‘Bullying is exaggerated and children are being mollycoddled’ says top childhood expert

Daily Mail (UK) 28th October 2007
A generation of children is missing out on social skills because minor playground spats are being branded “bullying”, an expert claimed today(MON). Tim Gill declared that youngsters must learn to cope with teasing and name-calling to help them handle awkward situations as adults. According to the former Government adviser, the extent of bullying is being exaggerated by over-protective parents and teachers who apply the label to childhood squabbles and pranks previously assumed to be part of growing up. The claims in a book being published today are certain to fuel concerns over the escalation of a bullying “industry”.

Police officers warned this year that a target-chasing culture is forcing them to make “easy” arrests – including for incidents of bullying at school. In one example, a child in Kent was arrested for throwing a slice of cucumber from a tuna sandwich at another youngster. Latest Government guidance to schools urges heads to record all instances of bullying, broken down by type, and report the findings to their local council. In his book, Mr Gill warns against mollycoddling children by describing everyday teasing and bickering as bullying. He claims it is part of a wider trend for children to be “bubble-wrapped” and denied opportunities to develop skills they can draw on in later life…..Mr Gill’s book, No Fear: Growing Up in a Risk-averse Society, goes on to warn that children now the risk of being branded anti-social for playing football in the street, playing hopscotch or climbing trees. “This is being labelled as anti-social behaviour and police or neighbourhood wardens are clamping down,” he said.


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