British parents are so afraid to let their kids go outside that children are being "raised in captivity", says a leading academic.
According to Professor Tanya Byron, adults are afraid of young people in Britain’s risk-averse society. The clinical psychologist and television presenter was commissioned by UK leader Gordon Brown to investigate the harmful effects of video games and websites.
Tanya, however, added that keeping children safe by cooping them up indoors could backfire, because they are likely to turn to the internet where they face greater danger from cyber-bullying or sexual predators.
Speaking at the annual forum of the Teenage Magazine Arbitration Panel, the industry body that regulates sexual content in publications for young people, Professor Byron disclosed that she believes that Britain is suffering from ephebiphobia – the fear of young people.
Professor Byron, who is now the Chancellor of Edge Hill University, conceded that the way in which society now tries to control kids’ behaviour could have particularly counter-productive consequences.
"My argument is that we live in a risk-averse culture and we are afraid of young people. We don’t listen to them and we do everything to stop them being who they are," The Telegraph quoted her, as saying. "It comes from a risk-averse culture which is afraid of youth because youth is about taking risks. If we don’t change that, it’s a disaster."
"A lot of young people are raised in captivity. You used to come home and be allowed out, but most young people now stay at home. If you can’t go outside, where are you going to take your risks? In an attempt to make kids safer, we’re putting them in a place where they’re more at risk," she added.