The latest PSI report on children’s independent mobility covers data from 16 countries and ranks England seventh among them. The study found that the greatest degree of independent mobility was granted to children in Finland, where the majority of children aged eight are allowed to cross main roads, travel home from school and go out after dark alone.
The report includes this fascinating table showing variations in perceptions of whether neighbours look out for children in their area. The findings for several countries, including England and Australia, are noticeably mixed: but most striking to me are the very low levels of disagreement with the proposition in Japan and France.
However, it seems that 'looking out for others' - desirable though we may think it is as a factor in quality of life - does not correlate with measures of children’s independent mobility:
‘Of the three factors examined, traffic seems to be the strongest factor affecting the granting of independent mobility, with ‘strangers’ showing a weak effect and community supervision not being a factor.’