In the last few days husband & I have been talking a lot about the differences in when we grew up and now. We both lived in very small towns, where everyone knew you and you knew everyone. So, if a stranger wandered into town it wasn't long before kids were herded indoors and warnings issued. Also, because of the small towns we lived in we had a lot of freedom. From fairly young I was allowed to walk to the houses of friends that lived within a couple blocks. Once I started school I pretty much had the freedom to walk to anywhere as long as my mother had prior knowledge.
I cannot imagine giving my 6 year old that kind of freedom. Within the last few months I've started letting her play outside and at the house across the street without me watching her. She has asked when she can walk home from school by herself & I felt my heart stop beating. Yes, her school is only 8 blocks away, but she would have to cross one of the 3 busiest streets in town. And that isn't taking into account all the other horrible things that could happen to her along the way.
When husband and I were young we were told about taking candy from strangers and never get into a car with a stranger. This was about as bad as it got for us. We listened and heeded the warnings and all was well in our small worlds.
We have to be so much more careful these days. The fear of abduction seems almost mild compared to the horrors we read about. We have to teach our children to protect themselves from predators online, in the neighborhood, in their schools and anywhere else they may be. How do you teach morals in a time when pedophiles live a block over and you can see porn by typing "chicken breast" into Google. How do you teach respect when kindergartners are taking weapons to school.
We've already had to deal with Trinity getting choked in preschool. Yeah, that didn't fly with me at all. That is learned behavior & that kid was never allowed unsupervised with my kid after I raised all kinds of hell. So, even in rural Minnesota we have our problems. I think every one does in some way.
I realize parenting is hard and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but I wonder what new horrors my children will have to fear for their children.