Narrator: This is Science Today. As working
parents of ten to twelve year-old kids are finding
out, there's a lack of after-school programs for middle-school
aged children. Rivka Polatnick, a research sociologist
at the University of California, Berkeley studied
this trend and says many kids are home alone at a
very vulnerable time in their lives.
Polatnick: There's a lot of peer pressure.
Middle school is probably the worst time in a kid's
life in terms of peer pressure and wanting to look
cool. So, suddenly there's a lot of pressure to act
real grown up and be cool.
Narrator: Polatnick says this lack of supervision
could lead preteens down the wrong path through adolescence.
Polatnick: The most important thing right now
is to recognize that kids need support beyond age
ten when they leave elementary school. Kids still
need a lot of support in the way of supportive, enriching
after-school activities and that we need to commit
resources to that. We've got to be able to commit
to the future of our kids.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.