We are raising a generation of coddled, risk-averse children. The long term psychological consequences are that few will be willing to take risks while most will be paralyzed by the headlights of real life. The risk takers are and will be the leaders, the innovators; they will be able to be independent of nanny government. The bubble kids will be dependent on government posing as the nanny who keeps them safe from things that go bump in the night. These sickly, sun-starved kids will be less healthy and less well adjusted and will simply be followers, another generation of sheeple more interested in ever more ridiculous ‘reality shows’, video games, and social media than actually getting face to face with other humans. Leaving the cocoon means fear, and fear is to be avoided; confidence destroyed for a lifetime, dependence embraced as a crutch.
The advantage is that the parents who raise their kids to not fear getting hurt and to embrace taking some risks, like playing contact sports or simply being a daredevils and adventurers outside, will raise the leaders of tomorrow. A broken arm is a badge of honor and some stitches are lessons learned, sleep is never better than after a long day outside hard at play. I expect kids to be loud at play, get banged up, and be adventurous, independent, and be confident. In the long run, these kids will grow up to be the leaders, confident in what they do.
Parent who raise their kids in a bubble do this nation and Western Civilization a disservice.
Prof Tanya Byron said that children’s natural development was being stunted after being refused the chance to play outside, banned from throwing snowballs and prevented from walking to school alone.
In previous generations, falling over and getting hurting was a rite of passage for many young people, with cuts and bruises being seen as a “badge of honour”, she said.
But she warned that rising numbers of children were being forced to attend A&E suffering minor injuries because they “don’t know how to fall any more”.
“They tense themselves up when they fall, so they sprain,” she said.
The comments – in a speech to the North of England Education Conference in Sheffield – come amid fears that growing exposure on technology and irrational fear over “stranger danger” is stopping children enjoying outdoor play.
Research last year by the National Children’s Bureau found that children were now less likely to pay outside than previous generations, with almost half of parents citing concerns over traffic, injuries or abduction.
But Prof Byron, a child psychologist and author, who carried out a Government review into the effect of video games and the internet on young people, said parental concerns had reached “insane” levels.
“We live in a risk-averse culture, the levels of paranoia about health and safety and wellbeing are insane,” she said. “Most children spend most of their childhoods being raised in captivity.”
Today’s children are “hugely, hugely restricted”, she told delegates.
She said: “There are no more predators on the streets, no more paedophiles, then when I was growing up in the 1970s.”
Prof Byron, who has featured on television programmes including Little Angels and The House of Tiny Tearaways, said children today were “rarely seen out”.
She quoted directives issued in some schools dictating that children cannot play with conkers without goggles or throw snowballs because they may have grit in them. She also told of youngsters being driven to school by parents up to the age of 11 and 12.
“Children are being raised in captivity, children are not free range any more,” she said.
“They are taking risks we are not preparing them for. They are having a blast in this fantastic global space. I would argue they are more vulnerable there than if they were hanging out on the street.”
In further comments, Prof Byron raised concerns that too much emphasis is being put on a child’s IQ, suggesting that emotional intelligence and maturuty also needed to be considered.
She said anyone who has spent time researching the subject knows that “exam results are the least reliable indicator of intelligence”.
The comments follow those made by the child psychologist last month when she claimed that pupils were “lacking massively in emotional resilience” because schools were so focused on exam results at the expense of educating the whole child.
She said that clinicians were seeing an increasing number of “breakdowns” among young people who are “bright and who stereotypically don’t come from backgrounds where you would predict a greater chance of them having emotional, psychological or mental health problems”.