Can we go out and play? Probably not….

This article came to my attention today

The two-year Good Childhood Inquiry is published on Monday. The independent inquiry into the state of childhood today – commissioned by The Children’s Society and carried out by Lord Layard, the Labour peer, and Professor Judy Dunn, a child psychologist at the Institute of Psychiatry – has collected so much evidence that it is publishing it in a 240-page paperback book on Monday

The report is expected to warn that children have lost their freedom to play outside because of paranoia about the dangers they face and hostility from the general public.

Instead they are left to spend hours every day in front of television screens and computers, where they fall prey to aggressive marketing and turned into consumers

It will propose a complete ban on advertising for under-12s, which has been suggested both by Lord Layard and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who is patron of the inquiry.

The commercialisation of childhood is feared to be behind rising levels of depression and anxiety among teenagers, as they try to get the latest gadgets, wear make-up at increasingly early ages and try to lose weight or work out in order to look like models or pop stars.

The inquiry will also warn against the “cotton wool culture” and encourage parents to let their children play outdoors and make new friends rather than keeping them cooped up indoors.

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1 Response to Can we go out and play? Probably not….

  1. susangreen says:

    Its 30 years since I had my first play worker job in newcastle and it is so annoying that we are still debating this topic as if it had just been noticed. I think some of the problem arises because the politicians and public sector managers responsible for decisions about play resources and spaces inhabit a comfortable middle class world where their kids go to tennis club, ride a pony, have skiing holidays and have big gardens to mess about in. They are just too far removed from the realities of working class life in inner cities. So for instance they can make decisions to close somewhere like Handsworth Play Centre located in a park – they’re considering this at the moment to save money and think they can just move the after school club and other activities into Laurel road sports centre up the road in Handsworth Wood. They don’t see the value of the park location which allows the kids to run about safely and nor do they seem to place any value on the fact that Handsworth Play Centre is a dedicated play building. At 240 pages perhaps the best use of this report would be to use it as a weapon to bang over the heads of these desk jockey decision makers.

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