You Got to Be Kidding Me!

Think of The Children!

Posted in Politics, Sociology by Stacy McMahon on June 15, 2007

Glenn Reynolds links a couple of new articles in the steadily-growing dialogue about the appropriate role of safety concerns in children’s play. As mentioned previously, I come down on the side of new experiences even if it risks some scraped knees or a twisted ankle. With typical British forthrightness, they say it better than I could:

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said parents were too risk-averse, particularly after the abduction of Madeleine McCann in Portugal, and youngsters should be allowed to bruise and cut themselves.

Peter Cornall, the head of leisure safety at the society, said children would learn “valuable life-long lessons” by scraping knees, grazing elbows and bumping heads – not least how they would avoid hurting themselves in future – whereas they would learn little from getting RSI from playing games day in, day out on a PC.

Now, I’m not against video games — some of them can be educational, and it’s pretty well established that video games are excellent for developing hand-eye coordination. But playing outside has critical benefits too, like learning to see and identify objects at a distance, developing coordination in your arms and legs (not just your hands,) developing a sense of speed and timing, and just plain physical exercise. And kids who play outside in groups without direct adult supervision develop their imagination, as well as important social skills. I obviously don’t want my daughter to be injured, but if all the above means a trip or three to the ER between age 3 and 18 then I say it’s worth it.

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