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According to an increasing body of research, the most important barrier in today's parenting is that children are not encouraged to go out of their way and experiment with their surroundings. Notably, one of the primary motivators for parents to keep their children indoors is the threat of kidnapping (Riddall-Leech). Society is increasingly transforming, and the effect on parenting is palpable. Indeed, many American parents base their discipline on the child's moral indignation and portray it as the only thing affecting child growth (Susanne Posel Investigative Headline News). Farrant et al. argue that in the 1990s children were allowed to play outside with their friends, ride bicycles and walk on the streets and no one watched them. However, in today's society, this depicts to have gone a profound transformation. While in the past children enjoyed much freedom, currently, parenting has drastically changed, and parents force their children to stay indoors and thus raising them under harsh conditions under rules that deny them their freedom. As such, parents have to understand the importance of giving their children freedom of playing outside and limit excessive control of their lives.
The social media depicts to be a profound impediment to socialization in children. When parents force their children to stay indoors, they tend to turn to social media as a way of socialization. A child who grew in the 90s would attest to the importance of allowing children to play outside. Many of them would spend hours exploring places and meeting new friends. Currently, kids are brought up in the anti-social environments and turn to social media and a way of socialization. Certainly, this prevents the many youths from developing their interpersonal relationship skills. The use of the social media has weakened the bonds of face-face interaction and made people loose virtual reality with themselves. The attention that is directed to the social media by persons has seen individuals pay little attention to themselves and the people around them. Suggate et al. mention that the current parenting that makes youths direct their attention to social media raises a societal alarm and asserts that this will culminate into fundamental problems. The social media has made teenagers develop challenges with their realities. Suggate et al. go further to elucidate that the world is witnessing the detrimental impacts of social media through the continued cases of poor interpersonal and socialization skills reported in many youths.
Outdoor activities are necessary as they help in the development of cognitive, social, physical and emotional skills. According to Foorman and Dombek, the experiences encountered while playing outside develop the motor skills as well as offering sensory stimulation to the brain and thus improving the child's cognitive level (Foorman and Dombek). Playing with others outside is an essential factor in modeling the child's development and particularly those between three and ten years. It shapes the environmental identity of children and guides the coordinating activities. Undoubtedly, this gives the child a chance of enhancing his or her skills in making viable decisions in life. Children's Campus asserts that "Young children are egocentric by nature, having them interact with other children in a face to face setting helps your child naturally come out of that phase" (Children Campus). According to Kendrick et al. "Sharing, setting boundaries, and problem-solving all come from socializing and interacting" (Kendrick et al.). This makes the child be less egocentric and comes to understand that sharing is vital in life and thus develop the social skills. In fact, the child develops skills on how to solve and cope with conflicts in life when he or she engages in outside play with friends. Notably, freedom to children helps in fostering an opportunity to develop special connections, creativity, and emotional growth. For this reason, every parent should know that a child's freedom does not only improve the motor skills but also impact on the overall health.
Granting children the autonomy to socialize with others outside enables them to learn on how to empathize with other people. Children get to recognize when their friends are sad, mad or happy. Eventually, kid's pick up those skills permanently and start applying them at home on siblings, parents or even pets. Furthermore, social freedom will help children learn about discipline and the way to deal with the consequences of their behavior. Riddall-Leech says that as children develop and learn social norms, they recognize what behaviors or reactions are tolerated and which ones to avoid (Riddall-Leech). The excessive exercise and vigorous activities that children engage in is beneficial for physical growth and shape them to become strong and healthy. It also inhibits a child from becoming obese, and the child gets to take in vitamin D as they get exposed to the sun.
Additionally, early age socialization develops a sense of confidence that they carry over into their adulthood. Undeniably, people that have confidence handle stressful situations much better than those without. For example, during a job interview, confidence is usually one of the key factors employers look for in a worker. Trends in the job market show that many employers have many applications for any job opening. Arguably, having self-confidence enables a person to have the ability to sell his or her skills and convince the interviewer that he or she is the best and should be hired. Additionally, self-confidence also helps with maintaining healthy relationships in a person's life. When a person has self-esteem, they are more likely to put themselves out there to meet new people. One of the biggest fears people have when they are introduced to someone new is the fear of judgment, and the best way to overcome that fear is by believing in yourself. Moreover, there are also other skills that are acquired from being given a sense of independence at an adolescent age. According to learningrx, children ages 11 and older "are able to use logic to solve problems, view the world around them, and plan for the future". Children that nourish these cognitive functions at an early age sharpen those abilities and are able to utilize them better later throughout life. For example, a child that doesn't have very much social freedom and spends most of his or her time around their parents doesn't learn how to handle or solve problems that may arise in a diverse environment.
Moreover, Farrant et al. designate outside play aids in the development of the cognitive level. They stipulate that "to learn about child development is to learn about cognitive flexibility." Certainly, children acquire knowledge outside their houses and change their reasoning capacities through engaging in vigorous activities (Farrant et al.). Children show intense reactions to external stimuli when playing. A child is able to aggressively explore the surrounding environment, and thus shaping their knowledge and critical thinking. Similarly, the intelligence level enhances and impacts on the cognitive development. Primarily, the child learns ways of cultivating concentration while playing and thus influencing the cognitive growth. . For example, when I was a kid one of my favorite things to do was to ride my bike through this car dealership that was up the street from my house. I had a huge fascination for cars and I would often try and see if one of the car doors was left open so I could sit inside and imagine I was driving the car. I started practicing pretending that I was driving it, and this aided my cognitive level as well as increased my confidence with cars.
The importance of providing children with the freedom to play outside cannot be overstated. Outdoor play is critical in the developmental process of a child, including emotional, cognitive, social, and physical. The child learns to handle complex issues in life and develops amicable solutions to pressing matters. However, today's parents do not understand the benefits of giving children independence. Societal norms have put much pressure on parents and forced them to believe that the outdoors are unsafe for their children. Evidently, the only way kids will learn how to deal with society, and its many problems are by making mistakes and learning to acknowledge those mistakes. Also, any form of unwanted behavior in a child such as being self-centered, quarreling, and bullying is identified and tamed in the child. Thus, parents should grant their children the freedom to play outside and socialize with their friends if they wish to develop them in all spheres of life correctly.
Farrant, B., Fletcher, J., & Maybery, M. Cognitive Flexibility, Theory of Mind, and Hyperactivity/Inattention. Child Development Research, 2014, 1-10. 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/741543
Foorman, B., Dombek, J., & Smith, K. Seven Elements Important to Successful Implementation of Early Literacy Intervention. New Directions For Child And Adolescent Development, 2016(154), 49-65. 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cad.20178
Kendrick, A., Hernandez-Reif, M., Hudson, C., Jeon, H., & Horton, C. Coding group behaviours for preschool children in the playground and the effects of teachers’ proximity on preschool children’s playground behaviours. Early Child Development And Care, 182(6), 665-682. 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2011.569544
Riddall-Leech, S. Personal, social and emotional development. Child Care, 6(5). 2009. http://dx.doi.org/10.12968/chca.2009.6.5.41801
Suggate, S., Stoeger, H., & Pufke, E. Relations between playing activities and fine motor development. Early Child Development And Care, 187(8), 1297-1310. 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2016.1167047
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