[PLUG-TALK] Arduino vs. Other Kid Toys

Russell Johnson russ at dimstar.net
Sat Dec 3 10:17:21 PST 2011

On Dec 3, 2011, at 9:06 AM, Rich Shepard wrote:

> I guess that I was a Free Range Kid: at age 7 I was allowed to walk the
> 1/2-mile to and from school by myself: crossing Columbus and Amsterdam
> Avenues and Broadway, from 84th Street to 82nd Street, and walking to the
> bakery on 86th Street and Amsterday Avenue early in the morning to buy fresh
> bread or rolls for breakfast. As an early teen ager I spent solo time in
> Greenwich Village listening to the folk singers in the coffee shops, taking
> the subway by myself, or walking the 5 miles back to the apartment. During
> the riots in Harlem in the mid-1960's I used to wait at the 125th Steet
> station to change from the Bronx express to the local while the riots took
> place on the streets above me. I wasn't worried and never had a problem.

I suppose it probably started before this, but I remember one event that pushed very hard in the direction of 'over protective' parenting as the norm: http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/gangsters_outlaws/outlaws/chowchilla_kidnap/index.html

After high school, I joined the Air Force and was stationed in central California. When I got there in 1984, I was stuck by the procession of parents walking their kids to school, even when the school was two blocks from home. This was primary. middle and high school. Certainly, as the kids got older, fewer were walked/driven to school. This certainly wasn't the norm in Eugene, where I grew up. I walked, biked and drove myself to school, when their wasn't a school bus I could ride. I found after talking to friends with kids that they were doing that in direct reaction to the Chowchilla school bus kidnapping. I believe this event was also the death of parents telling their kids to 'go out and play' at 9am, and adding, 'be home for dinner' as instructions for the day. Now, parents want to know where their kids are at all times. 'Out playing' is not a good enough description. 

Russell Johnson
russ at dimstar.net

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