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Sep 10, 2007


Dahlia T.

I grew up in Manhattan and for 1-4th grade, I went to school 5 blocks from my house, but it involved crossing one avenue and one large cross street. I think it was in 3rd grade that I started walking to school by myself in the morning, but my younger brother was at the same school so my mom would check on my when she dropped him off. And our babysitter would pick us both up. But in 4th grade, my brother went to a different school so I started walking to school and back by myself, and in 5th grade, I started going to a school across town and took the bus by myself to and from school. This was in the 80s, when NYC still wasn't the safest place to be, so I think people are getting way more protective than they were.


I just posted this on OTBKB as well.

I used to walk to the school bus stop FOUR BLOCKS away when I was FIVE YEARS OLD. This was in Denver, CO. I was always running the street and neither my mother nor my grandmother if she was babysitting knew where I was. This was in 1977.

Now, my mother freaked out when my sister put her 5 year old son on the school bus for a 5 minute ride to school. (Memphis, TN) "Things can happen on those buses! Fights! The bus driver is not watching them!" blah blah blah. I was like, I USED TO ROAM THE STREETS COMPLETELY UNSUPERVISED FOR HOURS AT THAT SAME AGE.

What has changed? Our world? Are the risks more prevalent now than then? She says yes, I say no. Also yes now, we live more in a culture of fear and yes now, kids are more coddled. They are not used to being outside or doing things on their own AT ALL.


on my wall at home i have a beautiful silkscreen art poster with the following piece of wisdom on it:

"avoid news entertainment it will make you scared of the world and unjustly paranoid
life is wonderful! nurture your curiosity explore your environment"

news entertainment. think about it. fomenting paranoia is what passes for both journalism and entertainment, and wins high ratings. we are addicted to fear, whether it is of kidnappers or terrorists or bird flu or e coli, ad nauseum. this goes on in the "green" movement too, where organic food and "eco" building materials are sold not on the basis of their environmental benefits, but by preying on consumers' fear of toxins (especially parents). we are made to feel that NOT being fearful is simply irresponsible.

after several years of not watching news on tv, on the rare occasions when i am exposed to it i am shocked by how sensationalist it is. news media, tv in particular, makes money from promoting the "culture of fear" that shandi mentions. THAT is a toxin we should make efforts to avoid.

p.s. if you'd like to see the poster, it's here:

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