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PseudoscienceThe Conspiracy Against Science$
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Allison B. Kaufman and James C. Kaufman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780262037426

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262037426.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 28 June 2022

Risky Play and Growing Up: How to Understand the Overprotection of the Next Generation

Risky Play and Growing Up: How to Understand the Overprotection of the Next Generation

(p.171) 7 Risky Play and Growing Up: How to Understand the Overprotection of the Next Generation

Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair

Ellen Beate Hansen Sandseter

David Ball

The MIT Press

Much of the development of children, young people, and young adults is determined by opportunities for play and “real life” experience in their early years. This is not, as some believe, an optional or frivolous luxury, but an essential life experience for development of character, skills, self-awareness, and competence. Yet in recent years, evidence shows that opportunities for this at all ages have diminished in both quality and quantity in many countries. The reasons for this are multiple and complex, but one factor has been a drive to create a low risk or even risk-free society via the application of newly developed techniques of risk assessment and science-based methods of risk control. However, the health benefits of these public safety initiatives might have much less effect than people might believe and could, overall, be harmful through their prohibitions. We conclude that more research into the nature of risky play and risk exposure through teenage years and into adulthood is necessary, but tentatively propose that we need to also consider the possible effects of irrational overprotection. In addition to the conventional play setting, the current spread of trigger warning and safety rooms will be considered as an illustrative case affecting young adults. Rather than avoidance and consolidation of negative metacognitions about lack of control and vulnerability one needs to convey how science suggests that exposure or interventions to change perceptions of vulnerability may be more beneficial.

Keywords:   child development, self-awareness, risk control, public safety, trigger warning, vulnerability

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