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Another piece of the puzzle:  Hillman on car culture and the stunting of children's autonomy and social development...
The reasons given by parents for the restrictions they impose on their children's independent mobility reflect a growing anxiety. Increasingly, the outside world is seen as a place where children are likely to be injured by a motor vehicle or harmed by a bully or stranger. The instinctive wish of parents to avoid their children being exposed to risk has been translated into them taking away from children their freedom - for adults it would be called a right - to get around on their own. That freedom has been replaced by their time being more and more under adult supervision and structured by adults, with a rising and worrying proportion of children's waking hours being spent indoors in front of the TV or in playing computer games. This is a sad commentary on this social change of the last few decades in that its effects have largely gone unnoticed and that fear is its inspiration.
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There is a further psychological dimension to be added to the damaging effects of limiting children's exposure to the outside world unless they are accompanied by an adult. Not allowing them out on their own takes some of the excitement and adventure out of children's lives - witness the thrill they enjoy when first allowed to do things on their own. It is interesting to note from experiments on primates that damage to the development of their social behaviour by depriving them of the rough and tumble of their early years cannot be restored: survival rises with the extent of experience of risk taking.

Children's detention in their homes inculcates in their impressionable minds a grossly misleading perception of the world outside as hostile - a world in which we, as experienced and responsible adults, consider that people one does not know could well be up to no good and that their locality may contain within it elements of danger to which they should not be exposed.

Another piece of the puzzle may be summed up by a teacher who said that her music students show little inclination to put in the long hours required for true mastery of an instrument.  One asked her, "Why bother?  who knows if we'll be alive in ten years."

The Turrist fearmongering of the BushCo propaganda machine, the millennialist preaching of the rightwing religious extremists, the cult of fearful parenting, the very real precarity of our economic and ecological situation, all contribute to inflict on thoughtful children a sense of danger, despair, and futurelessness which can only reinforce the joyless hedonism of consumer brainwashing.  Nihilism is heady stuff for the young in any era -- how much more compelling it must seem in parlous times...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 08:07:12 PM EST

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