Outside danger: children's independent mobility and perceptions of risk in the lived environment

Pugh, P.A., 2000. Outside danger: children's independent mobility and perceptions of risk in the lived environment. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This thesis is a study of the relationship between young children and their environment, focusing on the impacts of containment of children in the home and the perceived need for constant supervision when they are outside. The fieldwork prioritises children's voices through focus group discussion, underpinned by questionnaires and discussions with parents. It shows that most children aged 9-11 lead lives which are highly controlled. Children in middle class suburbs enjoy the least freedom, children in rural environments have localised independence but rarely venture beyond the village borders, whilst in working class suburbs and the inner city more children of this age demonstrate some independence. Traditional gender differences are narrowing but girls show a different pattern of home range mobility to boys, travelling to and from destinations directly, whilst boys are more likely to roam within a negotiated area.

Of the most commonly identified fears, fear of strangers is ranked higher than that of traffic despite the probability of death and injury through a traffic accident being greater. The 'stranger danger' discourse is shown to be the construct of multiple other hegemonic structures; law and order, the family, sexuality and childhood. These have contributed to a moral panic which has demonised a variety of groups including paedophiles, parents and some groups of children.

The attitudes of parents and children to the perceived danger is considered. This shows that parents are inclined to give their children greater freedom in environments which they perceive to be safer, particularly the 'utopian' holiday environment which suggests that social pressures on parenting influence the restriction on children at home. The children's stories suggest that the fears they articulate initially are not always representative of their lived experiences. Most consider themselves competent to cope with traffic and few have experience of any real threat from a stranger - although they demonstrate that they have devised numerous strategies to deal with such an occurrence. The greatest impact on their day to day lives comes from older children who can intimidate or bully them and may exclude them fi-om spaces within their home range.

Increased containment is shown to be detrimental to young children's development and the thesis considers a variety of strategies which might be implemented to improve their experience of life.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Pugh, P.A.
Date: 2000
ISBN: 9781369315783
Divisions: Professional Services > Libraries and Learning Resources
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 22 Sep 2020 09:46
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2023 10:35
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/40869

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