.I would like to ask native speakers of English the following questions. The passage is a quote from a textbook.
If you don’t know very much about your neighbors, it is difficult to feel any affinity towards them. And if even the children of different families are not allowed out to spontaneously play with each other, there is little common interest to build upon. This absence of common interest minimizes the role of mutual obligations among people living in the same neighborhood.
There are many reasons for the obsessive manner in which society keeps the safety of children, but probably one of the most important factors in the rising tide of the adult controlling of children is the appearance of neighborhoods without neighbors. In the UK and in the USA, parents cannot rely on adults in their community to assume a degree of responsibility for the socializing of their children. In such circumstances parents regard others not as potential partners in the education of their children, but either as indifferent passes-by or, ( a ), as risky strangers. In societies where neighbors and other adults assume a degree of responsibility for keeping an eye on children, attitudes toward their safety are ( b ) obsessive.
#1 what’s the difference between “even if” and if even? "if even the children" = is indicating the reluctance to allow the children out to play.
#2 What’s the meaning of build upon in this case, rely on or build? to construct relationships - build relationships.
#3 Does manner mean attitude? method/way - "the obsessive method OR way in which"
#4 I think controlling is used as a noun rather than a gerund because of the adjective adult which is put in the front and if it is a gerund, you can say “controlling children.” It is a gerund, but I think this is a badly phrased sentence: "one of the most important factors in the rising tide of the adult control of children"
#5 What is the suitable phrase to put into ( a ) and ( b ) among 1. much better 2. far less 3. very much 4. worse still 5. even more?
I think (a) is 4 worse still and ( b ) is 2 far less. I agree.
Thank you very much.
Student or Learner