Bear Grylls is right: health and safety culture is ruining childhood

The Telegraph 11 February 2015
Now Mr Grylls is at it again. This week he has announced a “manifesto for children”, demanding that parents ban all computer games and encourage their kids to take more risks in the outdoors. Troubled teenagers, he said, should be forced to climb mountains, and mandatory community service should be introduced.

Could this possibly be timed to publicise the new Bear Grylls ITV series (which starts at 9pm on Friday)? It. Surely. Could.

But as irritating as it is to watch Grylls harnessing good ideas for his own commercial gain, there is no denying that these are some very good ideas indeed.

Professional guidance on “screentime” have been available for years, and for years most parents have simply ignored them.

The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP), the most authoritative body to release such recommendations, has said that children under the age of two should be kept away from screens altogether, and that older children should be limited to a maximum of two hours a day.

Numerous studies have shown that to flaunt these guidelines is to place your child at risk of impaired brain development, attention difficulties, depression and anxiety, poor academic performance, behavioural problems, sleep loss and obesity.