I have no statistics to offer, and don't know if it is true, but i suspect that there is not that much litigation--but the fear of litigation probably motivates local school districts. It only takes a few well publicized cases to motivate a school district. In the United States, although schools get state and Federal aid for their day to day operations, they build and maintain their schools and make up any shortfalls in operational funds through tax levies approved by the voters. They don't have money to spare to fight court cases. They are not going to want to be put in a situation in which they will have to defend themselves from a law suit.
And not just schools.
This is when I hate lawyers.
well, there are other times too.
but not always
some of my best friends....
Y'all know my rant, but to quickly chip in as a current parent, it's way more difficult for kids to have a free-range, unscheduled life than when I was a kid. There just isn't a critical mass of people who are home, which creates the need for scheduling if kid A and B want to connect (and also means there are less opportunities for just walking out the door and seeing neighbor kids to play with).
That said, I love my anachronistic community and I know my kid has a lot more freedom than is usual these days, which I'm grateful for. There are a lot of stay-at-home moms and a lot of retired people and everyone knows everyone else, and people a) keep an eye on other peoples' kids, b) feel free to tell other people's kids to quit if they see them doing something inappropriate*, and c) tell kids' parents if they see the kids doing something inappropriate. I've heard so many stories of a kid walking home from school and doing something wrong on the way home, a person in a car driving by spotting it and calling the mom, and the mom waiting with hands on hips when the kid gets home.
That might sound like the opposite of freedom but since people know there are all those eyeballs out there, they're willing to let their kids do a lot unsupervised.
All of this is very unusual these days, from my experiences living in other places and from talking to parent friends who live elsewhere.
*And the kids listen!
There just isn't a critical mass of people who are home . . .
Now there's a good point which hadn't occurred to me. There were certainly far fewer working mothers in the 1950s.
I agree with everything you've said, soz. However, parents need to find a way to give their kids the freedom and ability to develop self-confidence in the world. I recall that there was a dust up about an article written by a mother who had allowed her young son to ride the subways in NY alone. Here it is: http://www.nysun.com/editorials/why-i-let-my-9-year-old-ride-subway-alone
I think it's the fearfulness of parents that makes the world unsafe for kids.
People have these irrational fears that every time their child steps outside some predator is lurking so they keep their kids inside. So the neighbors keep their kids inside. And so their neighbor keeps their kids inside and eventually the whole neighborhood is in hiding.
We live less than a block from school. Mo is the only kid on the block allowed to walk to school by himself.
The father of the 9 year old kid next door has said he'd love to get her to walk to school on her own but the one time she did all her little friend's parents made a big stink about it saying "don't worry, we'll look out for you". So the kid decided if her dad didn't walk her to school it meant that he didn't love her.
It should be noted that they felt this child was in "danger" and needed looking after when surrounded by 300 schoolmates and 200 adults for the 5 minutes before the school bell rang.
Agree with what Butrfy, Set, Littlek and others have said about media exposure.
Not just exposure, but things being blown all out of proportion (i.e. the hoodie pulling incident)
Neither bad things nore good things are happening at a different rate. It's just that now people can vicariously live the lives of hundreds of other people, all at the same time.