Monday, August 04, 2008

cotton wool culture

A major study by Play England, part of the National Children's Bureau, found that half of all children have been stopped from climbing trees, 21 per cent have been banned from playing conkers and 17 per cent have been told they cannot take part in games of tag or chase. Some parents are going to such extreme lengths to protect their children from danger that they have even said no to hide-and-seek ...

The Play England study quotes a number of play providers who highlight the benefits to children of taking risks. 'Risk-taking increases the resilience of children,' said one. 'It helps them make judgments,' said another. Some of those interviewed blamed the 'cotton wool' culture for the fact that today's children were playing it too safe, while others pointed to a lack of equipment or too much concrete in place of grass. The research also lists examples of risky play that should be encouraged including fire-building, den-making, watersports, paintballing, boxing and climbing trees
- Kids need the adventure of 'risky' play

5 comments:

John Larkin said...

Many of our students lack resilience. An article in the Guardian some time back demonstrated how children no longer venture as far from home in an unsupervised situation as they did before. Years back children would roam far and wide from their homes on their bikes. These days they are more often than not playing within the boundaries of their own properties. Society is mollycoddling its children.

Bill Kerr said...

hi john,

Your comment prompted me to look up some other related links, which may be of interest:

wara's playing with stuff where he discusses things he does with his students

5 dangerous things one of the TED talks, a good one, informative and entertaining

How children lost the right to roam in 4 generations which I think is the article you refer to

There is also the issue of how the media and some "guardians" oversimplify the issue of internet safety. I did some research and wrote a blog about this which I just reread then:
just the facts about online youth victimisation

John Larkin said...

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the additional links. I shall follow them up. I have just found a letter to the editor of the SMH that follows this same theme...

http://tinyurl.com/6c3xgh

Thanks particularly for tracking down the news article. Life certainly has changed. We need to teach our children resilience.

Cheers, John

John Larkin said...

Hi Bill,

How are you? Your post has had quite an impact. Today I was interviewed by ABC Radio Illawarra regarding my blog post ~ How Far Did You Roam As A Child? I shall add some links and resources to my post as they come to hand. I added some related links today that may interest you.
http://snurl.com/3h18o

Cheers,
John

Bill Kerr said...

hi john,

I think you've done most of the hard work here - your post is far more thorough than mine! It's great that you have taken it further. Well done and congratulations over being interviewed on ABC radio.