February 1, 2010

Any time I write about “kids these days” I feel old. It’s completely unreal given that in a lot of people’s mind, I’m probably still closer to a kid than a real adult. Anyways, the point isn’t that I feel old when I’m not. The point is kids these days don’t have the same kind of freedom they did before. They never get to be independent.

In fact, I hardly see kids playing outside anymore. I’m not an outdoors kind of girl, but even I used to play tag with the neighbors in the front yard or go to the playground. I walked to and from elementary school too. And even though I live in a residential area with lots of families, I rarely see the kids. They don’t walk to school alone, even though there’s a crossing guard. They don’t even wait for the bus alone. Whatever happened to parents telling their kids “go outside and play“? Have parents gotten too nervous, which results in kids being nervous about independence?

Even back in my hometown, I learned that the mall has a curfew. This wasn’t too surprising; my town also has a curfew to prevent kids from hanging around outside after 10pm. You can’t be in the mall if you’re under 21 after 9pm. Not a big deal; the only places in the mall that are open past 9pm serve alcohol and therefore, you have to be 21 anyway. What was surprising is they’ve instated a new rule. If you’re under 18, you can’t be in the mall after 3pm without an adult. What?! How many times did I go to a mall in high school without a parent? A lot. Besides, think about how hard it would be to enforce this rule. Not even joking, at 3pm they’ve got security at every entrance checking IDs and turning kids away if there’s no adult.

I know the reason behind the curfew isn’t to protect kids; it’s to protect the mall and its other patrons. I get it; we don’t want the mall to attract unsavory individuals who might turn our nice little town center into a dangerous place. And as an adult shopper, I’m pretty happy that there aren’t masses of kids loitering in stores, screaming at each other down the halls, and overall making it an unpleasant shopping experience. But are kids just letting loose because it’s their only time outside of adult supervision?



  1. Two things:

    1) Re kids roaming around the neighborhood: it depends neighborhood to neighborhood. I never see that in my parents’ development, but where I bought my home there are packs of kids roaming all over the neighborhood. They play basketball, football, and skating in the street and they like to skateboard on my driveway because it’s long and sloped.

    2) Re kids at the mall: I’ve seen that at a lot of malls and all I can say is that they better have some other place kids can hang out in Wisconsin. In South Florida more or less the only thing to do was hang out at the mall. Sure, some kids were a pain in the butt, but at least they were walking around (getting SOME kind of exercise) and watching movies (since most theatres are at malls now). The alternative is to have them at home doing drugs and other unsavory things.

    • re #2: Exactly! Especially in the winter – being somewhere inside is key.

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