Children’s playground in 1912
If it seems like today’s kids have gotten “softer” compared to the kids decades ago, perhaps it’s because playgrounds have gotten softer as well. Thanks to state laws and personal injury lawyers, the landscape of the typical playground has changed a lot over the years, making it a safer and more “educationally interactive” environment. On the other hand, maybe those rough-and-tumble recreation areas of yesteryear served as an early life lesson that the world was a harsh and unforgiving place.
According to a New York Times article, some researchers question the value of safety-first playgrounds. Even if children do suffer fewer physical injuries — and the evidence for that is debatable — the critics say that these playgrounds may stunt emotional development, leaving children with anxieties and fears that are ultimately worse than a broken bone. “Children need to encounter risks and overcome fears on the playground”, said Ellen Sandseter, a professor of psychology at Queen Maud University in Norway.