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.