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Indoors or outdoors? Which holds the more danger?

Could YOUR child climb a tree?
Many, we contend, would have no idea how, while others, it’s fair to say, would have little or no inclination.
Give them an Xbox (or something similar) and it’d be a different matter . . .
That children have, in general terms, become so detached from the great outdoors is something that should concern us all.
This is something that came to mind a little earlier this morning upon reading a report that suggests that one in four children believe that playing a computer game counts as exercise.
The report in question (this based upon findings from the Youth Sport Trust) goes on to describe children and teenagers as being ‘hostages to their handheld devices’.
Phones, tablets, laptops and the like, this is far from a controversial assertion . . .
‘Devoted to technology, disengaged from physical activity,’ the picture being painted is an all-too familiar one. Young people reliant on their gadgets both to form and conduct relationships, the social disconnection that so often breeds isolation ties into a far larger debate. To us, society’s general aversion to risk sums it all up.
Back to that tree for a moment . . .
Should the child in question be able, should the child in question be interested, would parental permission be granted?
Climbing trees can be dangerous, for sure. Yet this has always been so and besides, it could be argued that far greater dangers exist elsewhere, not least behind closed doors and in bedrooms, where – thanks to the internet – there is no longer such a thing as sanctuary.
Young people mustn’t be allowed to live their lives indoors. To grow, to mature and indeed to survive, experiences are all-important.
Some – that tree again – might present certain dangers, but experience suggests that those unable to find excitement and adventure in socially-acceptable forms tend to take it in a manner less palatable. This is something that, writing in The Telegraph in recent days, Nicholas Gair, a trustee at the Outward Bound Trust, a prominent educational charity, has highlighted in no uncertain terms.
In his claims that, as a general rule, risk and adventure have been removed from the classroom, Mr Gair touches upon a far wider point . . .
That, as a society, we’ve become far too risk averse. That children have become overprotected. That the dangers faced have been overdramatised. That, in removing the opportunities for first-hand experiences, we’ve also removed interest and excitement . . .
From lessons. From lives.
That as their lives become ever-more sedentary, young people are growing less and less engaged stands to reason. Excitement, adventure and, yes, a little risk. It tends to make all the difference.
Now, with the summer holidays approaching, is the perfect time to start thinking about such things, so let us ask one more time . . .
Could YOUR child climb a tree?

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