Mobile version
spiked plus
About spiked
What is spiked?
Support spiked
spiked shop
Contact us
Summer school
Top issues
Arab uprisings
British politics
Child abuse panic
For Europe, Against the EU
Free speech
Jimmy Savile scandal
Parents and kids
View all issues...
special feature
The Counter-Leveson Inquiry
other sections
 Review of Books
 Monthly archive
selected authors
Duleep Allirajah
Daniel Ben-Ami
Tim Black
Jennie Bristow
Sean Collins
Dr Michael Fitzpatrick
Frank Furedi
Helene Guldberg
Patrick Hayes
Mick Hume
Rob Lyons
Brendan O’Neill
Nathalie Rothschild
James Woudhuysen
more authors...
RSS feed
a-b c-d e-h i-l m-n o-r s-u v-z index
Dr Helene Guldberg
managing editor of spiked, and associate lecturer in child development at the Open University

The key challenge for the next generation is to give children the freedom and experiences they need in order to develop into adults. Otherwise we will end up with a generation of toddlers, incapable of dealing with life’s many challenges.

Children’s lives are – in some ways - becoming more restricted today: many are no longer able to play in the streets, walk or cycle to school, play in local parks, or just spend time with their friends, away from the supervision of parents and teachers.

The changing nature of childhood is an expression of growing parental fears for children’s safety and an erosion of trust in fellow humans. But the irony is that – by being preoccupied with safety - we are not necessarily making children’s lives any ‘safer’. So, for instance, if children have no practice in living and are told to ‘yell, run and tell’ if approached by a stranger, how are they going to learn to read the intentions of people they do not know later in life? Children need to learn to deal with risks and develop the capacity to assess challenges. They also need to be given the opportunity to develop resilience to life’s inevitable blows.

It is, of course, perfectly reasonable for parents to worry about their children’s safety. But such concerns need to be balanced by a recognition that children need to operate away from home and school, and develop the skills that are necessary for a rewarding, healthy life. In order for parents to develop the confidence to give children more freedom, we need to start challenging the corrosive tendency to undermine trust in fellow human beings.

Helene Guldberg is a contributor to Sustaining Architecture in the Anti-Machine Age (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)), and Rethinking Risk and the Precautionary Principle (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)).

Survey home
What we found
Survey responses
RSS feed
Anjana Ahuja
Michael Baum
Peter Cochrane
Richard Feachem
Frank Furedi
Michio Kaku
Ken MacLeod
Jonathan Meades
Munira Mirza
Matthew Parris
Ingo Potrykus
Roger Scruton
Ben Shneiderman
Lionel Shriver
Raymond Tallis
Peter Whittle
Josie Appleton
David Baulcombe
Claire Fox
William Higham
Paul Lauterbur
William Graeme Laver
Ken MacLeod
Fiona McEwen
Victor Stenger