While I agree with the article, in that the US has some issues that would not make a US version of “old enough” wise or safe, I also feel like kids especially in the US don’t get enough credit. Modern parenting has become more controlling than ever. Parents track their kids constantly, as well as are in constant contact with them. When I got to school in the morning in middle school I was always expected to text home with “I got there” despite the fact that I was constantly being tracked. Parents should be encouraging and enabling their kids to go out. We should incentivize going outside. A super easy way to do that is to give more privileges. Push comfort zones, and you may learn something.
— Sabine, Hoggard High School in Wilmington, NC
I was eleven when I got my first phone. This meant I could play Temple Run to my heart’s content, but it also meant freedom, no matter how small. It meant I could go over to friends’ houses, walk to the bus stop, and ride my bike like a maniac around the neighborhood without needing a chaperone (the phone came in handy on the many occasions that I crashed). It felt good, like mini-adulting…When I was off at some corner store, friend in hand, their parents somewhere off behind us, discussing boring parent things, I looked both ways when I crossed the road. I said please and thank you, and left a tip for the ice cream man. I behaved because all the sudden these little things, bike rides, mango sorbet, that little avenue out back, they were my business. I am not one for letting kids run wild, but little freedoms are important. They teach responsibility and independence, but more importantly, build confidence and a sense of control.
— Tay, Bainbridge Island
I was about 9 years old when my parents first left me alone. Over the years they had put so much in my head about burglaries and other bad things like kid-napping. It made me so nervous the first time they left me home alone, because of all of those bad situations that I was thinking about. Every time a car or truck went by, I would go hide in the closet and pretend like there was no one home. Looking back now I feel like they should have immersed me in that experience earlier on, and not told me about all of the bad things that are very rare to happen. Still to this day I remember that first time and how nervous I was when it finally settled in. I was home alone. No, not in the movie, in real life.
— Oliver, Bend International School
Parents Should Not Hurry to Give Their Children More Independence.
After reading about the show “Old Enough!” I formed the opinion that children should not be given more responsibility at young ages. The article says that on the Netflix show, “Sometimes they get distracted from their appointed mission and start playing, and they often notice and interact with the camera operators, who appear in the background of many scenes.” This statement supported my idea because children who are young enough to get distracted from a task so easily should not be out in the real world alone. There is also the dangerous aspect behind letting kids go on journeys alone. Although Japan is much different than the US in terms of danger and the community, there is still the possibility of danger anywhere you go. Such young children cannot realize they are in a dangerous situation the way adults can. Therefore, I believe that responsibility and trips in public alone should be left to parents and young adults in the family.
— Kyla, Colorado
I think that American parents can be overprotective and I feel like they have a right to be overprotective. The world isn’t as safe as it was when they were growing up. I feel like these days there are more threats facing children today like kidnapping or sexual assault. These days you never know who to trust and you never know how safe you are. Parents try to protect their children from this cruel world and the dangers children might face. You never know what will happen and when it will happen.
— Victoria, JR Masterman in Philadelphia, PA
Responsibility Depends on Maturity, Not Age.
When it comes to giving a child some responsibility, it depends on the situation. Many factors must be considered, including where you live, the child’s level of trustworthiness and maturity, where they are headed, and much more. My parents let me stay home alone at eight years old, and they allowed me to go to the mall and restaurants with friends when I was eleven. Since then, I have been allowed to do whatever I want for the most part. I live in Miami, which is not the safest place; however, I am only allowed to do so because of the trusting relationship I have established with my parents.
— Lauryn, Miami Country Day School
My parents are pretty lenient and have never given me many rules to follow. I was the first out of my friends to be able to cross the street by myself. First to be able to stay home alone. And first to have the freedom to travel without supervision. Did my parents throw me into the world too early? What I too young? This isn’t the question I want to answer though. I don’t think there’s such a thing as too early or too young. I don’t think if a child hits the age of 13 they should automatically be given a phone(or granted permission to answer one of these questions). I think it varies for every child. Age is just a number and each child is so different from the next. It does not matter how many years a child lived for them to be granted something. It matters how responsible and knowledgeable that child is. A child who is 10 can be way more responsible than a 15 year old who is sucked into social media and hate comments.
— Rebecca, Brooklyn, NY