Fear 'stops child development'
Some parents are afraid of letting children play unsupervised Youngsters are missing out on their childhood because we over-protect them, a child play expert claims.
A reluctance to let children take risks could stop them developing vital skills needed to protect themselves, he adds.
Tim Gill's new book says that instead of creating a "nanny state" we should build a society where communities look out for each other and youngsters.
Activities that previous generations of children enjoyed without a second thought - like walking to school on their own - have been re-labelled as troubling or dangerous and the adults who permit them branded as irresponsible, he argues.
Although there is a widely-held view that children grow up faster today, in fact their lives are far more controlled than they were 30 years ago
But through encountering risks, children learn how to overcome challenging situations, nurturing their character and fostering a sense of adventure, entrepreneurialism, resilience and self-reliance, claims Mr Gill.
Restricting children's play limits their freedom of movement, corrodes their relationships with adults and constrains their exploration of physical, social and virtual worlds, he asserts.
He said: "Although there is a widely-held view that children grow up faster today, in fact their lives are far more controlled than they were 30 years ago.
A recent study suggested 43% of adults felt children should not be allowed to play out unsupervised until they were aged 14 or over, she said.
This was "despite the fact that most respondents had been allowed out without an adult at the much younger age of 10 or under."