Internet Highlights

Here are a few odds & ends I want to share with you all.

1.  My sister-in-law just informed us that it is possible to opt out of those godforsaken credit card offers!  Between Matt, me, and my business, we get a ridiculous number of these each week – usually multiple offers a day.  Talk about a waste of paper.  As a belated gift to the planet, consider following this link to opt out of the atrocious things.  My sister-in-law saw credit card offers completely stop coming within a few weeks, while her husband (who had not yet filled out the online form) continued to receive them by the metric ton.  And by the way, she did not give them her social security number and it still worked.  I just did this and it took all of 2 minutes.  Go!  Do it!  Be free!

2.  I may be late to this game, but I’m a super fan.  Have you visited the new Free Range Kids blog?  It was recently created by Lenore Skenazy, the New York columnist who allowed her mature, city-smart 9-year old to ride the subway home from Bloomingdale’s through a tony part of Manhattan on his own.  Oh, my, the stir this has caused!

In my opinion, the noisy parenting split that has ensued is indicative of what a superb job the media has done in making us feel that the world is Far Less Safe today than it was when we were kids.  I would argue that we know more now, in this age of published names of juvenile sex offenders (which I refuse to read) and national news coverage of each and every bit of Bad News Relating to Children (which I refuse to watch or read).  It’s not about putting one’s head in the sand: it’s about trying to sort out the news from the sensation.

Beyond the huge debate that’s raging over Ms. Skenazy’s decision to let her son find his way home on his own (and not to be totally glib here – oops! too late! – but if my son had hair like this, I think I’d let him do whatever he damn well pleased!), there’s some other great stuff on her blog. I highly recommend this one about the bacteria in snow potentially hurting our “plant children”. I’m in love, I tell you.  This woman is a breath of fresh air, if you ask me.  (Which you didn’t, but since you came here of your own volition, we’ll pretend that you did.)

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4 responses to “Internet Highlights

  1. I read the newsweek article and I’m so happy that the subject is being discussed in the media at all. I have often let my 15 year old step son do things that left other parents shaking their heads. But here’s the thing: how does a child learn to take responsibility for themselves if you never give them any? How do they learn important decision-making skills if we are always structuring their every waking moment? Then, what? We protect them as much as possible until they are 18 and then send them off into the world? That seems the riskiest of all!!

  2. I grapple with this dilemma frequently having had a wonderful childhood of roaming around outside freely. Trying to balance my children’s safety against letting them develop some independence and ability to negotiate the world we live in. My parents let me travel to the US at the age of 16 when I spent 6 weeks crossing the country from west to east, booking my own tickets along the way on planes and Greyhound buses. This obviously followed years of letting me negotiate public transport at home….
    These days I don’t think there is any way I would let my daughter do the same thing. But I let my children climb trees, roam around in the nearby bush/woodland (armed with a few ground rules) and generally have as much fun as they can. In a couple of years they will be riding their bikes to school by themselves – we are in training now.

  3. I listened to an interview with Lenore Skenazy on NPR right after she wrote about her son’s birthday adventure. I don’t have kiddos of my own so I understand that I’m completely unqualified to weigh in on the issue but I loved that this is a discussion that was being had by others. I think it’s important that we all aim to raise confident and independent kids and I’m happy to see parents making that a priority.

  4. oops. I own that comment up there- just forgot to log in my info. I plead end-of-semester-mush-brain!

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