“The Overprotected Kid” by Hanna Rosin, appeared in The Atlantic in April, but I thought it was worth a share still. While it’s aimed at parents, I think there are some interesting points for all of us!
It discusses the (d)evolution of playgrounds into the sterile, risk-minimizing, boring, identical structures that exist today, driven by an obsession with completely eliminating the possibility of children getting hurt. Today, policymakers, playground developers, psychologists and some parents are realizing that these boring playgrounds may do more harm than good when it comes to children’s development and even their safety.
For non-parent Millennials, there’s an interesting section nearly at the bottom that cites a few studies about the effects of this sterile, risk-free childhood on our generation, effects that include higher rates of depression and a lack of creativity. It’s interesting to think about the importance of taking risks and pushing out of our comfort zone in order to expand and grow. We may not be able to change the experience of our childhood, but perhaps we can extrapolate these ideas to inform how we approach our adult lives–risk-free and predictable or daring and adventurous?
Fair warning: it’s a long article–perfect for a weekend read!
I’d love to hear from you! What do you think of today’s boring playgrounds? How do you feel about controversial issues like allowing your kids to take walks by themselves or play at “adventure playgrounds?” How do you see your children’s environment and experiences differing from your own childhood?