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News » WAB Debate

Do You Let Your Children Play Outdoors?

Wednesday August 1 2012

A NEW study has shown that half of parents don't let their children play outside because they are worried about them being kidnapped or injured.

The study, released for Playday 2012, says half of parents say they are worried about strangers approaching their children; 46 per cent fear traffic and a third are worried they'd get injured.

Cath Prisk, Director of Play England, said: "Simply playing outside should be a normal, everyday event for all children.

"If parents are too afraid to let their children play out - because of fear of strangers, traffic or their children having accidents - then we as a society need to address this fear."

Cath suggests that locals could agree play dates to watch each others children or even apply to the council to close the residential roads at certain times to allow for play.

What do you think? Do your children play outside? What do you think could be done to make it safer?

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Reply Posted by Chris Bailey on Wednesday August 1 2012 at 13:21
when I was 8 or so, I used to set off from kendray where we lived (still do) and visit my aunt and uncles in worsborough common. we didnt need to wait for our parents to get us ready for visiting. I'd spend hours at their house before heading back home. Now I dont know if that was irisponsible of my parents or not but then I had my own children. I realised that playing out was part of parcel of growing up but kept a watchful eye on them and if I couldnt see them I would go looking for them. In this day and age (I know of a few so called parents) who let their 3 and 4+ year olds go and play out on the streets, dont bother to check on them and then become the sensitive caring parent when their children are not back home when it gets dark! I also know of parents who keep so close an eye on their children that they are quite literally suffocated through lack of fresh air or company of their own age. Its difficult to say whats right and whats wrong. Suffice to say I think I struck the right balance in letting my children play out and not coming across as not caring or too suffocating.

Reply Posted by jem coe on Wednesday August 1 2012 at 14:00
I dont let my kids out of garden but thats due to living in dead centre of town when i was younger i was brought up on aldham estate in wombwell we played for hours on fields n black path tbh i wouldnt let my kids do same as there are always things in news bout murders and attacks the world is deffo not as safe as it used to bei would love for my kids to experiance what i did but it just aint safe enough anymore

Reply Posted by anon on Wednesday August 1 2012 at 14:40
i've just started letting my 6 year old out and i hate it! but you have to give them freedom and let them experience the world them selves as we did as kids. At the moment he is only allowed on the street immediatly outside the house but we'll gradually increase the distance as he shows us he can be trusted. its only been a few week and we can see the positive effect its having! he s out exercising with children his own age burning of excess energy and is bursting with pride that we trust him to play out. i dont think that the worlds got that much worse its simply communication has improved that much that you hear about it all now, the main problem now is the traffic and loss of community values! when we were kids everyone new everyone and so looked out for each others kids! now your lucky if your lucky if you know your nieghbours!

Reply Posted by anon on Wednesday August 1 2012 at 16:31
when i grew up we all played out in the school field for hours on end.On the street also. I gave my kids the freedom to go to the local park last year they were 8 and 10 i hated it but i used to go and check on them (without them seeing me) just to make sure they were fine. But some of the local kids started being nasty to them. Shouting ,swearing hitting them. WHY?? My kids have done nothing wrong all they want to do is play football but other peoples kids wont leave them alone.I wasnt like that when i grew up so why is it like it now??

Reply Posted by TC on Tuesday August 14 2012 at 14:18
It's the same everywhere unfortunately. The few horrible little oiks spoil it for all the rest.

Reply Posted by Hayley on Wednesday August 1 2012 at 19:34
Mine are allowed in garden and that's it oldest has just started playing around block at 11 half but only with another friend. I'd rather be a overbearing mother then a mother with regrets. I've buried a child already will do everything I can to prevent burying another child.

Reply Posted by Sarah on Wednesday August 1 2012 at 19:55
I have 2 children age 3 & 5 i am worried about all the above and dont allow my children out on the street wich is usually why i have all the kids on the street in my garden. And i always feel judged by the other parents on the street.
i agree with the comment above i would rather be an overbearing parent than1 with regrets and when i do finally decide to let my kids av a bit more freedom i will be watching them with out them knowing.

Reply Posted by sarah on Wednesday August 1 2012 at 20:41
My kids play out on the backins where i can see and hear them if they get up to mischeif the neighbours tell them off and they behave luckily they are the only kids on the street so they only fight with each other!!

Reply Posted by nicola on Thursday August 2 2012 at 07:45
i rather be over bearing than let them go on streets they get shouted at at sweared at by older kids we went in park there was condoms too many arseholes about to let kids go out i use to go everywer wen we wer younger you cant do that these days

Reply Posted by CDM on Thursday August 2 2012 at 07:47
Our 6 year old is allowed on the walk behind our house, but mostly only allowed in the garden. Sadly on the road where I live, there are several stupid residents who race around in their cars, and park on the pavements. I see an accident waiting to happen each and every day. Not to mention the local taxi firms, whose cars don't go below 30mph even on a dead end street. Then onto the feral rats that pass for children around here...swearing, vandalising, rude. Roaming the streets in packs of 8 or more...ages from 6 to 16...I don't want my daughter anywhere near them. God knows where THEIR parents are!

Reply Posted by Freeman on Thursday August 2 2012 at 17:06
If you don't let your kids play outside, and you're a subscriber to the frame of mind that their is a paedo around every corner, you're a complete idiot. If however, you're one trying to keep your kids away from the little urchins with zero respect for anyone else, then you're just short sighted and a bit silly. Kids need to understand this world of utter gits, as they will grow up in it. Taking them out of that environment simply reduces their ability to cope with it in future.

Reply Posted by TC on Tuesday August 14 2012 at 14:20

Reply Posted by 1VERYOVERBEARING PARENT on Thursday August 2 2012 at 17:33

Reply Posted by CDM on Thursday August 2 2012 at 19:24
@Freeman. So it's my fault that my kids can't cope with a world full of gits, and not the fault of the gits or the gits' parents? There isn't a "paedo" around every corner, and not every person outside of my garden is a nasty piece of work. But the ones that are, I do not want my daughter associating with. My daughter DOES understand that the world is a horrible place (in parts)...she watches the news, she reads books (I know...some kids actually do!) and she questions everything. I tell her the truth, which is preferable to the "truths" that she may hear from the gits outside!
Far from short sighted, I am educating my daughter in the ways of the world, not leaving that education to other, less savoury, characters!

Reply Posted by Bryn on Sunday August 5 2012 at 16:35
Children are supposed to get hurt! It's makes us strong! You don't need to worry about them being kidnapped off the street like that because they'll know not to go near or talk to strangers. I'm 14, i have been playin outside since i was 4. I'm fine! No need to worry

Reply Posted by jason dale on Sunday August 5 2012 at 18:15
i let my six year old play out.on the street very close to the town centre in a group aged from 5 to 10 year old.we know where they all are because they have boundaries around 200yards, but i would not let her out of the garden if i lived on a estate . .

Reply Posted by Em on Wednesday September 12 2012 at 12:53
It's really hard to know what to do. My 8year old was hit by a car outside our house. She was playing with her friends and neighbours, just like it should be. We live in a 'safe' enough area and have nice kids about and she knows all about the dangers of cars and roads. It still happens though. I won't let her play out for a long time. She could've been killed. We have too many cars these days. Some of our neighbours have three or more cars, they're parked on the pavement and don't move for weeks on end.

Reply Posted by Mum of 2 on Sunday September 16 2012 at 10:54
My 10 year old has been playing on our little street for 5 years but there is very little traffic and I can see all of this from my front room window and so I am happy for him and my now 7 year old daughter to play there as much as they like. Last summer however, my son and his friends started wanting to go further afield. None of the boys parents including myself were entirely happy about this but there comes a time when you have to give them some element of freedom. My son knows he must use zebra crossings, he has a mobile phone in case he needs me or i need him and I insist he checks in every hour or two if not with me then with a friends parents as we all have each others addresses and phone numbers. We live in Dodworth which is a small village and all the kids are dotted around several parts of the village. If only 2 kids are playing out they usually end at one of thems houses but usually there are half a dozen or so of them every time which can be less worrying. There has never been any trouble and so far my son has stuck to his rules. However, I believe what you allow your children to do is entirely up to each individual and there is no right or wrong. It can very much depend on how busy and area you live in, what other kids in the area behave like, what crossing facilities there are and how many people in the area you know that can secretly keep an eye on your kids LOL. My only problem now is trying to make my daughter understand why she is not able to play out to the extent my son is.