Parents may be doing their children more harm than good by eliminating or minimising risks in their lives, according to one of the UK’s leading thinkers on childhood and children’s play.
In a public lecture to be held this Thursday, September 27, 2007 at 6pm in UWA’s Octagon Theatre, childhood expert Tim Gill will discuss the growth of the zero-tolerance approach to childhood risk across the developed world and its ramifications for childhood development.
Mr Gill said this approach could be seen in almost every domain of children's lives, from playground accidents to child protection, anti-bullying initiatives and internet safety. But eliminating or minimising the risks to children may well leave them struggling to cope with life as they grow up, he said.
In his lecture, Mr Gill will reveal why risk elimination is becoming so prevalent, and how we can resist it. He will argue that parents, professionals and decision-makers all need to become more tolerant of adversity: to accept that upsets, misfortune, uncertainty and even a little danger are all essential ingredients of a healthy, happy childhood.
“We need to support parents so they feel able to give their children back some of the freedoms that they enjoyed when they were young. Perhaps most important of all, we need to accept that it is natural and healthy for children to explore, take risks, make mistakes, seek out adventure and test boundaries,” he said.
Mr Gill is in Perth to take part in Come and Play Outside, a multidisciplinary symposium on unstructured outdoor play being held at The University of Western Australia from 28-29th September 2007.
This event is co-sponsored by the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, the Australian Research Council/National Health and Medical Research Council Research Network and the Institute of Advanced Studies. For more information about the lecture or the conference, contact the Institute of Advanced Studies on 6488 1340 or email [email protected]
Audrey Barton (Institute of Advanced Studies) 61 8 6488 1340