Posted by Bruce N.
Featured image by Unsplash
Many people who go to Japan are very surprised by what they see. Kids have much more authority that in other countries, but why? Many kids are allowed to take the train, bus, and even walk to school all because of how low the crime rates are in Japan. Even in Tokyo, where the population is over 13 million, parents give their kids the responsibility of getting to school on their own. But the parents of these children don’t let their children get to school by themselves just because Japan is a safe country but rather because parents want their kids to figure things out themselves. This way kids know what things are like in the real world so once they move out, they are ready.
These kids don’t always walk to school alone however. The younger kids often have meeting places on the way to their school where a group of three or more kids meet up and travel together. These kids in these groups are sometimes in different grades so some act more as leaders than others.
Japanese children often need to ask for help if they get lost. Due to very low birth rates in Japan recently there are a large number of senior citizens. Lots of children feel a lot more comfortable asking their elders for help in Japan even though it is very uncommon for adults (that aren’t seniors) to assault children. Parents of these children often encourage them to ask older people because they may know the areas better too. Film makers actually made a television show that showed kids as young as two or three running errands for their parents. People in America would consider this very dangerous if two year olds were going to their local Wal-Mart, Target, etc. Anyway, this show has been around for over 20 years. This just shows how safe Japanese cities really are and have been over these years. When these kids complete their first errand, it is a very big milestone in their career.
Another reason why kids get a lot more responsibility when it comes to getting to school is because parents want their kids to get a very good education. In many cases kids can not walk to school because it is just too far and their parents do not have the time to drive them (that is if they have cars), so that is why a lot of kids take the train. Many kids have 40 minute train rides just one way. That just shows the determination of Japanese families to get their kids a great education. Private schools are very common when kids go 40 minutes to get there.
So if kids in Japan can go to school alone now, when will kids in America be able to go to school alone? One main reason why America is not a good place to let your kids travel alone in is because almost every city in America has a “not so good” area. Sure, some areas are pretty safe and some kids probably walk everywhere but in Japan they can go anywhere, whenever. So maybe it’s just a matter of time until America is just like Japan.
Countries like Germany, Italy, and even France are probably really safe to walk around too because they have aging populations but it is not as common as in Japan. There are many countries across the globe where kids walk places, whether it is kids in Africa going to get water or kids in Japan going to school, but as you now know, they face risks no matter where they are.