Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Kids play

Lately has become an issue of controversy 

Not the importance of kids getting fresh air.

Not the health benefits of running versus sitting.

No the issue is one of free play

Free play is play free of adult supervision

Free of adults

This is a crucially important part of childhood.

Adults can stick around and play with their kids,

Or organise them into soccer leagues,

Or carpool them to karate lessons

There is nothing wrong with this .

But when kids play on their own, they create.

They compromise.

They learn to control themselves.

Is there any teaching tool more effective than kids yelling at other kids , “Wait your turn!”
That’s how kids learn how to wait their turn.

Unstructured, unsupervised free play is a must-have for children.

Yet it’s one we are taking away from them 

Poll after poll about the “Take Our Kids to the Park . . . Day”  showed that most people were opposed to the idea.
If it were truly dangerous in the parks

It would make sense to keep kids in.

But crime has gone down in the past 20 years in the US and UK.

The number of recorded violent crimes in England and Wales has fallen from 4.3 million in 1995 to 2.4 million in 2005-06 — a 43 per cent reduction.

In 2009, the number of murders and child killings were at a 20-year low.

Why do today’s parents feel so much more afraid?
Simple answer: more media.

Today, TV fills our brains with terrifying images, 24/7.

It starts to feel as if kids are being snatched 24/7 too.

Think how many times you’ve seen Madeleine McCann.

We’ve seen her here in the US too.

The media grabbed that story because it was as rare as it was valuable to them: a ratings bonanza.

So now when we think, “Are kids today safe?” her tragic image looms up along with last night’s Law & Order on television.

And all my statistics — including the fact that the vast majority of crimes against children are not committed by strangers — mean nothing.

That’s why we have to take the leap back to the world we live in.

The real one, with a playground in a street at which you can leave your kids.
There’s this movement saying that we over-structure our kids and they don’t have decision-making skills’.

And some mums said ‘You know, that’s true’.

But they weren’t quite ready to leave their kids at the park.

So what happens ot this generation of children then?

A generation who will not have decision making skills in the way that the previous generation did

This in turn will mean that they will  make more mistakes as young adults

A world which is also changing around them

A dynamic world of increased risk

Risk in all areas from finance to health issues to life choices

No way to see what will happen from here

Besides we will be long gone

Sad for the kids today really PlayStation does not really do it nor do adult controlled and organised games

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