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- A study by Deakin University researchers has found Australian parents are the most risk-averse in the world.
- The study found four in five Australian parents limited their kids’ participation in “risky” activities.
- The study’s lead says it’s important for kids’ development to take risks at an early age.
Study lead and PhD student Alethea Jerebine, from Deakin’s School of Health and Social Development and the UK Coventry University’s Centre for Sport, said the results were “shocking”.
The Deakin University study found that 78 per cent of parents did not let their children partake in “risky behaviour” such as riding a bicycle fast or regularly climbing trees. Source: Getty / Andrey Moisseyev
“We found that kids whose parents were risk averse were less physically active and they played less adventurously,” she told SBS News.
Jerebine said that this concern that their children would get hurt resulted in less physical activity and outdoor play.
Risky play leads to ‘risk intelligence’
“You do something, you might make a mistake, you think, ‘I’m not going to do that again.’ And that’s the process of learning. And it’s incremental.”
As such, Fleer is critical of schools removing monkey bars or banning cartwheels, measures that have become increasingly popular.
How can parents encourage risky behaviour in a safe way?
“You want to give them things that they can climb that are in proportion to the height so when they fall, they’re not falling a long distance,” she said.
“Is there an instruction I can give them that will help them around … think about where you’re going to put your hand next.”