I feel some dismay when I hear parents of my generation saying that their children will never do many of the things these parents did as kids. Everyone says that things are very different now than they were when I was young. Of course some things are different. Are they worse? Is this country more dangerous for my child than it was for me when I was his age? I honestly don't know. I have read articles that claim crime is actually decreasing and that it's a misperception that our world is more dangerous than before.
When I was growing up, I did a lot of exploring independent of adults. My friends and I would ride bikes or walk all over the neighborhood--to the park, to the nearby variety store for candy or ice cream, through the woods--and while away hours that way. We crossed streams by hopping rock to rock and built forts deep in the woods. I walked to the bus stop and rode the bus to school. I took public transportation downtown with friends where we might go bowling, eat lunch, and browse the shops. These were great experiences in my memory. I feel they were vital to me developing independence and self-reliance.
Where I live now, there is quite a bit more traffic than in my parents' neighborhood, so that is something to consider. But kids can learn safe habits when navigating busy streets. I know fewer neighbors than my parents did. But I could make the effort to get to know them, to build a community where right now there are strangers. I think it is going to be very important to make whatever efforts are needed to allow my child to learn from his world.
This is a small dip into an enormous dark ocean of a topic. My strategies are something I'll continue to consider as my child grows.