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Children no longer allowed to roam June 16, 2007

Posted by Al in : interesting,personal , trackback

After reading this article I found myself thinking back to my childhood, and realising what a wonderful childhood it was. When I was 8 I would play around the streets and fields by my house. Although I wouldn’t wander far, I was always out and often away from parental supervision, although always with other kids from my neighbourhood. As I grew older I began to wander further, down to the local beaches, down the nearby valley, through my village and around the local farmers’ fields. I learnt what crops grew where, and when, as well as what fruit was available, how to eat acorns and nettles, where to catch crab and lobster, and how to live in the wild without unduly fearing it.

I can’t begin to describe the nostalgia I feel when remembering lying out on the local cliffs, wrapped up warm in a sleeping bag, with my friends Grant and Gareth, and watching satellites and shooting stars cross the night sky. Light pollution was low where I lived, and the Milky Way stood out as a glowing cloud covering half the sky. The surf would be a constant background noise, and you’d flinch when a vixen cried out, or when a screech owl screeched. I walked miles every day in the summer, swam in unpolluted seas, and experienced the beauty of the Gower peninsula (which was the first Area Of Outstanding National Beauty in Great Britain). I will be the first to admit that I had the best childhood any child could ask for, and I would love to be able to go back and experience those days all over again, and again, and again.

However, time marches ever onward, and I can no longer return to my youth, and modern youths cannot experience any of the freedom that was available to people of my generation. I can see signs of this when I return to Bishopston, as paths that were frequently used when I was a child, by kids mainly, are now overgrown and indistinguishable. Now, kids are driven everywhere, are secluded away from potential abductors, are given restrictions on where they can play, and are removed from the natural world that surrounds them. I pity a child who has not come home smelling of wild garlic, with nettle stings and midge bites, with the odour of wood smoke lingering on their clothing and hair, without a fresh story to tell, and without a new experience to keep secret from their parents.


1. Niel - June 20, 2007

Just reading you’re blog made me yearn for my youth when the only restriction on my roaming was that I had to be back in time for tea. It is a shame that people have allowed the media view to influence the way that their kids are restricted. Though I agree that there are elements of the world that you wouldn’t want your kids exposed to, I don’t think that the world is really that much more dangerous than when I was young. I was just as likely to break something back then, as kids are today. It seems to me that this restrictive attitude will only serve to deny the youth their early introduction to freedom and independence, which is a sad sad thing.

2. David Pearce - June 23, 2007

I have to say that i agree with alister about this. When I was young the only thing i had to be afraid of was not letting my parents know when and where i was going. As the world has grown both in population and technology I believe we have become more isolated as a species. How many people now shop for everything online and get everything delivered? How many people work from home. And as parents, are we not guilty of bringing up our kids in front of the television or playstation whilst we get on with trivial things like shopping online or working 2 or 3 jobs just to get the bills paid.