15 Answers

I see so many people these days not allowing their children to do the things we did as kids. For example I remember when I was 7-12 going off to the park, walking to and from school, walking to friends houses, going to the local store to get bread and milk for mum. Nowadays some parents are saying they won’t allow their children out of the house alone until 13-14? I don’t believe the crime these days is any different to back then, I think with social media now we are more aware of what’s going on around us. So my question is, what age would you allow your child out of the house alone and what are your reasons?

Posted anonymously, 24th June 2014

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  • My 7 and 11yr old aren’t showing safe behaviours and aren’t allowed alone on the road.
    I’m happy for my kids age 16, 15 and 11 to walk home from school together. My 16 and 15yr old may walk to the local shop, but again they choose so to do together.
    My eldest was just recently 4wks at home with anxiety, due to being threatened by ex-girlfriends to be beaten up….so she doesn’t feel safe alone.
    I think times have changed, crime rates have risen.

  • We’ve been gradually making things allowable from about 10 years; but it depends on how responsible each child is.

  • My 7 and 9 year old walk the dog to the end of our street and back again. They also play at the school near us and have done for at least 18 months. We live in a rural area which, rightly or not, makes us a bit more relaxed about letting them out to play on their own

  • We live rurally so I felt relatively safe letting the kids wander. But I do think the world is way worse then when I was growing up, I don’t think the media make much impact, there is simply more crime. I guess my kids were teens before I let the wander by themselves, younger then that and they were usually in a group, there was usually more then one when they were older

  • Too much happens these days. For my eldest, I am at the moment saying 12/13 before I let him go off on his own – going to school mostly. I just 1. do not trust people, no matter where I am and 2. I am his parent and it is my choice.
    It is a dangerous world out there, and I would hate something to happen to my son when I was suppose to be there to take care of him and his safety.
    I will decide when I think he is mentally aware and prepared enough of everything – crossing the road, stranger danger ect… whereas with #2 I will probably allow him to go to schoo, with his beg brother earlier due to him not being alone

  • There has been a law in SA for about 40 years or more regarding the age at which you can leave a child home alone, also how old a person has to be when home alone with babies and the responsibility for small children. My brother and I mostly played in our yard, not out in the street. The next generation play in the backyard as most areas have no fences. In one suburb where there is a slight bend in the road on more than one occasion cars have been travelling too fast and ended up in a front yard. 2 that I know of cars went through the front wall of houses, one the front door as well. A young boy playing close to the front wall of the house was hit by a car and suffered not only fractured bones but organ damage as well. On another corner a young guy hit a safety fence, bent part of it over almost to the ground and the letterbox on a solid steel post was pushed over too. Fortunately it didn’t happen sooner as the family had been out in that area doing gardening not long before, together with a Guide Dog. It can be un-nerving having somebody walking up behind you in a quiet street, especially when there aren’t many others around even in broad daylight – even in main suburbs. I myself won’t go out after dark if I can avoid it as I am unable to drive. I am also wary of travelling in some taxis at night especially when some drivers don’t even know where some of our big hospitals are.

  • I remember I used to walk to School by myself from around Grade 2 or 3 and was always out riding my bike etc with friends.
    My eldest daughter is 9 and we live on a main road and I still watch them if they are riding out the front on the footpath etc. I just don’t trust people. My daughters know all about stranger danger but I also know of pedophiles in the area (all areas have them…you just don’t always know where they live) and of a girl being followed a few years ago near our Primary School.
    We have a milk bar probably 200m away from our house and I don’t know what age I’ll let them go to it by themselves but I’m sure for the first few times I’ll be watching.
    We also live on the road just down from where Bung went missing and that plays on my mind too.
    I’m not saying I’ll never let them do anything themselves and of course eventually they will want to go out with friends etc but we’ll get to that when the time comes

  • For me it depends on the child and what the neighborhood is like

  • depends on lots of factors, traffic, neighbours along the route, time of day, maturity of the child, friends to walk with, awareness of stranger danger etc. definitely not past parks or wooded areas. It is a different world to the one we grew up in so kids need to be aware of their surroundings and be able to handle themselves.

  • I personally wouldn’t allow my children out alone until they were 12 or 13 and even then only if they were with a group of friends. Growing up, friends of my parents had their daughter murdered close to our home and my parents were quite strict on me and knowing of my whereabouts. I think it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  • I agree with what you’re saying but with the crimes that occur the punishment is not great enough so it continually happens that’s why we hear about so many crimes happening. I won’t let my daughter out by herself until she is 12 or 13 personally.

  • There are different factors to take into account, such as maturity of the child, teaching them responsibility, etc.. We plan on making it a gradual process, i.e. from chaperoning at the movies to being in the same vicinity but not with them to dropping them off and picking them up afterwards etc but really, it’s up to you and what you feel comfortable with. We don’t want to live in fear but I think there’s a big difference between fear and caution so it’s really just finding the happy medium and trusting your instincts. It can be difficult though!

  • There might not be much difference in the type of crime however, the population has increased and with it so has the crime rate. I suppose whether people let their children out to do certain activities by themselves may depend on the area they live in, what time of day, who they will be with, how far they need to travel, how responsible they are – many factors possibly coming into play, a lot of us don’t know our neighbours like our parents and grandparents did and with news stories coming out regularly about well regarded people, quiet people, family, friendly people that have committed crimes – who can really tell what type of creeps are lurking about looking perfectly nice and normal.

    Sadly, this is the world we live in now.

  • I totally can understand where you are coming from, but because of the media etc…. I get too scared to let my daughter out without an adult, my daughter is 9. I think if she had someone to walk to and from school with I would allow it but not on her own. I too was able to play in the street with my friends when I was younger but life just seems so much different now. Unfortunately!!

  • I think the laws have changed and there is actually a legal age you are allowe to leave a child alone in a house and also the walking too and from places. I think a lot has to do with the maturity of the child. Go with that

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