Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Wussification of the West

The evidence continues to mount from all quarters of the western world that our children are being dumbed down, becoming socially sterile, and biologically stripped of natural and interpersonal immunities.

The Guardian, in Bullying is exaggerated, says childhood expert by Anushka Asthana, Tom Gill argues,
'Children are not always nice to each other, but people are not always nice to each other. The world is not like that. One of the things in danger of being lost is children spending time with other children out of sight of adults; growing a sense of consequence for their actions without someone leaping in,' he told The Observer

Gill related an incident in which his own daughter complained that she was being bullied after three boys teased her about a game she was playing in the park. 'What struck me was the use of the word bullying to describe that,' he said. 'Bullying is where the victimisation is sustained and there is a power imbalance. I do not mean we should allow unbridled cruelty, just that one option is asking, "Can you sort it out yourself?" '

In No Fear: Growing up in a Risk-averse Society, which will be published tomorrow, Gill argues that society is 'bubble-wrapping' children. Parents, teachers, police, the government and wider society are all to blame, he said, for overreacting to risks such as 'stranger danger', injury and abuse.

Children were too quickly branded antisocial. He cited a case where three 12-year-olds were arrested and DNA-tested for climbing a tree.
Similarly, the Daily Mail carried an article called Let your children injure themselves, says ROSPA.
Parents must allow their children to play outdoors - even if it means they get hurt, a safety campaigner has said.

Research published last week by the Children's Society suggested that too many parents are refusing to let their children play by themselves outside in case they are injured.

It found 43 per cent of adults think children should not be allowed out with their friends until they are 14 or over.

But Peter Cornall, from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, argues that when children scrape their knees or bump their heads, they learn how to avoid hurting themselves again in future.
The New York Times recently carried an article called, Lobes of Steel by Gretchen Reynolds that reiterated the importance of aerobic exercise, even as schools steal exercise time to cram for yet another test.
University of Illinois scientists have studied school-age children and found that those who have a higher level of aerobic fitness processed information more efficiently; they were quicker on a battery of computerized flashcard tests. The researchers also found that higher levels of aerobic fitness corresponded to better standardized test scores among a set of Illinois public school students. The scientists next plan to study how students’ scores change as their fitness improves.
The SF Gate reports in, Warning: Fun ahead - Safety first, yes, but today's overprotected kids need to live a little by Peter Hartlaub, coming full circle, reminds us,
The wussification of American children is a relatively recent phenomenon, but a very real one. We pamper our kids, over-schedule them, overemphasize fairness in competition (the score ends in a tie ... again!) and keep them indoors too much, to the point that we're doing them a huge disservice. Kids aren't learning how to get hurt, lose, fend for themselves, find their balance and discover minor dangers on their own - all important parts of growing up.

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