Have you heard about this? It started with a mom who wrote an article about letting her 9 year old son find his way home alone in New York on the subway. She started a blog about it. There's been tons of response, both positive and negative.
I agree with the idea behind FreeRange Kids whole heartedly. I see why people are worried. And it's easy to succumb to peer pressure. So many parents out there don't want their kids out of their sight. When you're the one parent in your circle of friends who is okay with your kid going to the park by themselves or walking to a friend's house by themselves, well, it sure can make you feel like you're being criminally negligent.
I do think that exactly how much freedom you allow should depend on your kid and his level of maturity and problem solving skills. Davan gets to go to the park around the corner by herself. Max gets to go anywhere within the park he wants while I'm also someplace in the park. Eventually, I'd like to give him more freedom, too. He's not only younger, though, but has a track record of poor decision making skills.
When Max ran all the way home from school about a month ago, my main concern wasn't about him coming home alone. My main concern was his lack of courtesy and the fact that he was gone for 15 minutes without his teacher being aware that he was missing.
Of course, we can all agree to disagree, but please don't tell me that it's not as safe as it was when we were kids. The statistics just don't add up for that. More aware, maybe, but safety level has not gone down.