'Insane' children paranoia slammed

Children are no longer "free range" but are being raised in captivity due to "paranoia" about health and safety, according to a former Government adviser.

Leading child psychologist Professor Tanya Byron warned that youngsters no longer know how to fall over, are still being driven to school at age 12 and are banned from throwing snowballs due to fears about grit.

She said that a risk-averse culture has resulted in levels of paranoia that are "insane".

Speaking at the North of England Education Conference (NEEC) in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, Prof Byron raised concerns that children are now being raised in captivity. She said: "We live in a risk-averse culture, the levels of paranoia about health and safety and wellbeing are insane. Most children spend most of their childhoods being raised in captivity."

Today's children are "hugely, hugely restricted", she told delegates. "There are no more predators on the streets, no more paedophiles, then when I was growing up in the 1970s." There are better systems now for tracking those people who have "wholly inappropriate relationships around children", Prof Byron suggested.

Children today are "rarely seen out", she said, when youngsters used to play outside all the time.

Rising numbers of children are attending A&E and minor injuries units because "kids don't know how to fall any more," she said. "They tense themselves up when they fall, so they sprain."

Children used to fall all the time and scabs were seen as a "badge of honour", she said.

Prof Byron claimed she had also heard of directives in schools which said children cannot play with conkers without goggles, or throw snowballs because they may have grit in them, and that youngsters are being driven to school when they are 11 and 12.

She told the conference: "Children are being raised in captivity, children are not free range any more. They are taking risks we are not preparing them for. They are having a blast in this fantastic global space. I would argue they are more vulnerable there than if they were hanging out on the street."

https://registration.livegroup.co.uk/neec2013/(North of England Education Conference)

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