Unsupervised Play is Good for Children
A study at the University College in London has shown that unsupervised play outside causes children to become healthier and more sociable. These days we are very cautious about letting our children out alone and many children under the age of eleven are not allowed out unaccompanied.
Researchers claim that this can lead to obesity and a lack of independence. Children who go out on their bicycles or down to the park obviously get more exercise and fresh air as well as meeting with more people and having to deal with simple situations that may occur, such as talking to people, buying things in shops and crossing the road. Unfortunately there are often limited facilities available where parents feel safe letting their children go unaccompanied.
Obviously there is legitimate concern about stranger danger. Can this be balanced out with the benefits of allowing children out? Significant problems with strangers are rare, and have not changed much over the years, although we hear a lot about in the news. These days, with mobile phones and other technology, children can go out unaccompanied and, in many circumstances, can easily contact their parents should they run into difficulties.
Still, I don’t know how comfortable I would be letting my daughter roam the streets. What are your thoughts?