Update: the show went great! We had more callers than we knew what to do with, and that's always the way to have the most fun on the radio. Thanks to everybody who called.
Also, thanks for the awesome comments here; to get your comments read on air (we won't always have time to get to every one of them), following the patterns of Marc Hogi, and Dan, in the comments to this point, is great: concise, specific responses, with concrete experiences or points. I especially like how Dan did one or two sentence point-by-point comments. Thanks a lot. Well done, readers! See you tomorrow!Well, folks, I'm hosting a part of The Evening Show on TBS E FM, one of Korea's English radio stations now. It's a call-in show, where you can phone the station and voice your opinion about different topics, and the more callers we get, the more fun it is. You'll see previews about the topics here, and any comment you leave here might get read on air, and if you really have something to say, drop your e-mail address in here and I'll write you about calling into the show: it's more fun with callers than with me reading comments on air.
The topic today is "Mart Kids" - this really sad article in the Korea Times looks at kids whose parents are working long hours, who aren't signed up for hagwons (the way most kids fill their hours until mom and dad get home), so they hang out in shopping malls killing time until the folks get home.
Questions that I'd love you to have an opinion about:
1. Is this any different from the latch-key kids of double-income families in North America?
2. Whose responsibility is it to make sure these kids have safe places to pass their time (the government? schools? charities? parents?)
3. What are their parents thinking? Where's the disconnect, where these kids fall through the gaps?
4. The idea of free-range parenting: giving kids enough freedom to develop a sense of independence - is good, but it should be age-appropriate, right? What age do you think is an OK age for a kid to hang out alone, or with two or three other classmates, at the mall all afternoon?
5. Is it so bad for kids to have minimal parental supervision? When I was a kid, my brother biked all around the city, as long as he was home by dark. Why are people so freaked out now by unsupervised kids?
6. After talking about "Tiger Moms" who fill their kids' entire days with study and lessons, and "Mart Kids" who don't have any structure at all, what do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of the two systems?
7. If you were a latch-key kid, or grew up without much supervision, and turned out really well, or had a rough time, share your experience. If you knew a kid who grew up without much supervision, share what you saw with them. If you're a parent, what's your policy, and why?
Write in, folks. The show's at 7:30: the more opinions we have, the more fun it is!