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How safe is it?

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How safe is it?

Postby Kay » Tue 29 Jul 2003 09:40 GMT

Squiffs wrote:
I think the abduction problem has led in some way to a reduction in walking to school on their own, I certainly wouldn't let mini-squiffs walk to school on his own, even though it is only 5 minutes away, but I don't think it explains the "drive 'em to school even if it only 5 minutes away" mentality which is now so prevalent.

I used to walk 3 miles each way to school as did all my friends, but there are kids in minisquiffs class who live NEARER to school than us (!) who get driven to school every day..............

I am afraid it all seems to be part of the same culture which dictates that kids should not be expected to go outside and play in the sunshine, etc etc...

Having said that, we had two cases of attempted abductions in our town over the past three weeks, so even minisquiffs is not allowed out of our close without an adult, or. in a group with his friends. A sad situation, but sadly a necessity nowadays.


This subject came up in the HOF, and I thought the Non-HOFers would find it interesting too. I wonder if there really are more abductions these days, or do we just hear more about them. If there are more, then why?

Is it safe for children to go out on their own where you are?

Any thoughts on this issue?

Kay
Last edited by Kay on Tue 29 Jul 2003 14:51 GMT, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby HesitationKills » Tue 29 Jul 2003 14:16 GMT

I wonder if there really are more abductions these days, or do we just hear more about them


Those are my thoughts too. I remember a few years ago the media frenzy surrounding 'devil dogs' like rottweillers and pit bulls, and it seemed hardly a week went by without someone being savaged. Unless I'm mistaken you never hear anything about this nowadays.

I think todays paedophiles are generally abused kids themselves which suggests the problem has been around for generations but may have been a taboo subject previously, but is now big news.
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Postby Terry » Tue 29 Jul 2003 14:37 GMT

I had a conversation on these lines with a guy the other week, I am still amazed how here in Germany every morning you see these really small kids walking off to school on their own.

I believe there is now a culture of fear in the UK, I've seen reports where a high percentage of people believe they are in danger of being mugged, yet statistically the odds aren't that high.

There is probably no greater problem with paedophilia in the UK than here in Germany, but I feel that the parents over there don't want to have their child being part of the 0.01% of kids that are abducted.
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Postby Squiffy » Tue 29 Jul 2003 14:45 GMT

From personal experience, we had become "normal" with regards kiddoes going out unsupervised, like how we used to do when young, with the usual warnings about strangers.

Then, in the past two weeks (school holiday time no doubt) there have been two incidences of attempted abductions on 10 year olds in our town.

From our side, not panic, but it is just not worth taking the chance.

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Postby Purley » Tue 29 Jul 2003 15:04 GMT

We have had discussions about this too. My sister suggests that in the past there were actually more abductions etc. but that we didn't hear about them. When we were kids there was no TV. The papers had national news but we very seldom heard about things from other countries. Nowadays we do and so we think its more prevalent.

That being said, I think it depends a lot on where you live. I live in a small city - I think about 130,000 more or less. Here, kids walk to school all the time. My granddaughter gets driven because she is in French Immersion and the school is a bit too far to walk. You could walk it but you would have to start off early and it would take around maybe 30 minutes. The children next door and across the street have about a 7-10 minute walk to school depending on how much they dawdle!

My granddaughter is 10. She is now allowed to go to the local park with her friends on her bike during the daytime. She meets other friends there and it is very normal to see older children on their own at the park in summer.

About a week ago I saw two little kids - I would say the boy would have been 5 or 6 and the girl maybe 4 - they were crossing a 6 lane divided road which is on the way from my house to my son's. It's in a residential area but there is no way that I or my son would let my granddaughter cross that busy street on her own and she is 10. She could probably do it, but there is traffic coming from all directions and I don't think its worth the risk.

Lots of children in my granddaughter's class at school are allowed to go the mall by themselves. I do remember one time when she and the girl next door, who is also 10, were allowed to walk by themselves to the local convenience store, which is about 10 minutes walk away. However, she doesn't do this on a regular basis.

There are lots of disadvantages to living in a small place - but there are also lots of advantages too!!
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Postby chabrenas » Tue 29 Jul 2003 19:15 GMT

Small community. Yes, that's the secret, really. I used to walk about a mile to school when I was in England aged 6 - but the child flow on the pavement was like a little river, swelling as it went along. I wasn't madee to wait for friends and go with them - we all got sent out of the gate roughly on time, and joined our favourite group as we went along. BUT:

- there were very few cars on the road
- I'm sure any villager who was around at the same time was watching us, if only in the hope of finding something to gossip about. Any one of them would have intervened if anything looked out of the ordinary. It was like having lots of bobbies on the beat.
- I don't remember hearing about paper boys getting murdered until long after I stopped doing paper rounds. But then, when it did become natiional news, it was a couple of kids out of a million or so.


Squiffs has a point: although it is highly unlikely that a child picked at random from the population of the UK will get abducted, once it is clear that a person who abducts children is operating in your neighbourhood, the odds are VERY different. The only thing that is highly improbable is that your child will be the FIRST in your area to be abducted.
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Postby Rich » Tue 29 Jul 2003 19:59 GMT

I think todays paedophiles are generally abused kids themselves which suggests the problem has been around for generations but may have been a taboo subject previously, but is now big news.


You only have to look at the seemingly endless stream of cases in the news of childrens homes/vicarages/boarding schools etc. which occured in the 70s/early 80s which are currently being dragged up to realise that it is the case.

Now news is sensatilaised to sell papers etc. Before it was actually reporting news for public information rather than profit. The sheer number of cars doesn't help nowadays, as in many towns/cityies it isn't so safe for kids to walk on their own. And if parents have to take them, very few are actually going to be bothered to walk their kids when they can drive it.
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Postby Terry » Tue 29 Jul 2003 20:11 GMT

And if parents have to take them, very few are actually going to be bothered to walk their kids when they can drive it.


Well I, for one, can't get my head around that. What happened to the "walk ethic"? (I thought that as quite good actually). There seems to be a lazy culture creeping into the UK, I know when I've been back and gone out with people they will get a taxi rather than have a five minute walk!!
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Postby Rich » Tue 29 Jul 2003 20:59 GMT

Terry, don't worry. It's not just you. Walk Ethic now is non existant in Britain (possibly excepting Central London to a point), regardless of whatever the politicians say

Britain is becoming very Americanised in that sense, and getting worse. Everybody now is getting a car as soon as they hit 17 and using it to sometimes go 100metres down the road for a paper/chippy whatever. There were 155kids in my year at school in the year we turned 17. At the end of the year, we did a little survey - only about a third didn't have car of their own (but could borrow a parents), and only 6 (I was one) had'nt at least applied for their licence. And it wasn't as if it was middle of nowhere with no public transport. It was Birmingham!

Nobody could understand why I did'nt learn and get a car, and even less understood why (a) I'd always walked/cycled or occasional bus to school about 2 miles away and (b) particularlty why I kept doing it even though other kids with cars would offer me a lift.

I've always been fairly self reliant. If I could'nt walk or cycle, I'd use the bus or train even from quite a young age. Very few others understood why i did it and didn't just get my parents to give me a lift. Even fewer of their parents liked that and on more than one occassion a friends parent ahs insisted on giving me a lift home after visiting because it "wasn't safe" for me to walk or get the bus on my own, even when i was 15/16 years old.

I HATE that attitude. If I ever have kids, I don't want them brought up in Britain!

Sorry. Rant over. Very few things get on wick, but the reliance on cars and British attitude (at least in America they have the excuxse that the cities were built for the car owener) to walking is one of the things that does.
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Postby Squiffy » Wed 30 Jul 2003 07:56 GMT

Rich you have hit the nail firmly on the head, and this was the point I was trying to make in make in my original posting (the child abduction sub-thread stemmed from this too).

Britain IS becoming a lazy society where people don't expect to have to work hard, walk, save etc etc. It's a great shame, and not the legacy I want for my kids.

The question is, what can be done, at this late stage, to halt the decline?

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Postby chabrenas » Wed 30 Jul 2003 17:43 GMT

It's a great shame, and not the legacy I want for my kids.

The question is, what can be done, at this late stage, to halt the decline?



The one thing you can do is to set your own standards, and insist that they apply to ANYONE who visits. We did this successfully in relation to things like sweets, Coca-Cola, etc. - and it didn't stop our kids' friends wanting to visit. (Partly because it went hand-in-hand with an active, participatory lifestyle and an acknowledgement that kids' clothes were meant to get dirty and battered. Parents of little girls who sent them to birthday parties in frocks when the invitation clearly stated jeans complained once, but complied the next time round - on the insistence of their offspring. "It's not that kind of party, Mummy!")

Travel is more difficult. If guest children live within walking distance, you can walk them home - but you can't make your kids responsble for ones that haven't been taught how to look after themselves.
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Postby Purley » Wed 30 Jul 2003 18:21 GMT

I agree. I read somewhere in some long article that it was suggested that holding a child's hand is not a good idea unless the road is very busy. It gives them a false sense of security and doesn't teach them to look after themselves. Of course, I am talking about a bit older children - not little ones.

I think parents have a responsibility to try to teach children how to cope with things that might happen when they are on their own. Of course, we all hope that nothing untoward will happen and kids can't always cope with things if they do happen. Its just that I think they should be taught - at least give them that. Trouble is that kids are taught to listen to older people and its hard for them to break that habit.

I saw a TV show where children who had had it drummed into them not to go with strangers - would actually get into a stranger's car (it was set up by the TV people of course) when the stranger asked them to help him find his puppy!

I would think that about 8 years old a child might know better. Under 8 - I don't think so.
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