and little Mary climb a tree and fall out and break their arms as they fall it seems their parents can now be prosecuted for "neglect" - at least according to an article I have just read. Has the world of child protection gone mad?
Apparently if parents take an injured child to hospital they now risk prosecution for "neglect", for failing to keep the child safe and for failing to keep the child from injuring himself or herself even if the injury is a minor one. I can hear parents all over the country now telling their children, "No you can't go outside and play. You might injure yourself and I might end up in court" or "No, you can't learn to ride a bike because you might fall off and break your arm or your leg and I will end up in court."
The list could go on and on.
Rather than risk prosecution parents will wrap their children in more and more layers of cotton wool and deny them more and more experiences. They will transmit their own fear to their children. Exploration will be discouraged. Initiative will be forbidden. It will be because parents do not know where "reasonable parenting" ends and "neglect" ends.
You're bored? Well we will find yet another supervised activity for you to participate in...another sport? Yes, you do have to try and be in the team and the team has to win. Dance class? Yes, but you have to do the set exams. Music? There will be music practice and exams. A craft? Probably not. Too messy or too dangerous and really it's a waste of time. Read a book? Do you really need to waste your time reading a book when you could be learning something?
Children are already over supervised. They are rarely left alone. Adults are with them almost every hour of their waking lives. When they are left alone it is because they are "indulging" in some form of sedentary occupation - usually screen related. The freedom to break a window throwing a cricket ball or kicking a football in the street has long since gone. It is more dangerous. Cars are faster and there are far more of them. Gardens, if they exist at all, are squares of lawn and a few shrubs. The materials for making a cubby house no longer exist and the trees, if they exist, have been pruned by an "expert". They are not there for climbing.
It all makes me wonder how long it will be before a child trips over a shoe-lace an arm which will result in the parents being charged with neglect. They in turn will sue the child's nursery or pre-school because the child has not been taught how to tie shoe laces. It will happen.