Saturday, 31 March 2012

nature deficit disorder...




Yesterday the National Trust published a new report called 'Natural Childhood' by Stephen Moss. The report is one of the first of its kind in Britain to warn of a new 'cotton wool' generation of children, taking inspiration from Richard Louv's US research into 'nature deficit disorder.'


Statistics from the report reveal that things have changed dramatically and quickly in just one generation:


  • Fewer than ten per cent of kids play in wild places; down from 50 per cent a generation ago
  • The roaming radius for kids has declined by 90 per cent in one generation (thirty years)
  • Three times as many children are taken to hospital each year after falling out of bed, as from falling out of trees
  • A 2008 study showed that half of all kids had been stopped from climbing trees, 20 per cent had been banned from playing conkers or games of tag
The Trust has used this new report to launch a two month consultancy period which you can read more about here. After the consultation with experts (closing on the 25th May), The Trust plans to produce a 'roadmap' to reconnect children with nature - simple, or is it? What are your thoughts? 

5 comments:

  1. it is indeed shocking:
    I live in a seaside town and as visiting artist in a local school, I was amazed that most of the children in my groups had never been to the beach:
    it is a 20 minute walk away from the school & high rise blocks most of them live within:
    their parents preferring to stay home, watch tv or wander up and down the faceless high street rather than take their children out to be children:
    the only time some of them had been to the park, was on a little trip with the school!
    not always cottonwool ~ sometimes parents forgetting that kids are not adults:

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  2. Its a real shame I think. We try to get out and about in as a family as much as we can. Our experiences always seem more rewarding than anything we ever do inside; even the really good stuff like great museums.

    Our boys are never happier than messing about with mud and sticks although they can take a bit of reminding when trying to get them out of the house! Simple pleasures I hope they'll treasure.

    I can't contemplate the idea of any child never having had the chance to dam a stream or build a den. Too sad.

    Stephx

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  3. I was with my children in some local woods and saw a child have a small stick removed from her by her mother, who then told her how dangerous it was! I think that it's easy for parents to feel that if things don't come with pre-packaged with instructions and an age range guide it's not suitable for children or somehow dangerous. I also notice that in lots of nature-rich areas where children could play quite happily using their imaginations, there are now have swings, slides and play areas, or even worse a bouncy castle!

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  4. This is tricky - not everyone lives on the edge of a beach or rural area and to find this kind of freedom where I live takes planning and a car journey. My biggest worry is traffic - it is by far and away the biggest threat to my children as we live in a very built up area. But mine are only two and five, so luckily the many excellent parks we have in Leeds suffice.

    But when they are older I hope they go off on their bikes and explore as i did as a child!

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  5. This makes me so sad. We climbed trees and explored wild places as children, much more so than other children our age, but I am very aware that we didn't do so as much as my parents did. Some of our favourite family stories are of their adventures; my dad pedaling his tricycle for a 20 mile round-trip of exploration of country lanes at the age of five; my mother making dens in the woods for hours on end, only returning home for tea time. Most parents would baulk at the thought of their children doing these things, yet they sound so much more fun than a lot of things children do end up doing. Having children is still a while off for me, but this is a subject dear to my heart. Thank you for posting this! Xx

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