Steep see-saws. Sky-high slides. Mammoth monkey bars.
All were part of what created a trend for super safe playgrounds in the past few decades.
But experts are now wondering if safe comes at a cost: a generation of kids who don’t get a chance to conquer simple fears.
In a story by the New York Times, some researchers are questioning the value of safety-first playgrounds. “Even if children do suffer fewer physical injuries — and the evidence for that is debatable — critics say that these playgrounds may stunt emotional development, leaving children with anxieties and fears that are ultimately worse than a broken bone,” the Times reported.
“Children need to encounter risks and overcome fears on the playground,” said Ellen Sandseter, a professor of psychology at Queen Maud University in Norway. “I think monkey bars and tall slides are great. As playgrounds become more and more boring, these are some of the few features that still can give children thrilling experiences with heights and high speed.”
The Times reports that psychologists suggest that by gradually exposing kids to more dangers on the playground, they learn to use “the same habituation techniques developed by therapists to help adults conquer phobias.”
What do you think? Are playgrounds too safe?