Mariana Brussoni photo/contributed

Speaker at Okanagan College questions if children are too safe

Dr. Mariana Brussoni warns that childhood is changing

Childhood is changing, but what will that do for confidence and resilience in adults?

Dr. Mariana Brussoni, an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, will address the questions of risk and safety in childhoods as part of the Okanagan College Vernon Campus’ Signature Speaker Series.

Rethinking Risk: Are children too safe for their own good? will take place on Wednesday, March 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the lecture theatre of the Vernon campus.

“It used to be normal for children to spend long hours outdoors and away from watchful adults, playing how and where they chose. Today’s children spend more time indoors, supervised, in structured activities and in front of screens,” says Brussoni. “Many parents struggle to find a balance between bubble wrapping their kids and not protecting them enough. Fears of strangers, traffic and social services can overwhelm parents, making it hard for them to let go.”

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Brussoni says research is mounting on the importance of giving kids more opportunities for risky play, considered thrilling and exciting play that includes children testing boundaries and flirting with uncertainty. This can include climbing trees, building forts, playing capture the flag and roaming the neighbourhood with friends.

This kind of play is associated with positive health, development and well-being in children, including increased physical activity, social skills, risk management skills, resilience and self-confidence. Brussoni’s interactive presentation will explore the evidence regarding changing childhoods, as well as strategies to restore balance.

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In addition to teaching at UBC, Brussoni also serves as an investigator with the British Columbia Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the British Columbia Injury Research and Prevention Unit.

Presented by Okanagan College, the Signature Speaker Series is sponsored by the Vernon Atrium Hotel and Conference Centre and Basket Case Picnics Catering. Admission is $10. Participants can register in advance online – www.okanagan.bc.ca/SignatureSpeakers – or pay at the door.

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