This is worth a read – “Parental Supervision Not Required: The Freedom of Classic Children’s Fiction” by Sarah Hall in The Guardian.
Not without interest, though a bit obvious – “the heroes of classic children’s fiction enjoyed far less restricted lifestyles than kids do today. Is that why their stories still appeal?” Um, yes?
One wonders about future classic novels set in our time, in which young heroes and heroines must manage to have adventures within the confines of their own living rooms…
Strangely enough, the comments on this article are thoughtful and interesting themselves. (Now that is rare!) Apart from (presumably) elderly rants about today’s lazy parents plunking their kids in front of tv sets and computers, there are some very good points made. Namely:
1. re. Swallows and Amazons-style adventuring – kids never had that much freedom! These books were regarded as fantastical even when they were written.
2. the main reason that children are prevented from walking about unsupervised is not because of parents crazily paranoid about abduction, but because of the danger from motor vehicles – witness the sheer number of vehicles on the roads and the lack of skill and care of the drivers, not to mention road rage, cell phone use, etc. And no longer are there any really quiet streets. Even in my fairly child-friendly neighbourhood cars regularly roll through four-way stops and ignore the school crosswalks.