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the good life in a digital age

Archive for the ‘children’ Category

secret garden nursery

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I read about the Secret Garden Outdoor Nursery in an article in the Sunday Herald. There’s coverage in the Guardian too.

When the Secret Garden nursery opens next autumn, the children will have none of the games and equipment seen in a normal suburban nursery: plastic see-saws, cushioned vinyl floors and sterilised building blocks. Their curriculum will be devoted to nature walks, rearing chickens, climbing trees, “mud play” and vegetable gardening. Their playground will be the forest, and their shelter a wattle and daub “cob” building with outdoor toilets.

Pileswasp would obviously love it, as will nephew Woody if nomen et omen is true (not the Woody in the article, that’s just coincidence).

Written by Karen

June 14th, 2008 at 10:17 am

we don’t play in the streets anymore

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The media frenzy about teenage knife crime reminded me that there was a story in the newspapers a while back about playing in the streets. The story was that only 2 in 10 children play in the streets and parks close to their homes each day, compared to 7 in 10 when their parents were growing up. Traffic was considered to be the main factor that keeps children indoors. The stories were based on a survey commissioned by Play England, a project aiming to help all children in England “to have regular access and opportunity for free, inclusive, local play provision and play space”.

The newspaper stories highlighted teenage gangs (the latest tabloid demons) as another factor in keeping the majority of children off the streets. The actual research states that

“the young people in the study perceived traffic as the greatest danger, far outweighing fears of bullies and gangs, strangers and fear of attack”.

The Play England article goes on to say that one of the problems is “the demonisation of children and young people” which makes the newspaper coverage somewhat ironic.

Written by Karen

June 5th, 2008 at 10:23 am

the Byron child safety review

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I wrote in October about the announcement of Tanya Byron’s review into the impact of violent video games on children.

Mind Hacks were recently a good deal more generous than me about Tanya Byron heading up the review:

“Tanya Byron is great. She came to prominence as the resident psychologist on several UK TV parenting programmes but used evidence-based interventions, essentially demonstrating what a clinical psychologist would do if your child got referred for behaviour problems.

Most notably, she obviously knew her shit and is widely respected among clinical psychologists. Despite often being described as a ‘TV psychologist’ she remained working in the NHS at the coal face of clinical work.”

The report is out now and is mostly sensible and balanced which makes me feel like I was unnecessarily skeptical, for example the report says:

Just like in the offline world, no amount of effort to reduce potential risks to children will
eliminate those risks completely. We cannot make the internet completely safe. Because of
this, we must also build children’s resilience to the material to which they may be exposed
so that they have the confidence and skills to navigate these new media waters more


There are new risks presented in online gaming, many of which are similar to the potential
risks to children of other internet use. These games offer new opportunities for social
interaction between children and there are a number of potential benefits for children and
young people from playing video games, including cognitive and educational gains and
simply having fun. Interestingly the evidence to prove these benefits can be as contested
as the evidence of negative effects.

Full report: Safer Children in a Digital World

Written by Karen

April 5th, 2008 at 1:35 pm