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Restricting Children's Play May Harm Them

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Restricting Children's Play May Harm Them
« on: September 02, 2011, 10:45:49 AM »
Restricting Children's Play May Harm Them

Quote
Are children getting outside enough to play with each other?

Not as often as they should, according to one researcher, who argues that a lack of free play -- and fewer opportunities for children of different ages to mix -- may be responsible for the surge of mental health issues among today's children and adolescents.

Peter Gray, a research professor at Boston College, recently published two qualitative reviews in the American Journal of Play that bring the two issues to light.

Gray's analysis concluded that since the 1950s, children have spent less time playing freely with each other outside. During the same period, anxiety and depression increased among children and teens. Of course, correlation does not imply causation, Gray admits, but he still thinks there's reason to believe that play matters.

Free play differs from other types of activities in that it's not directed or led by adults. Creating rules to follow as well as being sensitive to others playing are skills children probably don't gain firsthand by playing adult-led sports or watching TV...

Free flow play is my wife's area of expertise and the subject of her PhD thesis. I can't emphasise enough how important it is that 'little monkeys' be allowed to be 'little monkeys'!
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Re: Restricting Children's Play May Harm Them
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2011, 01:52:45 PM »
I grew up in a neighborhood where all the area kids played together; even after the Nintendo came out (most of) our parents kicked us outside.  I guess they knew what was good for us :)

I've heard way too many stories of parents recently who can't get their kid to do X because they are playing too much video games or watching too much tv.  What happened to taking stuff away when a kid can't handle having it responsibly?

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Re: Restricting Children's Play May Harm Them
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2011, 07:53:43 PM »
I couldn't agree more! I was made to play outside as well...and I don't recall it mattering to me that much. This is a funny video of a kid's reaction to his parent's punishment. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YersIyzsOpc
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Re: Restricting Children's Play May Harm Them
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2011, 11:29:32 PM »
I usually found ways of going behind my parents' backs when they tried to force me into something. However, I was quite reasonable unless pushed.

Has been my way ever since. Push me when it matters to me, and I won't push back, yet still get exactly what I aim for. Reason, and I may just listen.
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Re: Restricting Children's Play May Harm Them
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2011, 12:18:18 AM »
I grew up in a neighborhood where all the area kids played together; even after the Nintendo came out (most of) our parents kicked us outside.  I guess they knew what was good for us :)

I've heard way too many stories of parents recently who can't get their kid to do X because they are playing too much video games or watching too much tv.  What happened to taking stuff away when a kid can't handle having it responsibly?

This was the same with me. We always played out, got involved in sports and just had a good time, then in the evening or rainy days we would play a bit of snes or mega drive and was always a social activity. Too many parents allow the games console or TV to take over from parenting as its easy to have their children enchanted by the glowing box.
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Re: Restricting Children's Play May Harm Them
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2011, 12:24:10 AM »
I never really interacted with children my own age too much until I turned 10. I was in 5th grade, it was a new school and it was my first time really being a part of any form of recess. I'm thankful for that because without it, I'd probably still not have any friends my own age... or friends that I don't share with my mom for that matter.
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Re: Restricting Children's Play May Harm Them
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2011, 04:03:14 AM »
Free flow play is my wife's area of expertise and the subject of her PhD thesis. I can't emphasise enough how important it is that 'little monkeys' be allowed to be 'little monkeys'!

I believe that.  What I can't believe sometimes how different things are now from when I was a kid.  As soon as I got home from school (and I walked there and back on my own from kindergarten on) I was out the door again and either playing with the other kids in the neighborhood or riding my bike all over the city by myself until dinnertime.  

No cells phones back then and no one expected to me stop anywhere and check in as long as I got home on time to set the table.  After dinner there was more than enough time left over for both chores and homework.  It was the same with all the other kids too and none of us got kidnapped or molested by strangers.  

I remember reading somewhere once that those of us raised in the 50s and 60s were the most unwatched kids in modern history.  Now, we may have ended up taking all that freedom too far (the New Age still makes me cringe) but this current system of "play dates", 5-hr homework assignments and helicopter parents is serious over-correction.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2011, 03:11:12 PM by BooksCatsEtc »
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Re: Restricting Children's Play May Harm Them
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2011, 10:24:34 AM »
What Sandy said, spot on!
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Re: Restricting Children's Play May Harm Them
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2011, 10:31:24 AM »
Quote from: BCE
I remember reading somewhere once that those of us raised in the 50s and 60s where the most unwatched kids in modern history.
Indeed. We used to roam the fields unsupervised and spent half our holidays in and on the river.  Nobody ever came to any harm.

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Re: Restricting Children's Play May Harm Them
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2011, 11:16:24 AM »
Quote from: BCE
I remember reading somewhere once that those of us raised in the 50s and 60s where the most unwatched kids in modern history.
Indeed. We used to roam the fields unsupervised and spent half our holidays in and on the river.  Nobody ever came to any harm.
On a saturday me and some mates would pack a ruck sack with goodies and disappear off into the woods. One of us would make sure their watch as wound up and set right so we could get back in time for Dr Who  ;D
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
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Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

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Re: Restricting Children's Play May Harm Them
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2011, 08:51:52 PM »
I can totally agree with this. I loved playing in the mud and puddles after the rain when I was little. Mom would even come outside and play with me sometimes. It really irritates me to hear all of these parents telling their kids that playing with dirt is bad for them. Being outside was my favorite time, and if I have kids dammit they are playing in the mud with me!  :D
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Re: Restricting Children's Play May Harm Them
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2011, 08:56:34 PM »
I can totally agree with this. I loved playing in the mud and puddles after the rain when I was little. Mom would even come outside and play with me sometimes. It really irritates me to hear all of these parents telling their kids that playing with dirt is bad for them. Being outside was my favorite time, and if I have kids dammit they are playing in the mud with me!  :D

People are becoming incredibly phobic about dirt and germs, esp. about allowing kids contact with it and that's actually making things worse for them.  The less contact kids have, the less resistence they build up and the lack of resistence is much more dangerous than exposure to something "dirty".
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Re: Restricting Children's Play May Harm Them
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2011, 10:23:02 PM »
Like it or not, times have changed. Today we choose to fill our time with more and more 'stuff', leaving no space for just being. Time is spent playing computer games or watching TV because this is effortless entertainment and has become the safe, socially acceptable norm.

I know that too much TV turns my children aggressive and uncommunicative. Removing TV after school has actually lead to a much more pleasant atmosphere with more compliant and reasonable kids. Everyone is happier and they don't miss it. The laughter I hear from imaginative games played while they would otherwise be lobotomised by the TV is so rewarding. I don't believe parents are aware of this phenomenon as the TV is always on as default. Their children's undesirable behaviour is considered normal. This, I believe is a major cause of todays antisocial generation.

We had to confiscate the Wii completely as the behavioural change was worse than that caused by TV. It really was scary to watch - and a nightmare to deal with.

Also, I am disgusted by the amount of homework my 7y.o son gets every day. I'm sure he is fairly typical. I suspect that this is due to a schooling system which demands academic improvements and they believe MORE work is the way to achieve that. The system is evidently flawed and needs a change to working smarter, not harder (though I can't tell you how). What else am I to do but to plug-on with the time and energy-sapping work? It is certainly eating valuable 'play' time I would rather see my children enjoy - not to mention the required demands on my own time.

These, along with many other social ailments are creating an affected generation which will only worsen as the mentally deficient raise children of their own.

I totally agree with the thread title, but I will also add that it is the choice of activities that replace 'playing' time that can make the difference between a mentally deficient child and one only slightly marred.

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Re: Restricting Children's Play May Harm Them
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2011, 11:48:37 PM »
^^^ This times a million. I had six hours of homework last night. By the time I was done, I didn't want to do anything but crawl in bed.
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Re: Restricting Children's Play May Harm Them
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2011, 11:51:38 PM »
I can totally agree with this. I loved playing in the mud and puddles after the rain when I was little. Mom would even come outside and play with me sometimes. It really irritates me to hear all of these parents telling their kids that playing with dirt is bad for them. Being outside was my favorite time, and if I have kids dammit they are playing in the mud with me!  :D

People are becoming incredibly phobic about dirt and germs, esp. about allowing kids contact with it and that's actually making things worse for them.  The less contact kids have, the less resistence they build up and the lack of resistence is much more dangerous than exposure to something "dirty".


My husband is a bit guilty of this - he's an admitted germaphobe and whenever we bring wee man to the park he gets squeamish about letting him "get dirty". Intellectually he knows that it's good for him to go out and be a little monkey, but he's afraid he's going to get worms or contract some weird form of raccoon distemper or something.
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