Have safe playgrounds created phobias, stunting development, impacted learning ability, and lead to childhood obesity? Kids not challenged, bored by today's playgrounds? The obesity argument is that boring playgrounds discourage kids from using them. Europe is ahead of the US in adding risks to playgrounds.
Some child-development experts and parents say decades of dumbed-down playgrounds, fueled by fears of litigation, concerns about injury and worrywart helicopter parents, have led to cookie-cutter equipment that offers little thrill. The result, they say, is that children are less compelled to play outside, potentially stunting emotional and physical development and exacerbating a nationwide epidemic of childhood obesity.
Some psychologists suggest that not exposing children to risk can result in increases in anxiety and other phobias. Children who never climb trees, for example, are more likely to develop a fear of heights, according to a study in Norway. And encouraging free play, in an age of structured activities and computer games, is believed to be important in helping children develop physical and cognitive competencies, creativity and self-worth. . . .
I can explain why Utah is at the forefront of setting up more innovative playgrounds. Hint: it is related to family size. See Freedomnomics.
Labels: lawsuits, Regulation, safety