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Teach Our Children Caution Without Fear

July 29, 2002

Thank you for "If It Takes a Leap of Faith to Talk to a Stranger, Our Values Need Some Work" (Commentary, July 24). When I was a child, 20 or more years ago, all of the children in the neighborhood played in the streets until the street lights came on. Parents would check on us periodically, and nosy neighbors would extend their watchful eyes. We were relatively safe from danger; safety came in numbers as well as from neighbors who cared.

Times have changed. Instead of children interacting with each other and exercising outdoors, they are inside on computers, telephones and PlayStations. In addition, parents are now instilling tremendous fear of strangers in their children, which in turn will keep them from playing with friends outdoors and getting to know their neighbors. There must be a happy medium, where children can be taught to be careful but not terrified to walk outside. I wish parents would consider the consequences of their panic before passing it on to their children.

Jennifer Newell

West Los Angeles

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