Are playground games too dangerous for children?
Remember the days before the internet and gaming consoles, when children played out on their bikes, or enjoyed the roundabout and swings at the local park? Life seemed much simpler then and you seldom heard that anything had been “banned due to health and safety fears”.
How things have changed today! Many parents must be left reeling as the latest scare comes to light and something we all thought was a simple childhood pursuit has suddenly been deemed too dangerous for our children. Read on to find out which games and pastimes have been banned in schools in case someone gets hurt.
The popular playground game, which involves children chasing each other, tapping anyone they can catch and shouting, “Tig – you’re it!” has been banned by a Yorkshire primary school amid claims pupils are upset at the rough and tumble. Flouting the ban has resulted in children being disciplined and kept in at break times.
2. Throwing snowballs
Several Belgian schools have banned snowball fights, claiming throwing a snowball is on a par with throwing stones and there’s a risk that a child could be hurt. The parents of any child caught taking part in a snowball fight are fined 100 euros.
A school in Gravesend, Kent, has banned running in the playground in case a child is injured. This means the pupils can no longer play football on their break.
4. Cops and robbers
Children at a London primary school can no longer play the timeless chasing game because it’s claimed the pupils are being encouraged to think using weapons is okay. Parents are furious, as they feel the game encourages children to believe cops are good and robbers are bad, instilling positive principles.
5. Superhero games
A school in the USA no longer allows children to pretend to be crime-fighting heroes such as Superman or Batman, running around the playground, arms outstretched while pretending to fly, because their “imagination is becoming dangerously overactive”.
6. British bulldog
The traditional playground game in which players must run across the playing field without being caught by the pupil who’s the designated “bulldog” has been banned by some UK schools for being “too violent”.
7. Eating flapjacks
Flapjacks are no longer on the menu at an Essex school after teaching staff decided the triangular shaped cookie was dangerous. The ban was put in place after a pupil was hit by a flapjack thrown by another child.
8. Marbles and conkers
Whereas at one time kids could often be seen playing with marbles or conkers in the playground, now they’re banned in some primary schools, due to the risk of injury and in the case of conkers, amid fears of nut allergies.
The latest game to come under the spotlight is rugby, with some health professionals calling for tackling to be banned in schools.
Times have changed and pastimes that were once considered part of tradition are suddenly hazardous. Some parents feel it’s a good thing, while others fear wrapping kids in cotton wool is creating a nation of “softies”, with even some health professionals agreeing that children will grow up “risk naïve” if they haven’t experienced the odd tumble.
The best parenting advice is to exercise common sense in all situations and try not to panic next time a new health and safety scare hits the media.