OK, I may be showing my age a bit here, but I was thinking of how much some things have changed over the years.
I remember running errands with my mother when I was very young. She would park in the lot, go into the store, dry cleaners, wherever... and leave me in the car by myself, or with my older brother. He is only two years older, so we were maybe 4 & 6. Sometimes we would be left alone for up to half an hour, but never when it was too cold or too hot outside. OR, what about all the times we acted up in a restaurant? We were told to go and sit by ourselves in the car until the rest of the family was finished eating. I don't think these episodes hurt me or my brother. In fact I think they gave us a chance to use our imagination to pass the time away. My brother used to "hide" behind the car door, then peek over the edge of the window and "shoot" the aliens (monsters, bad guys) with his fingers pointed like a gun. Sometimes I was his partner, others I was "saved" by him. LOL We played all kinds of games while we were waiting in the car.
If anyone left a kid in the car for even 5 minutes these days, the Department of Family Services would be called! Is life really that much different today from the early to mid 70's?
Also, does anyone think the proliferation of handheld games is actually hurting the imaginations of our children and grandchildren? When they "go out to play", it seems they just move from the indoors X-box to the handheld PS2 and continue living in their virtual worlds. I rarely see kids just out PLAYING. You know... running, jumping, climbing trees.