Children brought up 'in captivity' by risk averse parents, says leading child psychologist

Professor Tanya Byron says children no longer know how to fall over and dust themselves down to start playing again

Children today are being  brought up “in captivity” by their parents as a result of a risk averse approach to growing up, a leading child psychologist said today.

They no longer know how to fall over and dust themselves down to start playing again, former government adviser Professor Tanya Byron told a conference in Sheffield.

“We live in a risk averse culture and levels of paranoia about children’s wellbeing and safety are insane,” she added.

“There are no more predators on the streets, no more paedophiles around now than when I was growing up in the 1970’s .”

Yet parents no longer allowed their children to play outside because of fears they might be attacked or abused.

“Kids don’t know how to fall any more – they tense themselves up (and therefore suffer strains). – whereas we used to fall all the time and dust ourselves down and get on with it,” she added. Scabs, she said, were ”a badge of honour”.

As a result, growing numbers of children were being taken to accident and emergency centres with minor injuries.

In addition, schools would now debate whether pupils should play conkers or whether they should put goggles on if they did.  Snowballing was also considered a safety risk because there could be grit in the snow.

Parents also still drove them to school when they were aged 11 or 12.

“Most children spend most of their childhood being raised in captivity – they’re not free range any more,” she added. “They are hugely, hugely restricted.

“That sense of adventure , that sense of risk that you get – all those life risks that children need to develop into confident and capable human beings are being narrowed and narrowed.”

Professor Byron, who was speaking at the North of England education conference,  also said there was a “lack of awareness”  about how children learnt with schools reluctant to allow children to use technology in lessons. Items like mobile ‘phones were often confiscated before children got into the classroom.

“The only place they can be kids now is when they play online,” she added. “Yet if we really do believe that the only way forward for education is to take it back to the 1970’s we’re completely deluded ourselves and we’re letting children down.

“We’re not inspiring them and that I think is a great shame.”

Her comments come just weeks before the Government unveils its plans for reshaping the national curriculum which are expected to confirm a move towards a more traditional school timetable –  and a focus on preparing pupils for tests and examinations.

Exam results, she added, were the “least reliable indicator” of a pupil’s intelligence.

“There are some kids who are able to understand and learn and remember things better than others – but that does not necessarily mean they’re more intelligent.”

Many pupils were misbehaved because they were “bored” with the rigid and narrow approach to education.

“We are letting down children who are bright,” she added.  “This is a massive, massive problem.” Yet the Government’s answer seemed to be to introduce more tests and targets .

Earlier in the conference, Schools Minister Elizabeth Truss told delegates that the Government’s curriculum review would be published by the end of the month.

Pupils would be rewarded in maths if they showed the correct approach to working out long division even if they got the answers wrong, she added.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Extras
indybest
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Primary teaching roles in Ipswich

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education re...

Science teachers needed in Norwich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Science teachers requ...

English teachers required in Lowestoft

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified English tea...

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Experienced Primary Teachers We are curr...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits