama in order to sustain constant coverage, and fear--rational or not--being a sure-fire basis upon which to fabricate drama.
#12
Old 05-24-2014, 05:35 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: On the beach!
Posts: 8,943
So, given that the chance of any random child being swooped up in some random abduction is about as likely as any one of us winning the lottery....is there any chance of us reverting to the 'good old days' when kids had the run of the streets and got to learn a whole shitload of stuff about life?
#13
Old 05-24-2014, 05:43 AM
BANNED
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 8,596
Quote:
Originally Posted by kambuckta View Post
So, given that the chance of any random child being swooped up in some random abduction is about as likely as any one of us winning the lottery....is there any chance of us reverting to the 'good old days' when kids had the run of the streets and got to learn a whole shitload of stuff about life?
Probably not for generations, maybe modern tech like GPS or other tracking or always on video and audio/wearable computers might change things?

But this is an irrational fear compounded by culture, even if you are a parent who allows your children more freedom other parents will criticize you or even call police reporting the neglectful monster allowing their children to roam free. Irrational cultural fears don't usually respond to reason, see example below.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_death

Quote:
Electric fans sold in South Korea are equipped with a "timer knob" switch that turns them off after a set number of minutes. This is perceived as a life-saving function, particularly essential for bedtime use.
#14
Old 05-24-2014, 07:52 AM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Suburbs of Chicagoland
Posts: 22,337
Look up the phrase "free-range kids" or "free-range parenting." That's the latest "you need to stop restricting your kids' freedoms so much" movement out there. I recall an article about someone letting his/her grade-school kid ride the NY subway without an adult and others being aghast at the thought.

Last edited by Ferret Herder; 05-24-2014 at 07:53 AM.
#15
Old 05-24-2014, 07:53 AM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 5,677
I think part of it is that there really are not anymore wide open free places to play like creeks and open areas. When I was growing up we had those undeveloped areas nearby but now everything is fenced off and nobody would dare allow some stranger kids to put up something in their trees for fear of liability. We have public parks but there are so developed and often crowded I cannot see kids going to them spontaneously. Parents are even uncomfortable about having other peoples kids over.

Now not always. I've seen homes where the parents could care less what kids are there and what they do and those homes become magnets.
#16
Old 05-24-2014, 08:06 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 3,306
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post
I think part of it is that there really are not anymore wide open free places to play like creeks and open areas. When I was growing up we had those undeveloped areas nearby but now everything is fenced off and nobody would dare allow some stranger kids to put up something in their trees for fear of liability. We have public parks but there are so developed and often crowded I cannot see kids going to them spontaneously. Parents are even uncomfortable about having other peoples kids over.
Yeah. Where we used to play back in the late 70s there was a creek where we fished for eels and caught crayfish, and the only way to cross was over a fallen tree. Now it's a housing subdivision with a big concrete bridge. There are walking paths by the "stream", but they're fenced for fear of drownings.
#17
Old 05-24-2014, 10:26 AM
Straight Dope Science Advisory Board
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Between the Moon and NYC
Posts: 13,018
There's actually some sciency stuff that explains at least part of it.

Tversky's availability heuristic and Gerbner's mean-world syndrome both explain how news coverage of violence against children affects our behavior and attitudes.

Availability heuristic is basically a mental shortcut that makes you think of immediate examples that come to mind; your brain assumes that if you can think of an example of a given phenomenon (in this case, violence against children), it must be important. The more that phenomenon is discussed in the news cycle, the more important you assume that phenomenon to be, and when it dominates coverage, it must be the most important thing ever.

Mean world syndrome holds that the more the mass media focuses on violence and other negative phenomena, the more hostile you perceive the world to be, whether it is or it isn't. Both of these phenomena have been magnified by the 24-hour news cycle and the Internet and social media, where information is shared easily and uncritically ("It may be wrong, but if it helps even one person, it's worth it!!1!!!")

Therefore, when all a parent sees on TV is violence against children, the parent is going to see molesters and kidnappers behind every tree and they're going to keep their kids indoors. This, by the way, is far from universal in that many of these parents would likely be child-centered and looking for reasons to be paranoid and overprotective anyway, and most parents I know are actually pretty rational when it comes to "stranger danger".

But I have a great example. I live in Pennsylvania, where Jerry Sandusky was the focus of most of the state and local news coverage for what seemed like forever. Many social services agencies are having a difficult time finding male volunteers, as well as kids to participate in their programs. Men don't want to be in a situation where they may be accused of molesting kids, and some parents are terrified that the nice volunteer is going to molest their kids. The constant coverage put this idea in people's heads, and there is going to be long-lasting collateral damage because of it.

Last edited by MsRobyn; 05-24-2014 at 10:30 AM.
#18
Old 05-24-2014, 10:57 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sweet Home Chicago
Posts: 33,496
Quote:
Originally Posted by panache45 View Post
My memories of the 50s are very similar to the OP's. We lived in a relatively new suburb, with lots of fields and woods and creeks to play in. Also playing in houses in the process of being constructed. We were told not to talk to strangers, but never heard of anyone getting abducted. We were free to build tree houses, forts and dams, and capture insects for our collections. The only reasons to return home were for meals or TV shows.
I spent most of my childhood in the 80's (born in 1974) in a suburb of Chicago, and my memories are essentially the same, except that we couldn't go too far without letting our (stay-at-home) moms know, and that was defined as a couple of blocks, rather than a couple of miles. This is consistent with research that the radius in which children are allowed to roam has become smaller with each generation in the last century, and has declined by almost 90% since 1970 in Britain (page 7). I suspect the US numbers are about the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grude View Post
But this is an irrational fear compounded by culture, even if you are a parent who allows your children more freedom other parents will criticize you or even call police reporting the neglectful monster allowing their children to roam free.
Yes. That is my fear. Even when we're camping, there are generally rules that the kids must be supervised by an adult at all times, often with a "line of sight" codicil. Not worth getting kicked out.

It's also a problem compounded by what other parents are doing, in that it's not much fun to roam alone. Even if I got over my fear of Children and Family Services being called on me, there's just no one else for my kid to roam with until they get old enough for gang behavior and police attention to be a concern. Playdates are planned in advance and arranged by parents around the parents' schedules. The days of going and knocking on doors until one of your friends could "come out to play" seem to be over.
#19
Old 05-24-2014, 11:40 AM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 8,097
Its probably as well that we don't tell children he real facts about danger.

Children are orders of magnitude more likely to be harmed, or abused by someone they know, especially their own parents than by strangers.

The problem with media sensationalism and public perception of risk is that it is entirely unrealistic and disproportionate, but that would not make for a good story
#20
Old 05-24-2014, 12:50 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 422
I was born in a suburb of Akron, OH, in 1967. I remember being 3 or 4 years old, and my mother having to tell me again and again not to talk to strangers. If I was lost, look for a policeman, don't go to a stranger. I remember learning that at school, too. At the same time, we were allowed to play outside, anywhere in the neighborhood. The only rule I remember was that we had to come home "when it got dark out." This was later amended to "when the street lights came on," because we had a different idea of "dark" than our mother.

I also remember that Mom had a cow bell she would ring when we were to come home for dinner. So around dinner time, we had to be within a couple streets of the house, because if we missed dinner, we were in trouble!

Slightly off topic, but still related, the hyper-sensitive safety thing is not just stranger-danger. Been to a playground lately? Too many of the kids from our generation got hurt on too many things. Merry-go-round, monkey bars, jungle gym... too dangerous, have them removed. Someone broke someone's nose with a tetherball - that's gone, too. Sheesh, the swings have seatbelts!
#21
Old 05-24-2014, 01:10 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Probably lost.
Posts: 1,935
I remember being in Girl Scouts and watching a cheesy video on "Stranger Danger." It instructed that, if a stranger came within 10 feet of us, we should yell out "This is not my Mom! This is not my Dad! Help me!" Even at that age (I was probably around 6, as I quit the next year) I found it extraordinarily stupid. At the same time, there are some reasonable boundaries to set - for example, upthread grade school children riding the NYC subway alone was mentioned, which I would find disconcerting.

I also think that the over-supervision of children walks hand in hand with over-scheduling - when you have a soccer game after school, followed by piano lessons and karate, there's not much room to fit roaming around the forest into. Not to mention the piles of homework.
#22
Old 05-24-2014, 01:14 PM
BANNED
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Antioch
Posts: 11,459
I grew up in the 60s and was told never to talk to strangers for this reason. We didn't have the rhyme "stranger danger" but it was clear it was about kidnapping.
#23
Old 05-24-2014, 01:25 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 6,067
A couple weeks ago I was reading a newspaper from a nearby city and apparently a couple teenagers came up to a couple young kids playing:
"The teens approached the children from behind a row of trees, police said.

One suspect touched the boy and yelled "Boo," police said. Madrid Police Chief Rick Tasler did not describe the extent of the physical contact.

The girl screamed, which caused the suspects to run away.
http://desmoinesregister.com/sto...tempt/9140387/

And the police were cruising the neighborhood trying to find them and the article was talking about "stranger danger"

When I was a kid, something like this wouldn't have caused such a police and media reaction.
#24
Old 05-24-2014, 01:49 PM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Alberta Canada
Posts: 4,482
Even when I was growing up (50's & 60's) kids in general were warned "Never accept candy from a stranger", but parents certainly weren't as paranoid as they are these days. I walked to school alone for most of elementary school (about 5 blocks).
#25
Old 05-24-2014, 03:04 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 40,706
Well, a sense of it existed in the 50s: you were told never to go into a car with a stranger (or accept candy). It, however, was at the level of "Don't swim until a hour after you eat" advice. People heeded it, but didn't obsess over it.

But back then, American's weren't so terrified all the time like the are today.
__________________
"East is East and West is West and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.
#26
Old 05-24-2014, 04:24 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 3,780
I think stranger danger has always been part of human culture for as long as we've been living in big groups. It has grown more pronounced now thanks to the rapid dissemination of sensational news stories like child abductions. Also, among the poor and ethnic minorities, teaching children to avoid and even fear outsiders is a survival mechanism because they are the children that are most likely to be victimized.
#27
Old 05-24-2014, 06:00 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 1,087
Quote:
Originally Posted by kambuckta View Post
So, given that the chance of any random child being swooped up in some random abduction is about as likely as any one of us winning the lottery....is there any chance of us reverting to the 'good old days' when kids had the run of the streets and got to learn a whole shitload of stuff about life?
Of course. I'm currently living in a large suburb of a major US city and my kid's day isn't that different from what was described by the OP. My 6 year old son just has to abide by the "Come home when the streetlights come on rule" which he often complains about because his friends are still out running around down by the creek.

Last edited by Pixel_Dent; 05-24-2014 at 06:03 PM.
#28
Old 05-24-2014, 06:25 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 17,348
I was born in California, which is where I think mom picked up the fear of strangers. The fear I think was long-haired pot smoking hippies. Then we moved to Louisiana and the fear was race violence. I think I was warned to stay away from black houses because they'd pour boiling water on you or something. Then we moved to the UP of Michigan which was really safe and I was allowed to wander the woods alone with the family dog. But always walk along roads against traffic (or was it with traffic?), don't accept rides (perverts and homosexuals!) and Halloween goodies had to be inspected for razor blades, needles and anything suspicious might be laced with LSD. That was the long-haired hippy fear thing. This was all late 60's early 70's.

Besides the warnings, I was still allowed to go pretty much anywhere I wanted by myself.
#29
Old 05-24-2014, 06:26 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 923
Penn & Teller did a Stranger Danger episode on their Bullshit TV show.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=53HU2Rje9vU

Take a guess which side they land on.
#30
Old 05-24-2014, 07:03 PM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 3,584
One thing to remember is that when kids were running around loose in the 50's and 60's (and most of the 70's), there was a parent at home for them to run back to. Most children of an age to roam now are in paid before- and after-school care, and each adult is in charge of ten or fifteen kids. That person is being paid specifically to supervise the children, not to let them go play by themselves.

Even if a child does have a parent at home, there aren't many other children just hanging around the neighborhood ready to play. I didn't have a paid job when my kids were school-aged, and they were allowed to pretty much roam free when they reached the age of nine or ten, but unless we went out of our way to invite other children to come over, there wasn't anyone out there to play with. They were all in scheduled, supervised activities, just as my kids would have been had I been working a 9 to 5 job.

Come to think of it, when my mom was at home, my brother and I were encouraged to get out of the house and "go play." As soon as she started paid work, we had to go straight home after school and stay there until she got home, and woe to us if we weren't there when she called.
#31
Old 05-24-2014, 08:00 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 9,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by grude View Post
I can remember reading a theory that the cultural anxiety over child kidnappings and the satanic child sex abuse hysteria in the 80s in the USA was really about more mothers entering the workforce and having to trust their children to others. I just mention it because it seemed plausible.
I think this is true. I'm not a conspiracy-minded person, but I even think there were people who thought of the (non-existent) rise in kidnappings as something young parents deserved for not providing their kids with a stay-at-home mother, and I think some people pretty shamelessly promoted the idea of the guy with the van in the hope that women would go back home "where they belonged"-- or maybe even thought of themselves as doing the country's children a favor by giving a lot of press to this issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferret Herder View Post
Look up the phrase "free-range kids" or "free-range parenting." That's the latest "you need to stop restricting your kids' freedoms so much" movement out there. I recall an article about someone letting his/her grade-school kid ride the NY subway without an adult and others being aghast at the thought.
He was 11.

I lived in Manhattan until I was eight, and my cousins, along with other kids in my building and my block, roamed around Morningside Heights in the 1970s. Now, there'd be some pretty little kids in the group, but some older kids as well. I didn't ride the subway by myself at six, or seven, or eight, but sometimes I rode it with my cousin who was just four years older (and some other kids with ages in between). As soon as I could tell time I had a watch, and I was supposed to be home at a certain time. I had a dime to call that I wasn't supposed to spend on anything else, and if I couldn't make it home on time, I was supposed to call.

When we moved to Queens, I could ride into the city on the weekend pretty much when I wanted, with the same stipulation that I be home at a certain time, or call. I was never getting into trouble. I was usually doing something geeky like going to see classic movies at revival theaters, then getting a slice of pizza and reading The Village Voice, maybe going to a museum, or window shopping, and going home.
#32
Old 05-24-2014, 08:15 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Port Orchard, WA
Posts: 11,056
I could play unsupervised in my suburban neighborhood, including in the woods behind our house. We'd both walk and ride bikes to the little strip mall a few miles away, too. This was mid- to late 80s.

I don't really connect "stranger danger" to kids off playing by themselves or not. That was always a fear, but even at its height in the 80s the fear was not forcible kid snatching, it was coercive abduction.
#33
Old 05-24-2014, 09:13 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 9,197
I remember one of the kids I used to babysit being afraid to come over to our house (this was in Indiana, not New York anymore) to show me her new bike, because the people next door had a panel van parked in the driveway. This was when I was in high school, around 1983, so she was about eight years younger than I was, and she had a "Stranger Danger" curriculum in school, while I had not, so the curriculum started right around 1980, or just a little later. Etan Patz (the first milk carton kid) was kidnapped in 1979, and Adam Walsh in 1981.

My Google-fu isn't finding any references to the first published curriculum for "Stranger Danger," but the milk carton campaign began in 1984.

The first McMartin preschool arrests were in 1983, which is a good starting point for "Satanic Panic," something that went hand-in-hand with Stranger Danger in the 80s.
#34
Old 05-24-2014, 11:21 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 9,193
Kam for a local perspective, I can tell you from personal experience that NSW schools had the annual classroom talk from a policeman in the 1970s. In high school, it was drugs, shoplifting, etc, but in primary school, it was inevitably stranger danger.

Now, that said, I think that was about the limit of it. The cop would finish his talk, the teacher would make us do a singsong "THANK you CON-sta-BULL So and SO", school would let out, and we'd give it no more thought. I was a latchkey kid (and my sister and I, looking back, probably would have let any smooth talking adult into the house), and we used to travel 150km to my dad's flat in Sydney (a bus, two trains, and another bus) on our own as pre-teens (illegal now). This was not seen as out of the ordinary. We felt safe, the adults assumed we were safe, but there was at least a rudimentary drive to make kids aware of stranger danger.
#35
Old 05-24-2014, 11:34 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: On the beach!
Posts: 8,943
Sure, I'm a bit older than you, and I too remember the drill of not accepting gifts from strangers, never getting into a car with an unfamiliar man (it was always a man) etc. But as you say, it didn't filter down to our actual activities, so the streets were always alive with kids. Not so anymore. In fact I currently live in a dead-end street with little traffic....despite this, and knowing that at least five (and most likely more) of the houses have primary school aged kids, it's strange that they're never seen except in the back of the Toyota SUV on their way to and from school.

Meh, just nostalgic I guess. And saddened that our environment has become so fucking sanitised (for fear of injury and litigation I guess) that kids don't get the opportunity to do really cool and dirty stuff anymore.
#36
Old 05-24-2014, 11:45 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 9,193
I'm torn on this.

I share the nostalgia, and a big part of me would love to see kids climbing trees, getting grazed knees, and making forts. However, to be honest, if I had kids, I'd probably be driving them to school too these days (just in case, y'know?), and I also know that a lot of my own time spent outdoors with matchbox cars, dirt, and pushbikes was probably down to the fact that I didn't have a Playstation3. My sister is always up my nephew for spending too much time on it, but by hell, those things are awesome! Tough gig for parents these days.
#37
Old 05-24-2014, 11:48 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 9,193
Also, I had a pristine surf beach with rock platforms, wonderfully dangerous little cliffs to climb, salt water pools, etc. I was a water rat. Also, there was lots of bush around to explore. No idea how I'd have gone in the suburbs.
#38
Old 05-25-2014, 12:07 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: On the beach!
Posts: 8,943
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLoadedDog View Post
Also, I had a pristine surf beach with rock platforms, wonderfully dangerous little cliffs to climb, salt water pools, etc. I was a water rat. Also, there was lots of bush around to explore. No idea how I'd have gone in the suburbs.
Yeah, same. In the 60's I lived in a coastal town (population 3000) but this number swelled to 15k over the summer holidays. Now it's commutable to Melbourne, wot with freeways and stuff.

And I hear ya with the technology stuff. The grandkidlet is 4yrs old with his own freakin' tablet. It too opens the world up (his fave website is the BOM! He knows where Giles is, smartarse kid.) And how can I complain about him using such devices when Nana gets stuck in front of her ancient old desktop for hours a day too?

#39
Old 05-25-2014, 12:11 AM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 9,193
Quote:
Originally Posted by kambuckta View Post
In the 60's I lived in a coastal town (population 3000) but this number swelled to 15k over the summer holidays. Now it's commutable to Melbourne, wot with freeways and stuff.
Hehee. This takes me back! With hindsight, the Sydney summer visitors kept our local economy humming along, but we kids didn't care a rat's about that. We called the Sydney tourists "Parras" (for Parramatta).

Big graffito on a cliff (pre-spray can graffiti, so daubed on in white paint with a brush) on a headland, high above a popular beach: FUCK OFF PARRAS!
#40
Old 05-25-2014, 12:17 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: On the beach!
Posts: 8,943
Graffiti hadn't been discovered in the '60s. It was you '70's hoodlums who started it!



But anyway, we moved to Melbourne (tres rough inner-burbs) in the early '70's and I was still a street urchin. Merri Creek, railway sidings, dodgy back lanes were my haunts, and I guess it's a miracle that I'm alive at all (being a sheila and stuff) but I really wish my grandsons had the same advantages I had back then.
#41
Old 05-25-2014, 12:22 AM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 9,193
Rough inner-burbs. Yeah, that too takes me back. Scary Carlton and Footers in Melbs, and "Balmain boys don't cry" or the "Marrickville Mauler" in Sydney. Now wall-to-wall investment bankers (may or may not be rhyming slang).

A shame.
#42
Old 05-25-2014, 12:38 AM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 9,197
We live about four minutes from our son's elementary school, and he could walk home in about 10 minutes, but the school doesn't release kids to walk. They must either be picked up or take a bus. Granted, it's on a busy street with no sidewalk, but I think there was a time when it just wouldn't have been acceptable for there not to be a sidewalk, and parents would have agitated for one. Now, no one (except us, apparently) even thinks of their kids walking, so no sidewalk. When I asked, the VP looked at me like I just asked if my son could sell crack at recess.
#43
Old 05-25-2014, 12:42 AM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 9,193
Quote:
Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
We live about four minutes from our son's elementary school, and he could walk home in about 10 minutes, but the school doesn't release kids to walk. They must either be picked up or take a bus. Granted, it's on a busy street with no sidewalk, but I think there was a time when it just wouldn't have been acceptable for there not to be a sidewalk, and parents would have agitated for one. Now, no one (except us, apparently) even thinks of their kids walking, so no sidewalk. When I asked, the VP looked at me like I just asked if my son could sell crack at recess.
I have no idea if it's still the case, but the State Government here (Australia) paid for a free bus pass to and from school - EXCEPT if the journey was less than 1.6km (1 mile). Those kids had to pay a nominal amount to the driver, because the general feeling was the little buggers should be able to walk that far. Some kids paid. but most whose parents gave them the money would walk and buy sweets at the local shops instead.
#44
Old 05-25-2014, 12:42 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: On the beach!
Posts: 8,943
Quote:
Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
We live about four minutes from our son's elementary school, and he could walk home in about 10 minutes, but the school doesn't release kids to walk. They must either be picked up or take a bus. Granted, it's on a busy street with no sidewalk, but I think there was a time when it just wouldn't have been acceptable for there not to be a sidewalk, and parents would have agitated for one. Now, no one (except us, apparently) even thinks of their kids walking, so no sidewalk. When I asked, the VP looked at me like I just asked if my son could sell crack at recess.
(My bolding, I laughed)

But yeah, when I was in primary school, nobody got picked up by parents. You walked or cycled home, and for some kids that was quite a few kilometres. You could always tell the children who lived a long way from school....they got there all scruffy, and they were as skinny as bean-poles.
#45
Old 05-25-2014, 01:07 AM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 5,677
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLoadedDog View Post
I have no idea if it's still the case, but the State Government here (Australia) paid for a free bus pass to and from school - EXCEPT if the journey was less than 1.6km (1 mile). Those kids had to pay a nominal amount to the driver, because the general feeling was the little buggers should be able to walk that far. Some kids paid. but most whose parents gave them the money would walk and buy sweets at the local shops instead.
It's roughly the same in the US. Most schools provide bus service if a kid is over 1 mile away but not less.
#46
Old 05-25-2014, 03:03 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Emerald City South
Posts: 2,207
I guess my upbringing was a bit different. I grew up in the 60's in very agricultural rural Idaho, and to encounter a stranger ever would have been a noteworthy event. There was absolutely no foot traffic, and almost no "wild" areas. Spuds, though. We had spuds. We (me and my two brothers and a few neighbor kids) spent a lot of time playing on the irrigation canal.
#47
Old 05-25-2014, 04:55 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sweet Home Chicago
Posts: 33,496
Quote:
Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
We live about four minutes from our son's elementary school, and he could walk home in about 10 minutes, but the school doesn't release kids to walk. They must either be picked up or take a bus... the VP looked at me like I just asked if my son could sell crack at recess.
Yep, same here. My daughter's father lives 100 feet from the school. You can see the school from his deck. And yes, there is one street to cross. It has a crossing guard (a grown up, city provided professional, not a kid with a badge and a superiority complex.) And yet my 9 year old cannot walk 100 supervised feet to wait for me at her father's house, or to go to his house on "his" days to pick her up from school. Nope, nope, nope, nope, absolutely not, how could I dare to suggest such a liability inducing nightmare?

Really makes me wonder why they have crossing guards at all, if none of the children are allowed to leave the school grounds without an adult...
#48
Old 05-25-2014, 05:47 AM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 9,197
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLoadedDog View Post
I have no idea if it's still the case, but the State Government here (Australia) paid for a free bus pass to and from school - EXCEPT if the journey was less than 1.6km (1 mile). Those kids had to pay a nominal amount to the driver, because the general feeling was the little buggers should be able to walk that far. Some kids paid. but most whose parents gave them the money would walk and buy sweets at the local shops instead.
It's like that here. No bus unless you live more than one mile, but there are some exceptions, and one of them is having a stretch of street with no sidewalk, another is having to cross a street where a crossing guard isn't adequate, which means speed of more than 45mph (in spite of the fact that school zones have a 25mph speed from 7:30am-4:30pm), or 4+ lanes. However, even if a kid doesn't get a bus, he still isn't expected to walk alone to elementary school. A parent is supposed to walk him, or drop him off.

Another exception is special ed. kids, who get front door pick-up/drop-off, even if they live a block from the school, but a parent or designated pick-up person has to meet the bus.
#49
Old 05-25-2014, 06:47 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Osaka
Posts: 5,013
Haha Kambucta, yes, I grew up in the Melbourne suburbs in the 70s. I don't live there anymore so I don't know what it's like now, but when I grew up it was extremely free. Summer holidays were like long-term projects with the neighbourhood kids, interrupted by dinner and sleep.

I jumped off moving trains (on the Sandringham line), explored the local drainage tunnels and made maps of them (Glen Iris), built forts, bought fireworks and had 'wars' with them (against all probability no one lost an eye!)

Weekends and Holidays were completely unsupervised, for the most part. I gather it's different now.
#50
Old 05-25-2014, 06:56 AM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 5,677
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
Yep, same here. My daughter's father lives 100 feet from the school. You can see the school from his deck. And yes, there is one street to cross. It has a crossing guard (a grown up, city provided professional, not a kid with a badge and a superiority complex.) And yet my 9 year old cannot walk 100 supervised feet to wait for me at her father's house, or to go to his house on "his" days to pick her up from school. Nope, nope, nope, nope, absolutely not, how could I dare to suggest such a liability inducing nightmare?

Really makes me wonder why they have crossing guards at all, if none of the children are allowed to leave the school grounds without an adult...
Now that's different, our kids schools kids are allowed to leave un accompanied although I'd guess only about 10% do. Kids close enough do it often.

Now I wonder, what would happen if your kid DID leave and walk to their father's house? Would the school stop them? Call police?
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:19 AM.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: electrolyze water spit shake cheerleader spankies dryer perm press paula poundstone pedophile virgin escort 2nd generation puggle cholo shirt button neighbor flashing me tootsie wootsie dclxvi meaning idear accent definition bullocks mongoose bikes review realtor fucked backing band coca plant chocolate basted egg insomnia message boards visine ingestion cable modem firewall pan breaks pigs penises buying walnut trees navy bell bottoms buzzards circling body shudders radiator sealant walmart windshield wiper clips flintstone theme lyrics are obituaries mandatory ammonium and bleach spell wrongly trimps guide panama last names sentence using all letters of the alphabet jersey girl urban dictionary american world war 2 helmet what does pez mean is general grievous force sensitive songs about tough guys camel cigarettes subliminal messages how many pounds is one chicken breast how to check outlet ground with multimeter average cost for doctor visit how long do burns hurt can you eat sugar cane air coming out of ear when blowing nose the tyranny of evil men tastes good like a cigarette should why do cats act weird when you scratch the base of their tail famous songs in 3/4 first citiwide change bank what time of day is mail delivered i hate folk music songs for old lovers pho calories large bowl stop red cross calls star wars porkins family guy celebrate me home meaning how to adjust nose pads on ray bans how do i deepthroat old gasoline in tank high call volume message script slow down a gif quasi used in a sentence