I think there is some truth to both sides of the argument about whether it's safer now or then.17 Year Old Girl Shot in Drive By Shooting
This happened yesterday in the town/city where I grew up. I graduated in 1990, so it's not been that
long since I was a kid. Trust me when I say that when I was growing up and in school (through high school) there was no such thing as gangs in Ft. Collins, let alone any drive-by shootings! It truly didn't exist. That's not to say there was no crime, there was. But not like this.
At the same time, yes, there is definitely much more awareness about crimes, and especially crimes and dangers to children now. As sad as it is, would the whole world have known little Madelaine's story 20 years ago? Probably not. Would we have known of any of the children who have been abducted if we didn't live in the area where it happened? Probably not. Now we have the Amber Alert, which is a GOOD thing, but it does make parents much more paranoid about abductions.
As far as safety and germs go....gosh I really do feel for kids these days. They really can't go out and play like we did when we were kids. And if they do, the parents are viewed as neglecting them and could have the cops called for what our parents let us do. There is no such thing as just riding your bike around the neighborhood all day, or walking up 2-3 blocks to see if your friend can come out and play. Not to mention that these Type A parents are scheduling their kids the same way they are scheduling meetings. Who heard of a Play Date 15+ years ago?!?!?
And as for germs - fugettaboutit! My gosh, I wasn't raised a slob, but I sure wasn't too good to go splash around in the creek (irrigation water overflow, so it certainly wasn't clean!), catch crawdads, play in dirt, climb trees, etc. If we got really dirty, we washed our hands with Lava soap, not antibacterial!