According to a study
Article reserved for subscribers
By looking at the limits given to the youngest in a British family since 1926, the doctor William Bird analyzed the progressive loss of autonomy of movement of children, who can hardly move on their own.
From 9 kilometers to 300 meters. It is, in four generations, the drastic reduction in the distance traveled alone by the children of the same family living in Sheffield, in the north of England. The finding comes from William Bird, a British doctor and strategic health adviser for Natural England, the authority responsible for protected sites. He has submitted a long report in 2007 on the link between exposure to nature and mental health children, where he notably studied the travel habits of 8-year-old children in an English family, between 1926 and 2007.
“Teenagers probably have less access to a secret garden”
In 1926, George Thomas’ parents couldn’t afford the bus, let alone a bicycle. The boy therefore walked more than 9 km to get, alone, to his favorite fishing spot. In 1950, his son Jack was allowed, at the same age, to walk a little less than two kilometers in the forest around the house. In 1979, Vicky, her granddaughter, was allowed to go alone to the swimming pool located one kilometer from the family home. Finally, in 2007, his great-grandson, Edward, did not enjoy the same freedom at all. He is driven by his mother for the few minutes that separate him from school.