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Playgrounds are too safe? Damn right they are! Options · View
lafayettemister
Posted: Friday, July 22, 2011 8:52:33 AM

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Playground are so safe that they hurt kids in the long run

Playgrounds these days are usually brightly colored things, low-slung plastic-coated structures with short, gently sloping slides, set on surfaces covered with shredded rubber or wood chips. No see-saws. No hand-pulled twirling whirling rides. No super-high jungle gyms to climb. Swings (if there are any) often have safety bars and seat belts attached.

But that wasn't the case just a generation ago.

"I am still quite nostalgic for the two-, three-, maybe three-and-a-half-story high wooden playground castles I grew up with 30-odd years ago," says Alex Gilliam, an architect and a national expert on K-12 design education. "We're now at a point where every playground is pretty much the same. And they're boring. They're not challenging."

Quote:
Blame a litigious society. Or, maybe, helicopter parents. But the increased focus on safety may have had unintended consequences: a generation of kids who aren't able to accurately assess risk or cope with fear.


Yes, anytime anyone gets hurt it's always someone else's fault. People, sometimes shit happens. Deal with it.

Have playgrounds become too safe?

"Children need to encounter risks and overcome fears on the playground," Dr. Ellen Sandseter, a professor at Queen Maud University in Norway, told the New York Times. "Children approach thrills and risks in a progressive manner, and very few children would try to climb to the highest point for the first time they climb. The best thing is to let children encounter these challenges from an early age, and they will then progressively learn to master them through their play over the years."

In a small 2007 study in Europe, Sandseter observed six different types of "risky play": playing on high structures or at high speeds, using dangerous tools or playing near dangerous elements, roughhousing, and games where the children can "get lost," "disappear," or avoid adult supervision. But instead of allowing children to explore their environment and understand how to interact with it, schools and public officials have been working to eliminate even the smallest risks.

In 2006, some cities and schools banned tag during recess, citing safety concerns; others have outlawed contact sports like touch football and soccer. Dodge ball has been out for years.
Quote:
And in 2005, South Florida's Broward County school system banned all running on playgrounds
. Swings and see-saws were banned there, too. "They've got moving parts," Safety Director Jerry Graziose told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "Moving parts on equipment is the number one cause of injury on the playgrounds."

That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard of. Hey kids we're going to feed you some crappy food full of sugar but don't try to burn it off or get any exercise. Someone fucking shoot me now.

Actually, according to the National Program for Playground Safety, the number one cause of injury on public, school, and home playgrounds is falling off of equipment. Even so, the vast majority of those injuries—85 percent—aren't classified as severe.

Moreover, while many parents worry that a bad fall could lead to a life-long fear of heights, the New York Times points out that the opposite is actually the case:
Quote:
Studies have shown that "a child who’s hurt in a fall before the age of 9 is less likely as a teenager to have a fear of heights."


"Paradoxically, we posit that our fear of children being harmed by mostly harmless injuries may result in more fearful children and increased levels of psychopathology," Sandseter and her colleague, psychologist Leif Kennair of the Norwegian University for Science and Technology, write in the journal Evolutionary Psychology.

Gilliam sums it up this way: "The whole notion of protecting kids has kind of backfired."

As the founder and director of Public Workshop, an organization that encourages kids to take part in designing the cities in which they live, Gilliam has been involved in the research and creation of plenty of different kinds of play spaces. Modern "safe" playgrounds aren't interesting enough for older kids, he points out. That leads to an increase in sedentary activity, which has been linked to the spike in childhood obesity rates.

Quote:
"We carp, as adults, all the time that we've lost our kids to video games, we've lost our kids to TV," says Gilliam. "Of course we have. We've made the world, the physical landscape, so boring to kids that of course a video game is going to feel more stimulating."


Yes, we've made a way to vanilla world for our kids.

But there may be hope. "We're at a weird tipping point," Gilliam says. On one hand, the way we worry about the risks associated with play are "a little depressing at times," he says. But on the other hand, it may allow us to reassess the way kids really need to play. Just as so-called free-range parents made others think about the way we foster independence, when it comes to super-safe and boring playgrounds, Gilliam says, "Some people are finally starting to say, 'Maybe enough's enough'."










When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Socrates
ArtMan
Posted: Friday, July 22, 2011 12:19:38 PM

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America is raising a new generation of sissies that will not be able to defend themselves when the Chinese decide to stroll in and conquer. Thanks to our own insanity and political correctness.

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Guest
Posted: Friday, July 22, 2011 1:14:56 PM

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It's true--when I was in school, we had bars where we could do pull-ups, of course no child ever wants to do those, so we used to do flips around the bars. The school didn't like that-- they didn't need to have any law suits about how the teachers weren't watching the kids and doing their jobs. It's sad to say that I've only ever seen 1 see-saw in my entire life :(

Personally, I blame those people who constantly fear people and act like everyone is going to snatch them up, take them back to some secret location, and some unspeakable horrors will happen-- fear is already there, and they let it spread to every nook and cranny of their lives, as well as other peoples'. And those people end up having kids; not only that, but they know how to sue -_-
lafayettemister
Posted: Friday, July 22, 2011 3:14:16 PM

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Thanks for posting. I'm pretty much in agreement with both of you.





When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Socrates
DirtyMartini
Posted: Friday, July 22, 2011 4:28:39 PM

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lafayettemister wrote:


Quote:
And in 2005, South Florida's Broward County school system banned all running on playgrounds




That really has to be the dumbest thing I've heard in a while...maybe they'll decide to take the word "play" out of "playground" so kids won't get any ideas...

Damn, I remember when we could ride our bikes to school...they stopped that when I was in sixth grade for "safety concerns"...don't remember anyone getting hurt, but somebody somewhere, in some country must have...

Whatever...


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cyrwr3gmail
Posted: Friday, July 22, 2011 9:47:27 PM

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Guess they can say the same things about sandbox
Guest
Posted: Saturday, July 23, 2011 5:03:54 AM

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I can remember being in elementary school and a kid falling off the top of one of the slides. You know, the really tall slides where the ladder seemed to go on forever? The kid wasn't hurt, just bruised and sore. The teachers just told the rest of us kids to be careful, and we went on playing. I imagine that if this happened today, the slide would bbe dismantled and replaced with something deemed safer. The teacher probably would be sued for not watching the kid close enough, too. Perhaps this is yet another reason we see more kids in front of the tv or absorbed in their handheld games than we do actually playing outside. We were at the lake on July 4th with a large group of people. There were a few kids there in their early teens who were whining about having no cell phone signal for texting and facebooking. Really? A beautiful day at the lake and that's all they wanted to do? I found that a little sad.
easy_rider75
Posted: Saturday, July 23, 2011 10:56:59 AM

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Huh go figure they are dangerous? Fucking pussies. I mean seriously what fun is it to be a kid anymore? Damn hell I recall the playgrounds I had as a kid at my school were made of big ass thick metal tubing non colored tubing unless you count grey metal a color. Shit we even had one of those big well big back in those days steel tube geodesic domes you could climb oob we used to race to the top of it did we fall off it scrape our knees and get bruised up? Hell fucking yeah we did but shit it was damn fun. Hell Making the playgrounds to safe today is right. An old one I used to go to in my town I didn't even recognize the park did not look like the same park I used to play in to much of this plastic crap there.


Come on people let the kids have 4 x 4 posts good old metal tubes chains and ropes let the little shits get hurt like we did builds character. One person said it right bout making this new generation a bunch of sissies ok off rant

“I'm not one of those complicated, mixed-up cats. I'm not looking for the secret to life.... I just go on from day to day, taking what comes.”~Frank Sinatra~
Guest
Posted: Sunday, July 24, 2011 1:56:16 PM

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I use to have so much fun on merry-go-rounds. Too bad many others couldn't practice some common sense.
easy_rider75
Posted: Sunday, July 24, 2011 3:21:06 PM

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eviotis wrote:
I use to have so much fun on merry-go-rounds. Too bad many others couldn't practice some common sense.


Yeah we did to was always fun being on them then having someone else spin the thing fast as they could see who would puke first LOL ah the good old days. Being a kid today must suck sometimes lol

“I'm not one of those complicated, mixed-up cats. I'm not looking for the secret to life.... I just go on from day to day, taking what comes.”~Frank Sinatra~
Guest
Posted: Monday, July 25, 2011 5:11:45 AM

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I totally agree. My kids were brought up in a semi rural area. They knew they could try and catch a tree snake, they never did. They also knew to run like hell if they saw a red bellied black or brown snake. They'd come inside at the end of the day wearing scrapes and cuts like badges of honor. I feel so sad for a lot of today's children. As John Butler sang: Go take a step outside, see what's shakin' in the real world.
Red_Dragon
Posted: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 5:36:32 PM

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i can remember in the 50's and 60's in catholic school getting my ass beat by Mother Superior with the board of education and you didnt dare go home and tell you parents and what is wrong with the kids today is that we wrap them up so much in protective shit they are never going to learn how to face the real world

Guest
Posted: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 12:56:27 PM

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Red_Dragon wrote:
i can remember in the 50's and 60's in catholic school getting my ass beat by Mother Superior with the board of education and you didnt dare go home and tell you parents and what is wrong with the kids today is that we wrap them up so much in protective shit they are never going to learn how to face the real world


Add the 70s to that :) What it all boils down to is kids today get pampered to much and play on computers and get out of shape because they are not enjoying the outdoors like when I was a kid.

I rode my bike for the enjoyment to go see friends that lived further than next door. Today a kid is tortured by riding a bike because they have to wear so much padding.

Now in the school playground they have outlawed kickball, dodgeball and basketball because parents today don't wont lil Johnny to bully their prince or princess in sport.

Before I quit my rambling here, I saw that someone talked about they may have seen a sea~saw. We me I haven't seen a metal slide in so long, because the slide is made of some plastic that is made in China. I could remember going down a slide and it would bur my ass. Well I didn't stop sliding. I got some cold water and poured it on the slide and that would cool it down. Today ya do that on a plastic and all it does is goes melt and ya ass gets stuck and burns .
Ruthie
Posted: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 9:20:39 PM

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Schools place a lot less emphasis on play than they used to. Maybe because there is so much to be learned that there isn't really much time for play. Some parents have a lot of supervised activities for their kids to do as well. Many kids don't have time to just play and be kids anymore. They aren't allowed to use their imaginations to make up games to play and things to do. Some kids are signed up for after school activities and never allowed to play with other kids unless it's in an adult supervised situation. Kids need the chance to be kids. Most of the playgrounds when I was growing up are still around. Very little has changed. There are swings for little kids that have safety harnesses, but the swings for bigger kids are still open. The slides don't seem as tall as they did, but that's just my perspective. My nieces and nephew seem to have a good time. One thing different in my home town is that the city pool has closed for lack of funding. I miss the pool.
Playmale
Posted: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 11:20:11 PM

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Guest
Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2011 2:30:29 PM

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