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What stops children playing in the streets?

by Fiona on April 01, 2015

01 April 2015 I Ch 4 News

Ukip leader Nigel Farage says he wants to return to a time when children played football in the streets. But what is stopping them playing there now?

Speaking on Tuesday about his plans to limit immigration, Mr Farage said "I want to live in a community where our kids play football in the streets of an evening and live in a society that is at ease with itself."

But what is stopping children playing outside now?

Mumsnet CEO Justine Roberts told Channel 4 News: "It's a great shame that mums are anxious about outdoor play to the point of keeping their kids in front of the TV, but it's also easy to become misty-eyed about a Hovis advert past, when tiny children were able to roll tins down cobbled streets all day. Truth is, the biggest fear on Mumsnet is about road accidents, and that's an understandable concern."

This is a view echoed by the charity London Play, which aims to get more children playing outside in the capital. It helps residents to establish what are known as play streets, where the council gives permission for a weekly or monthly closure of the road to allow children to play, typically for a couple of hours after school or at the weekend. In the 1950s there were some 700 play streets across England. Now there are around 150.

Fiona Sutherland of London Play told Channel 4 News that the main reason parents do not let children play in the street is traffic. The next most important factor is "exaggerated perceptions of stranger danger - and the fact that there aren't other kids on the street makes that more of a problem."

For more on this story go to Channel 4 News


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