Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Markets in Everything: Free-Range Play Time

ABC News -- "Parents in New York are raising their eyebrows at the latest after-school activity offered for their children: unsupervised play time in Central Park for $350 (for eight 90-minute sessions)."

"Lenore Skenazy, a former journalist who has championed the "free play" movement, cheekily launched the after-school program to try and encourage parents to let their children to play without structure or supervision."

22 Comments:

At 9/12/2012 12:57 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"unsupervised play time in Central Park for $350"...

What kind of idiot would buy into this?!?!

 
At 9/12/2012 1:14 PM, Blogger Moe said...

Apparently no takers yet...go figure.

 
At 9/12/2012 3:18 PM, Blogger Moe said...

This is the same women who caught grief letting her kid walk around NYC by himself.

When I was a kid (late 6's early 70s)I would go with my dad to Chicago and he would give me a dollar or two and let me roam the city while he worked - I was in grade school.

Question: Were people less deviant back then or has our media and it's "bad news sells" become so pervasive that everyone's jaded?

 
At 9/12/2012 3:27 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Moe-

I think some of it changed with the rising of prominence of serial killers. Correct me if I am wrong, but around that time (60's, 70's), people such as Charlie Manson and the Family, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gasey, Jeffery Dahmer, started coming to national prominence. When you start to realize these people roam the streets (granted, they are the smallest of minorities), then you may be a little less willing to let your child roam aimlessly like pint-sized kidnapper bait.

I bet that Chicago was also a lot smaller (population-wise) than it is now.

 
At 9/12/2012 3:38 PM, Blogger Duncan said...

I have read and enjoyed her book and believe that our kids should have the same if not more freedom than we had growing up as nearly all stats show crime rates lower. Let's give her the benefit of the doubt that the $350 charge will make people think, "my kids can do that for free and actually let them do it" And maybe they reduce the cost of being an over protective parent

 
At 9/12/2012 3:43 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Speaking of kidnapping...

 
At 9/12/2012 3:59 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

since I don't have kids, I don't really pay close attention to the stats, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that violence against children is actually down. That's probably a function of crime being down in general - particularly since the 60's and 70's in big cities.

Getting mugged in NYC was a pretty normal occurrence when I lived there in the 1970's and completely out of the ordinary by the mid-1990's. Sadly, your kid is much more likely to be abused by a family member than by a stranger.

 
At 9/12/2012 3:59 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I bet that Chicago was also a lot smaller (population-wise) than it is now"...

Interesting question jm but not interesting enough to plow through the 1970 Census of Population and Housing: Census Tracts
Champaign-Urbana, Illinois SMSA—Chicago, Illinois SMSA
and the Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010...

I already had these sites bookmarked from something I was doing awhile back...

Yet according to a Steve Bartin writing in New Geography in a 2008 article titled: THE DECLINE OF CHICAGO: THE CITY THAT DOESN'T WORK, the 3rd paragraph: 'One of the great modern myths of big city America is that Chicago is some sort of successful town and a role model for others. By any traditional performance standards Chicago has failed. Like many old, big industrial cities, Chicago peaked in the 1950 Census with a population of 3,620,962. In the 1950s over two percent of the entire U.S. population lived within Chicago city limits. Over a half century later, while America’s population doubled, Chicago’s population declined. The 1960, 1970, 1980, and 1990 Census numbers showed Chicago losing population'... (no link to back up the statement)

 
At 9/12/2012 4:01 PM, Blogger Moe said...

Dahmer and Gacey were local for me - it creeped everyone out - still does.

 
At 9/12/2012 4:05 PM, Blogger Moe said...

juandos:
Yup, Chicago's downtown was a ghostown in the mid-late eigthties. They tried to entice young professionals downtown through subsidized housing - I went for it. Seems pretty vibrant now - and dangerous as hell!

 
At 9/12/2012 4:07 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Dahmer and Gacey were local for me - it creeped everyone out - still does.

Kind of like Steven Spader to us.

 
At 9/12/2012 5:06 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Yup, Chicago's downtown was a ghostown in the mid-late eigthties. They tried to entice young professionals downtown through subsidized housing - I went for it. Seems pretty vibrant now - and dangerous as hell!"...

Well I lived in Chi-town in the early and mid seventies...

I lived just off Racine Ave. just east of Roosevelt Rd. - between U of I Circle campus and St. Luke's Presbyterian hospital...

Very Italian at the time...

Gentrification was a hazy idea back in the late seventies with only handful of folks daring it...

Gentrification drove up property values but it drove up property taxes even faster...

It seems that mayors Washington and Byrne (and their respective allies) were ready to kill the geese that were laying the golden eggs...

 
At 9/13/2012 9:02 AM, Blogger Pulverized Concepts said...

Newspaper stories from the early part of the twentieth century describe some horrific crimes with children as victims. There's probably always been a certain percentage of the human race capable of committing these rare crimes but that's hardly a good enough reason to circumscribe the experience of one's children. Would you cancel a trip to China, for instance, if you discovered that there were 15 serial killers running loose in the country?

 
At 9/13/2012 4:00 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Moe:

"Question: Were people less deviant back then or has our media and it's "bad news sells" become so pervasive that everyone's jaded?"

I think it's the latter.

 
At 9/13/2012 4:25 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon

"I think some of it changed with the rising of prominence of serial killers. Correct me if I am wrong, but around that time (60's, 70's), people such as Charlie Manson and the Family, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gasey, Jeffery Dahmer, started coming to national prominence. When you start to realize these people roam the streets (granted, they are the smallest of minorities), then you may be a little less willing to let your child roam aimlessly like pint-sized kidnapper bait."

You're absolutely correct on both counts: Prominence, and smallest of minorities. The ease of access to information these days and the selling power of spectacular news has increased prominence to make that tiny minority seem much larger than it really is. I doubt there are more crimes against children on a per capita basis these days, just more of them reported, and much more widely reported.

In the sixties, a child abduction 1000 miles away got much less attention. Now it's instant national news.

I bet that Chicago was also a lot smaller (population-wise) than it is now.

Unfortunately, Jon, you failed to hit a triple. :)

The population of Chicago, during every decade since the 1920s was greater than it is today.

Unless Moe meant the 1860s and 70s, but I doubt that's the case.

 
At 9/13/2012 4:29 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Duncan

"Let's give her the benefit of the doubt that the $350 charge will make people think, "my kids can do that for free and actually let them do it" And maybe they reduce the cost of being an over protective parent"

Hmm. Good point. Maybe that's why she has no takers yet. Why would anyone pay her to NOT do something they can just as easily NOT do themselves?

 
At 9/13/2012 4:33 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

What a racket!

"Hey, for $350 I promise to not watch your kids."

"In fact don't even tell me who they are or where they are, so I won't be tempted to cheat."

 
At 9/13/2012 4:35 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

juandos

"(no link to back up the statement)"

Did you forget about good old reliable wikipedia?

 
At 9/13/2012 4:39 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

I have no personal experience, but I've heard that free range children are tastier than feed lot children raised at home. Does anyone know?

 
At 9/13/2012 4:47 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Unfortunately, Jon, you failed to hit a triple. :)

Aw man! Maybe next game I will hit for the cycle!

 
At 9/13/2012 8:25 PM, Blogger Carrie said...

Obviously, it's tongue in cheek.

"Hey parents, since you are willing to sign your kids up for all kinds of highly supervised activities that cost big $$, how about I charge you big $$ to do something that's actually better for them?"

There's a whole free range movement going on. Some of them are a bit extreme, but I think it's a healthy reaction to total overparenting. I'm sure there are people that would call CPS on me for letting my older preschoolers have the run of our little neighborhood.

 
At 9/16/2012 4:36 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Did you forget about good old reliable wikipedia?"...

Well ron h there were so many things wikipedia was purposefully wrong about I just don't even bother anymore...

How many times does one have to back to a tainted well before one realizes that the water is no good?

 

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