How Kids Find Freedom In A Cotton Wool Environment…

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How Kids Find Freedom In A Cotton Wool Environment…

One of the major changes in how children play these days versus times gone by is the level – or lack of – physical freedom.

The older generation regale us with stories of how they didn’t have to lock their doors in times gone by, or how they played freely in the streets around where they lived until they wanted to return home.

That just isn’t an option for today’s children.

For perfectly valid reasons, parents today usually control the whereabouts of children more or less constantly, meaning that the majority of children don’t often get the chance to run (physically) free without boundaries in the way that past generations did.

When we conduct research with children today, we find a huge amount of popularity for apps and virtual worlds offering open ended play – Minecraft is a very popular example of this…we’ve found this to be THE universally loved virtual experience for kids in recent research. One of the primary drivers for this, aside from the fact that these play patterns are fun is the need of children to be able to express themselves without adult hindrance and to enjoy a degree of freedom that is not so available to them in the physical world.

We also see that creative play patterns, e.g. Lego,  have soared in conjunction with this virtual freedom of expression. Going back 15 years or more, Lego was not the force it is today, in that it was seen as very worthy by parents, but as less exciting by children. Fast forward to today and the holy grail seems to have been achieved Рnamely kids and parents love Lego. This has to have been influenced at least partly by the increasing need of children for freedom of expression.

So the reality is that commercial opportunity lies in giving children opportunity for freedom of movement and freedom of expression, as they seek to push beyond the cotton wool that surrounds them!

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