Cotton Wool Generation

9 05 2008

There was a piece on BBC Breakfast yesterday (can you tell it’s become quite the source of material for the blog recently?), as part of their series called “street life” covering the topic of neighbourhood values, that said that 60% of UK parents won’t let their children go to the local shops alone because “it’s not safe anymore”. That quote is almost verbatim. The key word being “anymore”.

Newsflash, it’s safer now than 20 years ago. Many of the parents in the piece talked about how they used to go out in the local neighbourhood as kids, and how they feel bad depriving their kids of the same but it’s just not as safe as it used to be. That’s just patently untrue. When you ask these parents what the main threat is, they say the same thing, paedophiles, and yet contrary to what people think this isn’t a new threat.

They’ve been around forever, it’s just that we now know about it thanks to the newspapers and television. There are actually less crimes against children now than ever, yet we hear about every single one in excruciating detail, whereas in the past parents were blissfully unaware of crimes outside of their immediate neighbourhood.

Yet this is one case where ignorance is not bliss. Due to not knowing about the dangers out there parents took huge risks without even knowing it, and this actually put children at far greater risk. Now that we hear about every case in the media, it is actually safer out there for children than it’s ever been. Which is more dangerous, the threat you know about or the one you don’t? At least now you can prepare your kids to deal with it.

Psychologists tell us it’s essential to a child’s development that they learn to explore at as young an age as possible. They learn crucial life skills through this experience and we absolutely must not stifle this. We’ve become too hysterical about everything in the news and blow it up out of proportion, and by doing so we actually make them less able to handle the dangers they might face, increasing the risk. It becomes self-fulfilling.

However will your child know how to deal with a potential paedophile or kidnapper if they’re never allowed out, and therefore never taught what to do in the situation where a stranger approaches them? Worse yet, what will they do as adults, when dangers will still exist (rapists, muggers etc)? Parents really need to stop wrapping their children in cotton wool or else we’ll have a generation of adults unable to take care of itself.


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6 06 2008
Judging A Book By Its Cover « Textual Relations

[…] Judging A Book By Its Cover 6 06 2008 As a society we are fast in danger of ruining future generations forever with our approach to so many things. From teaching them about sexual issues to letting them go down to the shops. […]

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