You'd be surprised. Do a quick search on here. There are dozens, if not more, threads where people ask "should I take my child to the hospital? She has a bad head injury/symptoms of meningitis/has a 107 fever/is breathing very strangely/is having an anapylactic reaction/etc". And I'll never understand why people do that.
I feel the same way; glad to know there are other families who avoid over-use of cell phones and texting.
I was also a child of the 70's and grew up free range. I ALSO ended up into a lot of things that were troublesome. And this was in a rural area with woods, farms, etc. I started smoking and drinking early amongst other things. I really wish I did have more supervision honestly and maybe it would have prevented some of the things I went through.
So I will also echo the question, What exactly is the benefit of not knowing where your child is?
My older two kids are out on their own all the time, but we live on a ranch with not much else around. You can't see any of the neighbor's houses, but the kids find each other and build forts, etc out in the pastures. They check in on a regular basis and know they have to call if they want to leave the property.
I would feel totally different if I lived somewhere else. I cannot imagine letting a 3, 4, younger child out like that. THAT is really scary to me.