Hazards of growing up in the 21st Century
In the 21st Century it’s no mean feat keeping our children safe. As parents and carers we are faced with many challenges and now we live in times where the potential hazards can feel overwhelming. Children have access to information like never before, our streets are busier than ever and our homes are full of potential hazards. Our children are growing up immersed in technology and their access to information, both good and bad, is never ending.
What has changed?
Some dangers that have always existed need to be communicated carefully to our children, others are new. But they need to be made aware of the world around them and what might happen, without being frightened. Broaching the issue of how people do not always have good intentions, is a difficult one. Children need to know how to say ‘no’ in situations where they feel uncomfortable, not feel pressured to be part of a gang and to learn about bullying and how to deal with it. ‘Stranger danger’ must be raised at an early age as children can be vulnerable at any time, but they also need to know when it’s ok - even advisable - to seek help from a stranger, if you are lost for instance.
Safety on the roads and streets is another key area that needs to be communicated so children are aware of what could happen – in-car safety, using roads safely on foot, not running away from your parents and learning your green cross code and cycling proficiency. Public service announcements on these issues are a thing of the past, but the messages are so important.
Behaviour and what is acceptable and what isn’t is something that children sometimes need spelt out to them, especially when they feel under peer pressure; stealing and its implications, treating animals with respect and care, not taking part in anti-social behaviour are just a few. These are things we may not think to discuss with our children but they are likely to encounter at some point and in some way and need to be prepared to act in a responsible way.
Keeping children healthy can often be a battle. In an age where they spend more sedentary time than ever sat in front of screens, and eating junk food, they need to be made aware of a healthy lifestyle – eating the right foods, exercising and playing outdoors might not seem as second nature in today’s society as they once were. Technology must be embraced and children today are proficient with laptops, tablets, smartphones etc. But this technology comes at a risk – too much screen time, exposure to inappropriate images/games and internet safety, are key issues that must not be overlooked as technology becomes part of our everyday life.
Knowledge enables young people to appreciate dangers
Every day dangers are just that – dangers that surround our children as they go about their daily lives. They may not encounter all of them all of the time, and some not all, but if they are informed then they are armed to deal with them effectively.
Ask for help
If you would like one of the authors of the Watch Out book, published through OK Our Kids, to talk to your organisation about the ways in which we can allow our children to enjoy the world around them, whilst also being aware of the dangers and staying safe, please just contact us on 07854 444775
For further information on the issues raised please visit:
www.kidsexercise.co.uk www.safekids.co.uk www.dangerspot.co.uk www.kidsbehaviour.co.uk www.eatwell.gov.uk www.rspca.org www.bullying.co.uk www.nspcc.org.uk www.childline.org.uk