SEEN & NOT HURT
PARENTS are being labelled the “play police” as they hamper their kids from being brave and adventurous.
It is not only children who have lost the ability of risk assessment – fear has crept into modern parents, says Nature Play Queensland’s Hyahno Moser.
“The world belongs to the anxious and this is the heart of the decline of outdoor play,” Mr Moser said.
“In my years as program manager of Nature Play Queensland, I have learned that parents are marinated in stranger danger fear.” DO IT: Amy and Scott Robertson with children Charlie, 10, and Elkie, 7, at Mount Coot-tha. Picture: AAP/Mark Calleja
Hot weather, bug bites and fear of falls are the excuses some parents use for their children sticking to couch activities.
Research has confirmed that fewer than one in 10 children venture further than a few metres from their front door.
And the radius explored by children aged seven and eight has shrunk by 90 per cent in just one generation.
“If we lock kids indoors, day-in and day-out, put a screen in front of them, reduce their real-life freedoms, reduce their access to the neighbourhood, to local friends, reduce the amount of space they have to move, explore, connect, experience, then we end up with unmotivated, unsure, physically and emotionally incompetent children, and communities besieged with rising health and behavioural issues,” Mr Moser said.
“The first seven to eight years of a child’s life need to be sacrosanct, protected as the most important foundational years that set up the child physically and emotionally for the rest of their life.
“Parents need to understand this.”
Scott and Amy Robertson from Paddington, in Brisbane’s inner west, understand the value of standing back and giving their two children the opportunity to explore and experience nature.
“We love getting outdoors. Nature is the perfect playground,” Amy said.
“We try not to interfere with the play too much unless it is highly dangerous.”