Can you remember when you were younger and the world was your playground? When your friends garden was a different playground in which to explore. I know that when I was a child I was very lucky to have a whole farm to explore Hay stacks to climb and ditches to jump. Now as a parent my own children do not have the same space, my own need to develop and survive has taken me away from my own rich heritage to living in a new environment.
Here in a reasonable small town the adventures are more risky, there is more roads and more cars on the road. There is less green spaces and the trees are no longer strong oaks instead they are conifers. However, if it is not football it would take a small miracle to encourage my children off their computer and out, let alone find a tree that could become a start of their new adventure.
So it comes with no real surprise that in today’s Independent there is an article stating that ‘over protected’ children need to learn about risk! I would also imagine in the same sense then as a parent that I would also need to learn to let my children take a risk in this new environment. Something as a social worker I am always wary of, but know that I need to do.
Of course this comes down to the Health and Safety brigade (the ones that do not want to take any risk) who have banned the age old game of ‘Conkers’ in the school play ground, or do not allow outside play in the rain or cold.
But where is the line? what is the risk of allowing children to much freedom? Imagine parks fall of children, over spilling into any area of green space, street corner. Imagine them being out from the moment they are awake to the time they go to bed. Is this adventures play time or the beginnings of something else far more sinister.
Do not get me wrong, I completely agree all children should be aloud to grow up learning what is safe, right or wrong and develop an imagination that not only will help them in the classroom but also with their own children and their carers. This is especially true for the more vulnerable children who may miss out on ‘play’ and socialising with other young people.
However, instead of just our young people learning this, it should also be us as adults, parents and neighbours. People that rush through life only wanting to get from one place to the next with out being interrupted or prevented in anyway from doing this. Without the phone call that say’s you need to come quick because something terrible has happened – only to find out that something terrible is your son/daughter playing out!
If we see children out, slow down understand the importance of them being out and playing but also where the line is as adults. Support your local clubs and youth centres to provide safe activities that replicate my own early childhood experiences rather than letting them close and this positive behaviour become pent up frustration. Lets keep open areas safe for young people to play and met up with each other.