A qualitative study of children’s independent mobility
Crawford, S., Green, J., Bennetts, S.K., et al. (2017). ‘Worries’, ‘weirdos’, neighbourhoods and knowing people: A qualitative study with parents and children of children’s independent mobility. Health and Place, 45:135-139. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2017.03.005
This qualitative study involved focus groups with 132 children and 12 parents in primary and secondary schools in metropolitan and regional areas of Victoria, Australia, to explore experiences and perceptions of children’s independent mobility. The study highlights the impact of family routines, neighborhood characteristics, social norms and reference points for decision making. Children reported a wider range of safety concerns than parents, including harm from strangers or traffic, bullying, or getting lost. Children expressed great delight in being independent, often seeking to actively influence parents’ decision making. Children’s independent mobility is a developmental process, requiring graduated steps and skill building.