“Well, You Feel More Responsible When You’re Unsupervised”: Exploring Family Perspectives on Children’s Independent Mobility
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. State of Play Study
2.3. Data Collection
2.4. Data Analysis and Quality
“…on Sundays I go for bike rides with my friend, and we don’t actually quite have a plan on where we’re going, we just sort of end up somewhere. Which I think is really cool…And that’s where I found out about most of my favourite spots”.
“Like my mom like she’s like, ‘I’m not here to supervise you so you can go and do whatever you want as long as you’re not getting in trouble.’ So I’ll just go out, as long as we’re not like being like irresponsible or like getting into doing bad things, she’s fine with it”.
3.1. “It’s a Great Sense of Freedom”: The Role of Parents’ Own Childhood Experiences on Children’s Independent Mobility
“…nobody had cellphone or pagers or anything…it was just great to go out and have an adventure and catch tadpoles in jars and do all that sort of exploring and make up our own games…and we did it for years, and we loved it and we’d go exploring all over the neighbourhood”.
“I do feel some societal pressure at times to hover a little bit…there is a certain level of I think expectation in the media that you’re gonna do everything you can to make sure that your child is healthy and successful and, god forbid you let your child play in the dirt because they’ll get salmonella or something like that”(Scott, 42, V, F3)
“my mom and dad like to remind me that they weren’t scared when I went off…we lived about two or three kilometers from the school I went to, and they weren’t scared of me getting abducted or anything like that”.
“I mean that’s the lifestyle that we like and we also want our kids to have…we don’t want to be helicopter parents and be supervising all the time…it’s important for them [children] to you know, develop the responsibility on their own and self-reliance on their own”.
“I use that to really inform myself on a daily basis when they ask for more freedom on things … but we’re really hoping and starting to see that he could very well be emulating that kind of freedom that we both cherished”.
3.2. “A Very Trustworthy Kid”: Children’s Individual Characteristics and Their Independent Mobility
“I think he’s a really responsible kid… he makes really good decisions. I think he evaluates situations really well… I guess I could start getting concerned about all the things that could go wrong, but I just…that would just take up all your time…I think he’s smart and capable and can think on his feet, and I think he’s fine”.
“I mean you kind of got to trust that, you got that confidence in them that they’re going to be okay… if you go around living your life, worrying that they’re never going to come home because he’s going to get hit by a car…You’ll never let them out”.
Cayden: “…if I don’t know when I’m going to meet them [parents], then I start panicking because…I have high anxiety”.
Researcher: Do you think having high anxiety has any effect on the way you play outside?
Cayden: “Well I mean, I’m less adventurous”.
Barbara: “He gets anxious about some things…”
Angie: “And he’s also an anxious personality as well…but also personality-wise he’s quite introverted and also very much in his own world… I don’t know if he would necessarily pick up on sort of social cues that would help him read a situation that might be dangerous”.
3.3. “A Little More Peace of Mind”: Communication as a Coping Strategy
“My parents aren’t really that strict because they know I’m safe and they know the neighbourhood pretty well…. There isn’t really a limit. I always tell my parents where I’m going, and how long I’ll be gone for, and when I’ll be back. They’re always just like, ‘Have your phone with you, and always answer calls or texts right away. Don’t ignore them.’”
“she was a little nervous about it at first, but we were pretty encouraging and cool about it. And it didn’t take much. Like first day, my wife took the bus with her, and like the next day Nora was like ‘do you want me to that with you again?’ and Tracy was like ‘no, I got it.’ And that was fine with us”.
“Not as a daily conversation, but as Ryan’s world expands, we definitely you know, ‘so is it okay for him to hang out in the mall and stuff,’ ‘yeah okay sure’… but I think when we talk about how we feel about him doing things outside of the home, I think we both are starting and ending in a place of let’s find a way to be eye-to-eye on this so we’re a unified unit when we talk to him about it, so we’re not giving him mixed messages on it”.
“…[Ryan] hasn’t asked me to go anywhere yet where I’ve gone ‘oh that’s too far.’ …long as, if I know he can get there, if I just ask him how he can get there then I’m confident he can get back…”
“…having the phone to communicate with [James] (11, NV, F16) allowed me to relax…he can communicate back the way ‘Oh if you’re running late, can I go to …so and so’s house now and I’ll meet you back at home?’”
3.4. “You Look Out for People”: The Social Environment and Children’s Independent Mobility
“And we live in a nice neighbourhood with people who are also at that school and who are very community-minded…. We’re not really interested in like a big house or a lot of stuff. For us, it’s more important to have a good community…”
Brigette (11, NV, F11): “I know pretty much like all the people on my block and they’re all really friendly”.
Ella (45, NV, F11): “I talked to other people and they said that no other neighbourhood had people coming to knock at their door to play…. I guess we were really lucky we had amazing neighbours”.
Adam (48, NV, F11): “We knew the neighbours, we knew that there were other children, we knew that there were people always in parks you know, walking their dogs and so people we know would help a child…”.
“It’s sort of a group mentality of parenting that everybody sort of knows where the other kids are… I don’t even know where my kids are right now, they’re out there somewhere…. Somebody will call me if they need me or they’ll come…. I think that that’s really invaluable”.
“But once they get out of this neighbourhood, and I worry sometimes, like we have conversations like ‘you have to be careful when you’re walking in the suburbs like you have to watch because people aren’t paying attention in their cars.’”
Strengths and Limitations
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Prefer not to answer||2||4.5|
|Employed for wages||30||68.2|
|Both self-employed and part-time employed||1||2.3|
|Unable to work||1||2.3|
|$110,000 to $129,999||9||20.5|
|Grade in school|
|Independent mobility level||(range 1–6)|
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Riazi, N.A.; Brussoni, M.; Vertinsky, P.; Faulkner, G. “Well, You Feel More Responsible When You’re Unsupervised”: Exploring Family Perspectives on Children’s Independent Mobility. Children 2021, 8, 225. https://doi.org/10.3390/children8030225
Riazi NA, Brussoni M, Vertinsky P, Faulkner G. “Well, You Feel More Responsible When You’re Unsupervised”: Exploring Family Perspectives on Children’s Independent Mobility. Children. 2021; 8(3):225. https://doi.org/10.3390/children8030225Chicago/Turabian Style
Riazi, Negin A., Mariana Brussoni, Patricia Vertinsky, and Guy Faulkner. 2021. "“Well, You Feel More Responsible When You’re Unsupervised”: Exploring Family Perspectives on Children’s Independent Mobility" Children 8, no. 3: 225. https://doi.org/10.3390/children8030225