New Study: Kids Need the Adventure of "Risky" Play

kid rock climbing quebec photo

Child rock-climbing by Baudesign

A new British study finds the obvious to any modern parent- we overprotect our kids. Half of all kids have stopped climbing trees, and 17 percent have been told that they can't play tag or chase. Even hide-and-seek has been deemed dangerous.

We have previously blamed computers and video games for the decline in outdoor play, but it may well be mom and dad. Adrian Voce of Play England says 'Children are not being allowed many of the freedoms that were taken for granted when we were children,' 'They are not enjoying the opportunities to play outside that most people would have thought of as normal when they were growing up.'

lisa alther in tree photo

Author Lisa Alther climbing tree

According to the Guardian, "Voce argued that it was becoming a 'social norm' for younger children to be allowed out only when accompanied by an adult. 'Logistically that is very difficult for parents to manage because of the time pressures on normal family life,' he said. 'If you don't want your children to play out alone and you have not got the time to take them out then they will spend more time on the computer.'

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. ::Guardian
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