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Nowadays, for fear of child predators, it is no longer considered safe in many countries to let young children go by themselves to and from school, to a friend's house, play in parks or at the beach, go to shops and so on. What was it like when you were growing up?

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Well I was molested by a neighbor, my friend's father, as a child growing up in upper-middle class suburbia in America so yeah, horrible people have been around forever. So maybe it would have been better if people had paid more attention to their children back then as well?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

We live out in the countryside and my kids are free to walk to and from school and play outside at will until 6:00. Same as when I was a kid. In fact I encourage it.

Definitely a lot more kids playing outside when I was a kid. Could ride around on my bike and run into someone I knew or found something to do.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The kids in our area which is sea and countryside walk to school in groups. After school they play on the quiet streets with careful drivers. Signs warning children playing. All very nice compared to life in the city.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I grew up in the city and was always told to stay within earshot or sight of our house or the parents of my friends. There were hardly any predators in my country but there were lots of child traffickers which is worse. Staying in numbers and a presence of an adult does help a lot is what I'll say

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I grew up in UK suburbia in the 1970s and pretty much went off when I felt like it.

I have three kids now in pretty deep Japanese countryside. My kids walk to school and cycle to their friends' houses. I wouldn't let them go "to the beach" alone due to drowning concerns. Due to club, my daughter sometimes comes home from school at dusk, but she takes a different route that is more lit. Her coming home on her own will have some risk, but I couldn't tell you how great it is. All I can say is that what she does is not remotely exceptional. Everyone else's kids do it. The question talks of "fear of child predators" and some of it is fear and some of it is actual risk. Spend too long thinking about it and it will do your head in.

I grew up with lots of other kids around me, so my situation was completely different to my own children's. They have very little opportunity for the spontaneous stuff we did, knocking on people's doors and asking if they could come out to play.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Growing up in L.A., it was always a school theme to say "no" to strangers. More emphasis though was placed on staying indoors at night due to the danger of gang activities and sporadic drive-by shootings.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@savethegaijin. I was approached by a predator too when I was a child, but my instinct told me something was wrong and I got away quickly, before anything happened, and the police were called. As you say they have always been around.

As children we had more outdoor freedom but were always warned not to accept gifts from strangers, and under no circumstances get into a car with strangers.

I think that as children in my native country, we had a happy balance of childhood freedom and safety.

Make children aware, at home and at school.

.... and parents, check what your children see on the internet.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I was also molested as a child, stopped by a stranger when I was on the way to the shops to buy some sweeties. He told me a convoluted story, which persuaded me to follow him. It could have been a lot worse. Expecting a child to have the caution and wariness of an adult is expecting the moon.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I was approached by a predator too when I was a child, but my instinct told me something was wrong and I got away quickly

Same thing happened to me. I was propositioned to perform a sexual act. Such abusers often murder the poor victims.

So, we never allow our younger than 10 yr old kids to go out alone, play on the streets or go to school without adult supervision.

Cities are bad but there have also been tragic incidents in rural areas.

Our children are our most priceless possessions, so any effort ensure their safety is worth it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Expecting a child to have the caution and wariness of an adult is expecting the moon.

Absolutely Maria. Predators of this nature are extremely cunning.

I notice that all the people commenting on this site who have been molested, or had a near miss have one thing in common. We were alone.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

There were certainly a few dodgy types around back in the day, as ever. But we learned to steer clear of them and not accept invitations. Or yell or walk away if they started making you feel uncomfortable.

Not everyone was lucky enough to avoid unwanted and irregular attention.

Solidarity with those who have come forward, even years later. It's not always easy to talk about these things.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

What was it like when you were growing up?

My childhood was free, fun and safe. I was in and out of neighbors doors. I had fun experiences of all kinds. One Halloween my sister and I, both under 10, went into neighborhoods we had never even seen before to get candy. We came home hours after dark so much candy I could barely lift my bag full. Then the lie about razor blades in apples made the rounds. The paranoia has only served to create real incidents. Evil has won.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Perverts have been around as long as children.

I think a problem in Japan is that the police often keep a lid on incidents.

I know of two separate incidents where students were attacked and later we learnt that there had been other incidents of a similar nature in the area. The authorities thinking that not creating alarm being more important than warning of danger.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

@Mr Kipling. Yes, although in all fairness to the police, finding a balance between safety and creating paranoia is a fine line.

After the near miss I had when was a child, the school was informed an at assembly we were all encouraged to stay in groups to and from school, or in pairs.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

We live out in the countryside and my kids are free to walk to and from school and play outside at will until 6:00. Same as when I was a kid. In fact I encourage it.

I grew up in a small town where everyone literally knew everyone else. In fact, therevwere times when my brother and I threw rocks at freight trains and our mother knew about it before we got home. It seemed a bit stifling st the time, but we had free reign to raise Cain about town with little worry of being harmed.

For what it's worth, I feel for all of you that experienced molestation.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The big difference is this - growing up in 70's NW London everyone in our large scale neighbourhood knew each other and chatted with each other and socialised with each other. People lived in the area for long periods and people were not stuck at home on the internet or on their mobile phones or watching satellite TV etc. Kids would always be playing outside but it was safer because any stranger would stand out and there would always be neighbours about if anything had happened. We also had more police on the street beat.

Living in Tokyo you wouldn't have much clue who was living in your mansion block, let alone in your neighbourhood. And this is a similar issue in most cities these days. Too easy for perps to sneak into an area and sneak out again.

City dwellers no longer feel a sense of belonging to an area - they more than likely live there for property prices.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Late '70s, early '80s outside Los Angeles, we were told to go play outside and just make sure to come back when the automatic street lights came on. If my parents needed me, they sent my sister to look for me (potentially losing another kid for hours...)

Like someone said above, we were taught to say no to strangers and back then it was usually enough. Bad things happening to kids was so rare that when it did happen, entire TV movies were made about it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@TigersTokyoDome. I would like to see the beat bobby make a comeback in the Northern English town I grew up in.

In many respects, the community looked out for each other in those days and as you say, a stranger would be spotted quickly.

I remember the local bobby talking to me in a mild, way tactfully and professionally drawing information out of me. He did ask the question as to whether or not this man had a local accent.

City/town demographics have changed, but as I have pointed out in a previous comments, all victims commentating here were by themselves.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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