Letting children walk alone

Amie - posted on 11/12/2009 ( 37 moms have responded )

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I know this is something that we've debated before. Most notably because of a mom in New York who allowed her son to ride the subway alone. He was armed with a change to call and a map. (I believe it was)

Anyway, something happened at my children's school today that brought this to the forefront of my mind again. To which I again say a resounding NO my child will not be doing anything like that for quite some time. I originally thought around the age of 12-13 if they showed suitable maturity but again, my mind has been changed.

So after lunch I noticed an increase of patrol cars in our neighborhood. Whatever brushed it off, maybe I was just paying extra close attention. Then when I went to get them from school I noticed the front doors were being heavily used and were well patrolled. Again nothing clicked. Duh.. school was on lock down.

What happened was this. After going home for lunch eating and then meeting up with her friends a 12 year old girl in my childrens school was walking back to school. They had a man following them. Once they go to the school playground he tried to snatch one of the girls. Not sure why he didn't do it before then but whatever.

She was with a group of friends, they were within the schools playground area, there were lots of other students around as well as teachers. This man STILL tried to snatch her.

She and her friends reacted appropriately, they screamed their heads off. The teachers came running, the students all looked up, the man dropped her and ran. The police as far as I know haven't caught him yet, I don't know though since we were only told what happened. We will be updated tomorrow.

Still... if it can happen in a situation like that.
WHY would any parent think it's ok for a child to be going anywhere alone?
If it can happen with tons of people around while your child is with friends, it can happen when they are traveling alone. That map and change (or cellphone) isn't going to stop these types of people.

So I will err on the side of caution until my children are old enough to drive themselves around. People can call me paranoid all they want. I know my child will come home.

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I think for me, a lot of this really has to do with how unsafe it is to walk around here in general, no matter your age or gender or race or what have you, because of the lack of sidewalks and a recent increase in crime in our city (And yes, there really has been one. It's not media. A student from the college 2 blocks away has been missing since last weekend. Another student was drowned at her apartment on the other side of town. Cars have been broken into. It's not just made up bullshit.) It also has to do with the lack of public transportation. And with the fact that the first time I rode a school bus, a kid threw up on me. The second time I rode the bus, a fight broke out and a kid pulled a knife on the busdriver. I'm not paranoid and I'm not making shit up and I don't have a skewed view of the world I live in-different areas have different factors to consider, and considering all the factors of where I live right now, if I'm still living here when my son is school age, he will not be allowed to just walk around-the distances between things are large and there are few sidewalks, crime is increasing in our city, and we don't have a public transportation system. I'm not locking him up-but I'm not letting him wander on his own, either. Not until/unless I live somewhere safer.

Ez - posted on 11/13/2009

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Laura I agree that it doesn't need to be an either/or scenario. Locking them in the house til adulthood or letting them run the streets as they please are both very extreme examples of this issue.

But I do agree with Amie in that there is absolutely no substitute for parental supervision. Theoretically, if I stand on my front step, I can watch my daughter walk to the neighbour's place or the park up the road. We're not attached at the hip, she still gets to explore and have fun with her friends, but I am still WATCHING. I realise this is a personal decision, and I acknowledge that the risk may be small, but I simply could not take that chance, knowing that if something were to happen it could have been avoided.

Traci - posted on 11/13/2009

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Quoting Sara:

One of my biggest fears is that some sicko will break into my daughter's daycare and try to steal some kids...might be kind of silly of me, but you never know.

My daycare provider was just telling me a freaky story a couple of weeks ago. One of the ladies from her church lives out in a sparsly populated area. She was home and her daughter was waiting for the school bus in front of their house. She just happened to look at the front window and see this van pull up. The daughter bolted around to the back of the house, the van backed into the driveway, a guy got out and proceeded to open up the back of the van and push stuff out of the way, then try to go around the back of the house. The woman opened her door and said "What the hell do you think your'e doing" and the guy froze and looked at her and said "That girl..." then ran and jumped into his van and took off. He was caught a couple of weeks later, and it turned out he was a convicted child molester. So, this girl could have been snatched from her own front yard. That freaks me out.



That story freaks me out, too.  We live in a rural area, so the bus picks up my daughter at the end of our driveway.  I either stand out there with her, or I keep her on the porch until I can hear the bus coming.  Then, I don't leave the front of the house until I see the bus doors close.  I am just too paranoid.  It only takes one time to let your guard down. 



 



Sometimes you gotta be more careful about that kinda stuff out here in the "sticks."  Cities have the crime and drugs and stuff...but drunk hillbillies scare me! lol

Isobel - posted on 11/13/2009

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I was a free-range kid and I'll be a free-range mom. I am amazed my mother didn't lock me in a closet (not that's what you guys will do) as there were a rash of kidnappings in my city while I was between the ages of 8-13. I do believe that children are safer now than they were when we were kids because now they are educated (at least mine are...I told them if anyone tries to even ask them to leave the store they are to pull the loudest, most expensive thing they can find onto the floor, for one example)

I also think it's easier (and maybe safer) to be a free-range parent in a big city. There are always sooo many people around, and there's a firestation at the end of my street. My community is very tight.

I'm not 100% sure but I believe the chances of a child being kidnapped/molested/killed by someone who is not a member of their family is similar to that of winning the lottery. It would be more logical to do a back ground check on every parent of every child your child visits than stopping them from walking alone.

And driving herself would not seem any safer than walking to me since there areso many carjackings.

Amie - posted on 11/13/2009

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Ok I think my and most of the other poster's point was missed.

We are not locking up our children. They still have freedom but it is with guidance and a parent (or other trusted adult) there. My children still play in our neighborhood freely and will continue to. We HAD been considering letting our 9 year old go off our block to visit friends. Now she won't be unless we (or her friends parents) take her there and bring her home.

It's not a futile attempt to protect our children from harm, it's a few more fail safe's to ensure they are protected. It doesn't guarantee anything. Someone could still come into our neighborhood and try the same thing, someone could still break into our home or yard and try the same thing. But with so many parents, ourselves included, keeping an eye on the kids in our neighborhood and the amount of kids that play together here; There is less of a chance of it happening.

The less chance there is the better. We don't want to lock our children in our houses and throw away the key. Our children know their basic safety, some know more but I will not allow them to roam 'free range' in the hopes that it doesn't happen to them. We are meant to protect and get our children ready for adult hood. We can do that without being 'free range'.

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Charlie - posted on 11/14/2009

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I walked to school by myself from the time i was six , it was never an issue , lots of kids the same age would walk as well and we would often end up walking together , like Jo i grew up in a small town where everyone knows everyone , even today i see kids walking to school , riding their skateboards to school not much older than 6 or 7 , the whole town takes care of its own , always has always will , we have never had issues with kidnappings / snatching .

As a kid we would often go and climb on the cliffs or play in the pine forest without telling anyone where we were ( the knew anyway ) and it was always fine , freedom was being a child for us .

Things might be different in the city or larger towns but not much has changed here and while i will always want to know where my child is and teach him stranger danger and tactics to use if ever in that situation i wont stifle his freedom as a child , although i do understand not everyone has the luxury of making that choice , i know if i still lived in Bondi things would be different .

?? - posted on 11/14/2009

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I live in a pretty small town... I grew up in a REALLY small town... I would walk to school every morning throughout elementary and then I would walk to the bus stop (which was half way to the elementary school) every morning after that... Mom would watch us until we got to my grandparents yard then poppa & nanny would watch us to the bus stop or school. Literally everyone knew everyone, so if there was a new/random/unfamiliar vehicle or person in town, everyone knew about it and everyone was a lil extra watchful.



And when we got off the bus, you lined up and went into the building. Teachers met you as you got off the bus, checked off that you arrived and watched you enter the building. Until highschool - that was more relaxed. But generally, still just as watchful.



With the students all being from small towns, (1 highschool for 4 small towns) we all watched out for each other and the teachers, bus drivers and other faculty all had watchful eyes. We were encouraged to stay on school property during school hours and there were even before school, break lunch and afterschool activities that were held on a daily basis and organized by teachers, parents and students that allowd every student the opportunity to be within a group of people until their bus arrived or their ride arrived. The children that walked home, generally walked home in groups or with parents - again in a small town so everyone on the way, knew when school was out and would watch the kids go home.



This has been the 'norm' for over 50 years (since before my mom was going to the same highschool all of us went too) and there has NEVER been an instance where a child was actually taken.



There were 3 instances of strange vehicles attempting to snatch little girls, and each time, it was the community that made sure the lil girl was safe. It was the watchful eyes, it was the general comfort of the small town that had the back of the little girl. In a bigger city though, I doubt that would have happened, people in bigger cities tend to keep their eyes down and their mouths shut. Those 3 situations were on the weekend and very abrupt, middle of the day, in front of witnesses, attempts.



Growing up, our town was/is also a tourist stop (beautiful campground and historical background) during the summer and winter (hunting and skiing). So there was usually people around that we didn't know, but were friendly, AND their information was always checked/kept at the campground in order to insure the safety of the community.



Now I live in a lil bigger place, and I would NOT allow my son to roam around alone here, BUT, only because I know the people in this area and I don't want my son getting mixed up accidentally in the middle of their crap. When he's older, 14+ (hopefully we won't be living in this shit hole but who knows) he will be allowd more range, but before then, no thanks. Too many stupid people in this town. Just last summer there was a drive by shooting 2 days after a guy was murdered and then after that there were about a dozen people jumped and 3 more bodies found 'in the area' all because of some stupid drug 'war' going on between here and Vancouver.



That being said, nothing has happened since all that crap was cleared up, the people responsible are now behind bars. I wouldn't think much of him walkin down to 7/11 at 13-14 years old (he's 1 now, and 7/11 is about a 20 min walk there and back from where I live right now) or letting him hang out at Gyro (the local beach/park) with his friends. As long as I can trust that is where he will be and I can check up on him at any time.

Lindsay - posted on 11/14/2009

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This is an issue I fight myself over almost daily. It's like I don't have enough time to decide before they grow up! And I don't want to do it wrong! I tend to be more over-protective than I would like. I was able to do many things on my own as a kid and I have fond memories and felt better prepared when I was an adult and on my own than some friends I knew that their parents kept such a tight-rein on. But I struggle with myself and think of ages I was aloud to do this or that and can't imagine letting my kids. I've found myself feeling guilty for not letting the kids ride the school bus this year to preschool when all of the other kids (sans maybe 2) are riding the bus. That was me, not them. And they will ride next year. For me, I do think it is a lot to do with the media. Trust me, I'm glad it's there and keeping people informed and aware but it also plays in my head when making a decision about my kids. So I guess I would like myself to let loose and be a little more free-range than I currently am, but I honestly don't know how I'll be until we get to that.....

Amie - posted on 11/13/2009

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Quoting Laura:

Amie... just cause some of us let them out, doesn't mean we don't care. I assume you mean those parents (and I have known a few) who turn their kids out in the morning and ignore them till dinner...I don't think that's what we're talking about here.

There is a happy medium


NO that's not what I meant. That's why I put the sentence as a disclaimer right afterwards stating I didn't mean Esther or any other parent on here. My kids know the difference though because it is very split down the middle here. It's either parents like us or parents like that.

Isobel - posted on 11/13/2009

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Amie... just cause some of us let them out, doesn't mean we don't care. I assume you mean those parents (and I have known a few) who turn their kids out in the morning and ignore them till dinner...I don't think that's what we're talking about here.

There is a happy medium

Amie - posted on 11/13/2009

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Quoting Esther:

I'm not completely dense Amie so I did get your point. Clearly I understand that you are not keeping your kids on a leash until they can drive. I just think my cut-off point in terms of protecting my son from harm is a little lower than yours. I don't want my son to grow up thinking the world is this big scary place and he can only be safe when he's within eyesight of his parents. At some point I think I'm going to have to take a deep breath and let him do things on his own. Including walking to school or to a friend's house by himself. I want him to have that sense of independence, of accomplishment and of responsibility. I don't want to live my life and more importantly, I don't want him to live his life worrying about the 1 in a million what ifs. I hope you get my point.


I never said you were. No reason to get bothered by it.



Mine don't think the world is a big scary place, they do think we love them and watch out for them because of that. They see too many of their own friends who run rampant because their parents don't care. Don't infer that is what I am saying about you. It's not, I say it about the parents here who allow their kids to be "free range" because they well and truly do not care.



Mine have that sense of independence, accomplishment and responsibility. Just because they have parental supervision doesn't mean they don't.

Esther - posted on 11/13/2009

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I'm not completely dense Amie so I did get your point. Clearly I understand that you are not keeping your kids on a leash until they can drive. I just think my cut-off point in terms of protecting my son from harm is a little lower than yours. I don't want my son to grow up thinking the world is this big scary place and he can only be safe when he's within eyesight of his parents. At some point I think I'm going to have to take a deep breath and let him do things on his own. Including walking to school or to a friend's house by himself. I want him to have that sense of independence, of accomplishment and of responsibility. I don't want to live my life and more importantly, I don't want him to live his life worrying about the 1 in a million what ifs. I hope you get my point.

Esther - posted on 11/13/2009

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I'm with Jodi on this one. And the "free range" mom. I don't think there is any way to guarantee your children's safety. I won't send my (almost) 2 year old out into the world to fend for himself so of course I will consider his age & maturity levels in what I will & will not let him do, but I will not lock my son up until he's an adult in a futile attempt to protect him from all harm. I think that would only cause harm in the process.

Dana - posted on 11/13/2009

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I think the bottom line is this, it doesn't matter if the media has hyped it up and it doesn't matter if it is safer. Even if only one kid was snatched a year, one is too many. I'm sure some of the parents of children who were snatched also thought that it was rare, what are the odds. The odds are too high for me when there is even the tiniest of chances.

Dana - posted on 11/13/2009

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Quoting Traci:



Quoting Joy "the historian":

My children do not walk alone. I won't even let my 6 year old ride the school bus, because I don't trust her maturity level when it comes to her getting off the bus in the drop off area in front of the school and then walking straight to class. The bus is crowded with kids and she could easily wander off in the hustle and bustle.

I don't think she ever would because I have placed so much emphasis on her never ever wandering off, but someone could just as easily snatch her up in all the hustle and bustle. I have told her when she is in her pre teen and teen years I will let her ride the bus under the condition that she will never wander off. I already have her signed up to take a self defense course. I don't know at what age I will let her walk, but I know it won't be soon.





Joy, don't you live on base?  Do you worry even then?






 






I know when we lived in Okinawa, kids would be out walking around at 11pm at night on base sometimes.  To the video store, stuff like that.  It felt like the safest place in the world :)  Maybe its just an overseas thing???






Considering what just happened at Fort Hood, obviously no where is totally safe.

Sara - posted on 11/13/2009

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One of my biggest fears is that some sicko will break into my daughter's daycare and try to steal some kids...might be kind of silly of me, but you never know.

My daycare provider was just telling me a freaky story a couple of weeks ago. One of the ladies from her church lives out in a sparsly populated area. She was home and her daughter was waiting for the school bus in front of their house. She just happened to look at the front window and see this van pull up. The daughter bolted around to the back of the house, the van backed into the driveway, a guy got out and proceeded to open up the back of the van and push stuff out of the way, then try to go around the back of the house. The woman opened her door and said "What the hell do you think your'e doing" and the guy froze and looked at her and said "That girl..." then ran and jumped into his van and took off. He was caught a couple of weeks later, and it turned out he was a convicted child molester. So, this girl could have been snatched from her own front yard. That freaks me out.

Traci - posted on 11/13/2009

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Quoting Joy "the historian":

My children do not walk alone. I won't even let my 6 year old ride the school bus, because I don't trust her maturity level when it comes to her getting off the bus in the drop off area in front of the school and then walking straight to class. The bus is crowded with kids and she could easily wander off in the hustle and bustle.

I don't think she ever would because I have placed so much emphasis on her never ever wandering off, but someone could just as easily snatch her up in all the hustle and bustle. I have told her when she is in her pre teen and teen years I will let her ride the bus under the condition that she will never wander off. I already have her signed up to take a self defense course. I don't know at what age I will let her walk, but I know it won't be soon.


Joy, don't you live on base?  Do you worry even then?



 



I know when we lived in Okinawa, kids would be out walking around at 11pm at night on base sometimes.  To the video store, stuff like that.  It felt like the safest place in the world :)  Maybe its just an overseas thing???

Traci - posted on 11/13/2009

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I totally agree, Amie. It's so unfortunate...I know I walked EVERYWHERE when I was a kid. I was always walking to the park, to the store, to friends houses, to school. Now, I can't imagine letting my little ones do the same, which is particularly weird because we moved to a much safer community. But molester killer weirdos are EVERYWHERE, no matter what kind of town ya live in. You only get one chance to protect your kids, you gotta go with your gut. I'm with you.

Just last month a little girl in Florida was walking home from school with her sister and friends and ran up ahead of them. She came up missing and a week or so later they found her in the landfill. I'd rather be paranoid than sorry. I don't know if I could live with myself if something ever happened to my family like that...there are so many things that we cannot control in our child's lives as it is...so we have to take advantage of controlling the things that we can.

Being a parent is scary.

Jodi - posted on 11/12/2009

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I am in a city, on the very fringes (if you guys consider population 300,000 a city :)), and I guess our laws are also different. The particular area I live in is a very strong community - I can't go to my local shopping centre without bumping into a handful of people I know, and all the shop owners down there know my kids, and my kids know them, so it is probably very different.....

Amie - posted on 11/12/2009

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Quoting Jodi:





Yes, I did miss yours, it wasn't all that clear, thanks for clarifying your view.






I just disagree with locking your children up until they are 18, that's all.  But that's my parenting decision.  I do not believe they are in any more danger than I was at the same age.  In fact, there are studies that say our children are, in fact, safer.  I just can't find the book I have at the moment that list them, but they are out there somewhere.  Use of the media has skewed our perception due to all the breaking news and amber alerts, etc.  My step-daughter is 17 and she has been catching the city buses since she was 14, walking/riding on her own to school since she was 12.






I know of no-one who doesn't start allowing their 12 year olds the sort of freedom I allow my son (not saying that is WHY I do it, because that's not the case, I have done my own research on the issue).  It is possible that perhaps we have fewer problems, or view it with less fear here in Australia. 





No I don't agree with locking them up until their 18 either. That's extreme but I will ferret them around to their various activities, friends houses, outtings, etc. Until they are old enough to drive themselves.



I also live in a city. I am also in a different country. So the way we view things could be drastically different just because of those two things.

Jodi - posted on 11/12/2009

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Quoting Ava:

My daughter will not be walking anywhere alone until she is 18. Period. It doesn't have to be with me, but it will at least be with a male friend that I know. I'm getting far too scared about all these little girls disappearing to risk it.



Good luck with that...... It's your choice, but I strongly suspect that will be an uphill battle.

Jodi - posted on 11/12/2009

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Quoting Amie:



Quoting Jodi:




Quoting Amie:

It has very little to do with media too. Sorry but that's not true. It was just as a real threat back then as it is now. Back then though a lot more kids were lost for good because their parents, police, etc. did not have the resources to notify the populace at large fast. Now a days we do. Amber alerts, breaking news stories, etc. It's all there, it's all there for a reason. To keep our children safe and to bring them home alive and safe, hopefully.








That's the point I was getting at.  Our children are no more at risk than we were as children.  In actual fact, with all the checks and balances that have been put into place these days, children are actually safer than they have ever been. 









I think you missed mine. Those resources are in place but it still doesn't stop these people from trying this crap.






Criminals are getting smarter and more sophisticated. They adapt as techonolgy and science adapts to catch them. If it was just a case of us being able to catch them faster then they would virtually be wiped out by now. But they are not. They are still a risk, our children's lives are still at risk. They always will be until laws change. Especially for repeat offenders, which the majority are. My own sister (at 16) is not allowed out alone at night. She is not allowed to walk around with friends, period. It is because of things like this.






Our laws, which are supposed to protect the people, let out a violent sex offender because he served his time. He likes teenage girls. He lives one block away from my sister. There are many sex offenders, from pedophiles to just plain old creeps, living in our cities and towns all across Canada and the U.S. because our laws let these degenerates out after so long. The only saving grace I will give them is that they MUST notify the public when one is released into their community.






While my kids will have "free reign" of our neighborhood where I can see them, they will never have "free-reign" of the city or town we live in.






Yes, I did miss yours, it wasn't all that clear, thanks for clarifying your view.



I just disagree with locking your children up until they are 18, that's all.  But that's my parenting decision.  I do not believe they are in any more danger than I was at the same age.  In fact, there are studies that say our children are, in fact, safer.  I just can't find the book I have at the moment that list them, but they are out there somewhere.  Use of the media has skewed our perception due to all the breaking news and amber alerts, etc.  My step-daughter is 17 and she has been catching the city buses since she was 14, walking/riding on her own to school since she was 12.



I know of no-one who doesn't start allowing their 12 year olds the sort of freedom I allow my son (not saying that is WHY I do it, because that's not the case, I have done my own research on the issue).  It is possible that perhaps we have fewer problems, or view it with less fear here in Australia. 

Ava - posted on 11/12/2009

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My daughter will not be walking anywhere alone until she is 18. Period. It doesn't have to be with me, but it will at least be with a male friend that I know. I'm getting far too scared about all these little girls disappearing to risk it.

~Jennifer - posted on 11/12/2009

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I had found what seemed to be a great place to live (we are looking to relocate to a cheaper rental home)....it looks and sounds like a kid paradise.......and yesterday, a 3 year old girl was taken from her HOME in the middle of the night, 20 miles away.



Needless to say, that 'great place' has been taken off my list. I'm not moving from a place where I know my neighbors, to a place that 'looks better', looks like 'more fun' for the kids, looks like a better financial avenue. I'll continue to struggle to pay my rent in a place where i know my neighbors.

(this move would have kicked 250.00 a month off my rent now)



Granted, my kids are almost 5 and almost 3- and I'll NEVER let them out of my sight, or not know who our neighbors are.

(and I mean...background checks and offender registry checks......call me paranoid, but they're the only children I have...)

Amie - posted on 11/12/2009

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Quoting Jodi:



Quoting Amie:

It has very little to do with media too. Sorry but that's not true. It was just as a real threat back then as it is now. Back then though a lot more kids were lost for good because their parents, police, etc. did not have the resources to notify the populace at large fast. Now a days we do. Amber alerts, breaking news stories, etc. It's all there, it's all there for a reason. To keep our children safe and to bring them home alive and safe, hopefully.






That's the point I was getting at.  Our children are no more at risk than we were as children.  In actual fact, with all the checks and balances that have been put into place these days, children are actually safer than they have ever been. 





I think you missed mine. Those resources are in place but it still doesn't stop these people from trying this crap.



Criminals are getting smarter and more sophisticated. They adapt as techonolgy and science adapts to catch them. If it was just a case of us being able to catch them faster then they would virtually be wiped out by now. But they are not. They are still a risk, our children's lives are still at risk. They always will be until laws change. Especially for repeat offenders, which the majority are. My own sister (at 16) is not allowed out alone at night. She is not allowed to walk around with friends, period. It is because of things like this.



Our laws, which are supposed to protect the people, let out a violent sex offender because he served his time. He likes teenage girls. He lives one block away from my sister. There are many sex offenders, from pedophiles to just plain old creeps, living in our cities and towns all across Canada and the U.S. because our laws let these degenerates out after so long. The only saving grace I will give them is that they MUST notify the public when one is released into their community.



While my kids will have "free reign" of our neighborhood where I can see them, they will never have "free-reign" of the city or town we live in.

Ez - posted on 11/12/2009

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Quoting Amie:

 They can and have learned how to be cautious and take care of themselves in public, they know all the proper ways to deal with strangers but when it comes down to it...
An adult is bigger, stronger and faster than almost any child out there. I will not risk my child's life in the hope of teaching them a lesson. A lesson they already know at that.



That's exactly the point.... predators target children that are small enough for them to physically overpower. So while that 9 year old, or 10 year old, or even 12 year old, may be intelligent, mature, and safety-conscious, they are still no match for an adult.



 

Jodi - posted on 11/12/2009

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Quoting Amie:

It has very little to do with media too. Sorry but that's not true. It was just as a real threat back then as it is now. Back then though a lot more kids were lost for good because their parents, police, etc. did not have the resources to notify the populace at large fast. Now a days we do. Amber alerts, breaking news stories, etc. It's all there, it's all there for a reason. To keep our children safe and to bring them home alive and safe, hopefully.



That's the point I was getting at.  Our children are no more at risk than we were as children.  In actual fact, with all the checks and balances that have been put into place these days, children are actually safer than they have ever been. 

Amie - posted on 11/12/2009

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Sharon your stories are horrifying! =(



My children are free to wander our neighborhood where I and every other mom on the block can see them. If we can't see them there are kids getting yelled at and grounded. It's always been something everyone around here is strict about. I'm going to be a little more strict from now on. I'd rather not take those chances with my children. They can and have learned how to be cautious and take care of themselves in public, they know all the proper ways to deal with strangers but when it comes down to it...

An adult is bigger, stronger and faster than almost any child out there. I will not risk my child's life in the hope of teaching them a lesson. A lesson they already know at that.



It has very little to do with media too. Sorry but that's not true. It was just as a real threat back then as it is now. Back then though a lot more kids were lost for good because their parents, police, etc. did not have the resources to notify the populace at large fast. Now a days we do. Amber alerts, breaking news stories, etc. It's all there, it's all there for a reason. To keep our children safe and to bring them home alive and safe, hopefully.

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I agree. My husband and I went to Disney World for our anniversary a few weeks ago, and while we were there a little girl disappeared while walking home from school in some nearby town. Two or three days later they found her body in a landfill in southern Georgia. Cases like that are why my son won't walk anywhere alone. Aside from that, there's a lack of sidewalks in a lot of our town, which poses a danger to pedestrians-there's no safe place to walk. And we don't have a public transit system. He's not old enough to walk anywhere yet..lol...But once he is, he won't be walking alone.

JL - posted on 11/12/2009

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My kids are young and maybe when they are older my opinion will change more but as for now I just think of all the current stories of children going missing while walking home from school or down the street to a freinds house and their bodies being found not even a mile away from home.



I just get sick at the thought that your child could be that close to home where you are waiting for them and they are being violated and murdered less than a mile away from you and in their little minds they know how close they are to home and they are probably crying for you hoping you will hear them and you cannot hear them and do not know that less than a mile away your baby is being...uhhh...now I am crying and sick to my stomach...sorry I just cannot risk that ever happening to my kids. I let them walk across the street to freinds houses but I stand outside and watch them.

Sharon - posted on 11/12/2009

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Nope. There is a memorial park in Tucson to a 12/13 yr old little boy. He AND his friend were snatched off the sidewalk. Tied to a desert tree/cactus and the man left. One boy managed to get free but the man was coming back and he had to leave his friend. They found the boy sodomized & dead still tied to the tree with thorns and bugs ...

OH HELL no, that is NOT happening to my kids.

When I was 12 - 14 I was hanging out with my friend. She was going to this cheer camp thing and her brother was in some sort of football camp. They were practising at a sports field.

I was bored and walking around the edge of the field hoping to see a bunny or something. I gave up and went back into the sports park (just a bunch of small fields laid out for various sports). There was this tiny 4 ft fence. I climbed over it and was sitting on the ground watching all the girls & boys practising.

After a while I saw someone in the trees. I watched him. I don't think he saw me because I was on the ground & his attention was on the cheerleaders. He just kept getting closer and closer, tree by tree. It was really weird.

So I got up and walked away from the guy and towards the nearest boys football team, these were 16 yr old boys mostly. I kept an eye on the guy out of the corner of my eye. I went up to one of the coaches and told him what I saw. My friends' brother saw me and came to see what was up (we didn't like each other and were always trying to get each other in trouble - he thought I was going to get him in trouble somehow). I don't think the coach would have believed me, except for my friends' brother vouching for me.

They just watched the guy because so far he hadn't actually done anything. After a bit the guy started running and leapt over the fence heading for the cheerleaders. The coach hollered at the team and they all just charged this guy. He hit the skids in the grass, the cheerleaders sprinted towards the inner fields, and the guy doubled back towards the fence. SEVERAL football teams hit the fence at the same time and it just collapsed.

They all chased the guy, at least two of the dads got into their 4 x 4s to chase him through the desert but they lost him.

At least twice a friend and I were followed and had to find help at a nearby home. Once while selling candy for school a guy wearing a bathrobe invited us into his house. Um no.

No no no. My 14 yr old is allowed to be at the mall alone. he can't go to the bathroom alone, but in our mall, the mall offices, security center are in the same hall as the bathrooms.

So far he hasn't asked to much alone, but with soccer, football and after school activities he hasn't got that much free time.

Ez - posted on 11/12/2009

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What is so scary is that these creeps can be so brazen as to attempt this in broad daylight and with so many people around. I agree that the idea of sending a 9yo to ride the subway, or any public transport (except a school bus) is a risk I'm just not willing to take. They can develop confidence and independence in other ways, without exposing them to such risks.



For example, my street is full of kids. They are all allowed to wander to each other's houses, cross the road, or ride their bikes, because they remain in the parent's eyesight. The mums stand on the front step and watch them toddle off to their friend's place. The children here range from 6-12 years old, and I think this is a great way to encourage that little bit of independence while still knowing they are safe.When my daughter is older I will be taking a similar approach. Our school is literally a street away, but she won't be walking that by herself for a long-ass time.

Jodi - posted on 11/12/2009

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I let my son wander around on his own......he is 12. He has been allowed to walk to school since he was 9, ride his bike to school since he was 10. He catches a bus to school now (his school is about 20 minutes away). He can go to the movies on his own with his friends. He rides his bike to friend's houses in the holidays (and they here). He walks to the shops and does my shopping for me. I always know where he is, he has his phone with him, and he knows what time I expect him home. It is only an occasional thing for him, and it is a considered a privilege around here for good behaviour.



I have no problem with any of this, to be honest. Yes, there have been a couple of incidents in our area, but I just have a view that while there is a very small possibility that something may happen, we need to allow our children to grow and become independent. The risk of something happening is VERY small. The risks are no greater than they were 20 years ago. It is only because our media is far more immediate that we believe it is more prevalent.

JL - posted on 11/12/2009

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My children do not walk alone. I won't even let my 6 year old ride the school bus, because I don't trust her maturity level when it comes to her getting off the bus in the drop off area in front of the school and then walking straight to class. The bus is crowded with kids and she could easily wander off in the hustle and bustle.



I don't think she ever would because I have placed so much emphasis on her never ever wandering off, but someone could just as easily snatch her up in all the hustle and bustle. I have told her when she is in her pre teen and teen years I will let her ride the bus under the condition that she will never wander off. I already have her signed up to take a self defense course. I don't know at what age I will let her walk, but I know it won't be soon.

Dana - posted on 11/12/2009

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I tend to agree with you Amie. I think it's crazy to let your child wander around alone. I know people say that it can happen any time or that it's few and far between but, why take the risk?

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