Back In My Day…

We’ve all heard it before: adults regaling children with stories about how much harder or different things were when they were kids.

Image by Motor City Radio Flashbacks

The notion has become something of a cliche, but that doesn’t make it any less true. It is often hard to reconcile the way adults remember the world and their lives, and the way children experience things today.

Earlier this summer, Slate magazine published results of a survey that asked respondents “What were you allowed to do as a kid?” One of their most interesting findings related to when children were allowed to walk to school. Learn more after the break.

Slate journalists looked at the answers their survey received – over 6000 people responded! – and broke them down by decade. When it comes to walking to school, the results aren’t necessarily surprising, but they are startling. The majority of respondents who were children in the 1940’s told Slate that they were walking to school alone by the 2nd or 3rd grade:

Fifty years later, things had changed dramatically. Most younger respondents, who were children in the 1990’s, told slate that they didn’t start walking to school by themselves until they were in middle school – so, around 7th grade. That’s about five years older than children 50 years earlier:

Findings in this area are mirrored in others covered by the survey, and together they add up to paint a pretty conclusive picture: children in North America today are less free – more restrictions and less independence – than they were a generation or two ago. Read the full article on Slate to learn more about how walking to school, and a host of other activities you probably participated in and took for granted when you were a child, has changed since back in the day.

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