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Hot Topics: Number of latchkey kids drops dramatically in past 15 years

June 24th, 2013 12:00 pm by Lisa Cianci

Hot Topics: Number of latchkey kids drops dramatically in past 15 years

Number of latchkey kids drops dramatically in past 15 years

By Lisa Cianci

Orlando Sentinel

(MCT)

My son was mortified — as he told me often — because I insisted that he have an after-school babysitter until he started high school two years ago. To be honest, the “babysitter” was basically there to pick him up from school and then hang around for a couple of hours until my husband or I got home from work. (As journalists, we get home later than “normal” people.)

Maybe it was embarrassing for my son, but I was adamant that I didn’t want him home alone after school.

Turns out, the trend of “latchkey kids” has been sharply declining for more than 15 years, new data show.

The number of kids ages 5 to 14 who stay home alone after school has dropped 40 percent — only 1 in 9 stays home alone, federal data show.

So I guess I wasn’t as overprotective as I thought.

It’s unclear why there has been such a decline, according to a story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, but some speculate that a change in parenting styles could play a role. Helicopter parents, anyone?

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