I may hurt my boy by not letting him out

ColumnistsBy Caoimhe Young
I may hurt my boy by not letting him out

YOU know when people tell you things used to be so different – how we were allowed roam the green fields and the city streets and it was wonderful because things were different?

They are right, things were different. Sex offenders were still everywhere, but they just got away with it.
Over-cautious parents are damaging their children by not allowing them more freedom, according to a new study, and it is impeding their children’s development. This research comes out in the same week that a little boy was hailed a hero for helping his sister get away when it was alleged a stranger picked her up in his car.
It’s the same week that I discovered that a sex offender has moved into an apartment complex near a school in my area – all the parents are completely freaked out. He’s got a partner now and we don’t know what kind of sex offence he committed, because nobody is obliged to tell us. 
He’s done his time, right? He is entitled to move on – but nobody wants to live next door to him to find out if he has been rehabilitated. There have been phone calls to politicians, newspapers and trips to the Garda station, but nothing can be done.
None of the locals’ children will be playing outside their homes, on the grassy hill in the sunshine. That’s not a risk that I’ll be taking with my little boy. I may be damaging him, but far better my damage than some evil man’s.
The report – carried out in Limerick by the teacher training college – found that children don’t want to walk to school because of dogs and they are afraid of being kidnapped.
One of the authors of the report, Alanna O’Beirne of Mary Immaculate College, Limerick said: “We think we are child-focussed, but the downside is that children are being restricted and so we have to balance that with the fears.” But then she continues: “Cycle to school with your children or walk.”
And there it is, she’s not telling you to let them run wild. The sex offender living near the school near me won’t be given an inch in as much as is humanly possible – not like the good old days.