Yes, Your 14 Year Old May Need Your Help Crossing the Street
Most people responded to Dave's post with something like...
14 seriously? Can we just let our kids have some independence and stop sheltering them.
Except Jules Michel Blum. She had a different perspective and I think it's worth amplifying, so she's today's NEW Y-105FM guest blogger!
Common Sense Mixed with Science: Parents clash over new study on crossing the street before age 14 before reading full article.
Recently a study was done at the University of Iowa measuring kids response times as they crossed busy neighborhood streets in a simulated situation. When the study was published the response was immediate and passionate.
Parents immediately went on the defensive about their own parenting decisions regarding their kiddos walking to school on their own or were complaining that we are being so over protective our kids won't even survive once they leave our watchful eyes as well as commentaries about the dangers lurking in the streets we live on.
Even the way the study was portrayed in the media was often a headline grab that pushed the readers emotional buttons before they even read (if they read) the study and it's results themselves.
I liked the sensible approach of the online 13Who t.v. that simply told it as it was:
University of Iowa Simulator Measures Kid's Abilities to Safely Cross the Road.
That sums it up.
The general consensus is that kids~ young kids~ can cross the street by themselves, and while many young kids are completely capable of doing that, I think what this study tells us is that maybe on a busy road crossing situation parents need to be aware that kids might not be as good as they think they are at crossing the road
There you go. Some kids...just maybe...aren't ready until they are a mature 14 or older.
But other headline grabs aren't subtle and create an emotional response by telling you in bold letters "Science Says Kids Shouldn't Cross A Busy Street Solo Until They're Fourteen" (oh no! What have I done?) or a blanket statement for all kids under 14 like the Daily Mail's headlines "Don't let your child cross the street until they're 14" (nothing gets parents hackles up like telling them how to best parent their child.)
And this lead to the subsequent online articles telling science to back off and mind it's own business.
This is the thing though, Ms. O'Neal's statement is the bottom line of the study. Basically a controlled study is giving parents the heads up to be aware that kids reactions times aren't perfect and they develop at different stages just like anything else.
And with statistics like the one from the US National Center for Statistics and Analysis: "there were 8,000 injuries and 207 fatalities involving motor vehicles and pedestrians age 14 and younger in 2014", it was probably a good thing to do some research on why kids are getting hit crossing the street.
Personally, I think it just means you should take into consideration your own child and how they gauge things spatially, how quick their reactions are, how distracted they are and then ask yourself how pedestrian friendly the area is.
Maybe throw in the factor that today's drivers are also more distracted than ever and are less likely to see your kid than they were 20 years ago. Simply take that science and apply it to your own personal situation and remember that the researchers themselves said, ''the study will not have all the answers, it is still up to parents to decide what their children are capable of."