I don’t think all the children of today are getting a fair crack of the whip. I’m not talking
metaphorically about corporal punishment, but I think there is a large class of children who are suffering considerably as a result of the credit crunch. Some are the children of single parents, who will inevitably suffer irrespective of what class they are in, I was one, and I know the effects of having a working mother. There is no doubt, from the evidence that I have seen, that the children of today are a lot more sophisticated, and intelligent, than my generation and those that followed. However they do not seem to have the opportunities to enjoy the simple pleasures my generation had. I have said this before in another form, but I believe it is so urgent that repetition can be justified. Not long ago I was quoting an experience I had when several children got off the bus I was on, and immediately took out their mobile phones to talk to somebody, and it isn’t only children who find this need. Now they have introduced cheaper versions of the I pod, that so many children seem to have, and spend so much time at every opportunity, playing with it, and this is not the only the children. Those toys cost upwards of a £180 a year, and for some families this is a big deficit taken on, so the child will not feel disadvantaged, when other children all have one. Not only in the winter evening does one see blue lights in many of the bedroom windows, possibly indicating that children are sitting at computers, long into the night.
When we were young, and my children were young, we used our imaginations to build a world of our own when we played. I asked a young woman of my acquaintance, aged in her early 20s, whether she felt that young people were being sold short because there were not enough play areas. She replied that when she was young she lived near a forest, and they invented games there. I watch young people, and not so young, not so much playing, but running to keep fit, or training for a charity run, endlessly along the same dull roads. There is no visual stimulus, which one would have in a park, or a purposely made sports area. In the latter, the surface would be constructed so that it was more amenable for running, unlike the foot-paths which are a sure route to foot damage.
I get the impression that sport is no longer as important as it was in my day, or there are not the same number of sport teaches. It worries me that the youngsters today are more sedentary than we ever were. This is partly because of the increase in the number of vehicles per family, and the fact that parents are loathe to allow their children to walk unsupervised. It is an absurd situation, and should be remedied urgently. The fact that cities and towns are blocked with traffic because of the Mummy Run is part of the same problem. These young people have nothing like the freedom that we had, probably neither the safety, although I believe that to be overstressed. There is an element within this system which echoes the problems created by health and safety legislation – yet another case of the minority making unnecessary difficulties for the majority. I can not really believe that there is such a high level of criminality, and possibility of child abuse, at midmorning and mid afternoon, as to warrant this high level of supervision. I feel that it is the responsibility of the social services to carry out a nationwide survey of the number of children who are attacked or abused, categorized to give some idea of where the dangers lie, and to what extent they occur