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NEWS RELEASE - Youth panel speak out about overprotection and safe play

Thursday, February 18, 2016

KINGSTON - A panel of young people recently completed a documentary called Child Health 2.0: Overprotection and Safe Risk under the supervision of Queen’s University researchers Colleen Davison, and Will Pickett (Public Health Sciences) and Valerie Michaelson (School of Religion). The group has one simple message, let them play, let them be kids.

The video grew out of Child Health 2.0, a research program that brings together researchers, practitioners, children and their families from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds. The aim of the work is to support child health.

The youth advisory committee works with the research team to provide input and advice on the activities of the project and on the research questions the team is studying. The documentary was one of the projects the team worked on in 2015.

“First we asked the group to brainstorm together to come up with what thought were the most important health issues facing young people today,” explains Dr. Michaelson. “They had a lot of great ideas, but the one they decided to work with was overprotection.”

The group started off discussing a number of issues facing young people including not being able to fail a test, not being allowed balls on the playground, not keeping score in soccer and banning tobogganing. They questioned the rules that were supposed to keep them safe. The idea morphed into a short, documentary video exploring overprotection, risks and safe play.

“We all want to keep our kids safe but one of the themes that emerged throughout this project is that youth are concerned about certain rules and that their parents – and society – are sometimes trying too hard to keep them safe,” says Dr. Michaelson. “They want to be able to explore, be free without the fear of getting hurt or failing.  And they also recognized that sometimes falling down, or losing a game, or doing something that stretches you even though it has risks is part of how you grow strong.”

The video will be shown for the first time at the Tett Centre Sunday, Feb. 21 during a research showcase starting at 2:30 pm. The public and media are welcome to attend.

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Anne Craig, Media Relations Officer

613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca

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