Britain has an unhealthy Relationship with its Children
As far as annoying, hackneyed phrases go, ‘political correctness gone mad’ takes the number one slot. But every so often you come across a verifiable fact which prompts you to blurt it out, unwillingly, in the same way you yell when you stub your toe. Health and safety regulations affecting children’s playtime usually do the job. Ashburton Junior School, for instance, managed to provoke a barrel-load of Daily Mail bile when it ordered children not to play in the playground 15 minutes before class in case they get hurt last year. Today, local government leaders have called on parents not to wrap their children up in cotton wool, in a carefully planned press campaign designed to rid the public of the idea that local councils are responsible for the layers of health and safety regulations which affect children.
It’s insane and hugely depressing that we even have to talk about this. It goes without saying that children’s playgrounds should have ‘adventure equipment’ –tree houses and zip wires and the like – without councils having to churn out proud press releases to go with them. But we do have to talk about it, and it all stems from our strange and unhealthy relationship with childhood.
As a country, we have a very weird relationship with children. We have turned them into a depository for our better nature. All children are now considered innocence and perfection rolled into one. While we – adults and young adults (now known commonly as hoodies) – are the opposite: evil-minded and untrustworthy. Obviously, adults are all potentially dangerous. But we have started to consider them as if they are innately dangerous. For the record, children are usually not angels. They are, in fact, as cruel and manipulative as any adult. They’re just cuter. Some modern psychology even sees them as far less moral than adults, their social brains having not been formed yet.