I rarely participate in status-repost bugs on Facebook, but this time I have joined in because it made me remember my childhood and how true that was.
Summers were spent in summer camps or out in country - visiting grandparents in villages or living on dacha. When we were in the city, everyone still did their best to stay outside - rain or shine. Nobody panicked if we were gone for all day, because it was safe. We knew not to talk to strangers and that if we were in trouble and screamed, adults will come to help.
We didn't live in a best district. It wasn't a really bad one, but even at 7 years old I knew that our neighbor was doing "something bad". At 10 I knew she was selling drugs. I knew not to go in the evening to the best playing place near swamp at the edge of the district and to call my parents (from a friend's neighbor) to pick me up if I stayed over till dark.
We spent days playing outside, making up our own games with what we could find. Curfew was when it got dark or when our parents yelled for us to come home now from the window. TV's were already common - even if many of them were still black-and-white ones, but computers or consoles were really rare - and playing outside was so much more interesting... I didn't get a cell until I was 18, and even then I didn't really understand what all the hype was. Back when I was a child we were about only family among my friends who had a house phone and most of my friends just had to check it out first time they came over.
When we got hungry, we could run with most of our company to one house and be fed. Or if it was late summer and one of us had pocket money we could buy some apples, tomatoes or cucumbers. Or if it was on dacha we could get them from someones garden. Washing them? Whatever for? At most we would rub the dirt off on our clothes - nobody got sick.
Half of the time I pity current children. They spend far less time outside and there are many of games from my time that I never see played now. They can get any toy they want and so those toys don't mean anything to them. And... if I was caught saying something at the level of "shit", I'd have gotten a slap on my lips and a full day of house chores. You still have to get me really mad before I will mutter out something illegibly. Now even little kids are cursing enough to make me blush.