Cut the apron strings and let kids enjoy Schoolies

AAH Schoolies. The time of year when the media revels in stories of teens behaving badly, and parents lock their doors so their little darlings can't get into trouble.

I was surprised last week by the results of a poll on APN websites in which 74% of parents said they wouldn't let their kids go to Schoolies on the Gold Coast.

Really? If you can't loosen the apron strings when your child has finished school, when can you?

Finishing school is a major milestone in anyone's life.

I can't think of anything better than letting your hair down with a group of friends and tens of thousands of potential new friends.

Frankly, I'm a little jealous the kids get to have all the fun.

Yes, bad things can happen. Yes, a very small percentage of people get hurt, or charged with a crime.

But these things don't just happen at Schoolies.

In the first week of celebrations, 131 Schoolies were arrested on a total of 152 charges - out of the 30,000 or so who were on the Gold Coast.

It's a small percentage (and if I had the maths skills of my first-born child, I'd tell you just how small…)

Said child went to Schoolies on the Gold Coast, and I was generally pretty excited for him.

There were moments of concern, of course, but I trusted him and trusted that I'd taught him the skills he needed to make his own way and stay safe.

He set off with a group of friends and a couple of Xboxes, and had an amazing time.

Cars full of boys is one thing that gives me pause because it can be a recipe for disaster, but I'd been brain washing him about safe driving since he was four, so I took a deep breath and hoped for the best.

Schoolies on the Gold Coast is well organised. There are zones that are set aside just for the kids.

They can't take anything into these zones - no bags, no alcohol-laced water bottles, zilch.

The area is patrolled inside and out by police and Red Frog chaplains.

Most kids are there to have a good time with their friends, enjoying their first real taste of freedom.

Yes, there are idiots who cause trouble, but you get that everywhere.

In reality, it's not a bad spot for kids to start being responsible for themselves, because it is so well organised and controlled.

It's probably a darn sight safer than a lot of nightspots they could be hanging out at.

So I say, set them free. Let them party and make lifelong memories.