Free-Range Kids: Healthy or Dangerous?

NEW YORK (WXYZ) - To some parents, it sounds crazy. Would you let your kids play in New York City's Central Park unsupervised at 8 years old?

Lenore Skenazy, the founder of the so-called "Free-Range Kids" movement, is urging parents to do just that.

She thinks parents should worry less about crime and childhood dangers and give kids more freedom to play outside.

Skenazy is also the author of the book, "Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry)."

"Children, like chickens, deserve a life outside the cage," Skenazy writes on her website . "The overprotected life is stunting and stifling, not to mention boring for all concerned."

Wednesday, Skenazy is organizing an event in Central Park, where parents can drop off their kids for unsupervised play time. It's part of a new after-school program Skenazy calls "I Won't Supervise Your Kids."

For a fee of $350, parents can drop off their kids every Wednesday through November 7th, and allow them to hang out with other kids without parents present. Kids ages 8 - 18 are welcome. Skenazy says she will be there to say hi, but will leave for a coffee shop a block away, and sit with a cell phone in case there is an emergency.

She's also asking parents to sign a waiver, releasing her of any responsibility.

On her website, Skenazy says she plans to charge parents for this program because they're used to paying for classes and a financial obligation also makes them more committed to stay with program. She also says she would love to "make a living bringing kids back to playing outside."

Critics say leaving young children unsupervised is asking for trouble. They worry about strangers approaching the children or kids getting hurt.

No word if any parents have signed up for the program, but Skenazy says she has held similar events for free in the past, and they were successful.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments