Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Children play key role in forging close communities

30.04.2007
Contrary to popular opinion, children play a key role in strengthening local communities and making people feel safe in their neighbourhoods, according to a study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Much panic today about childhood in urban areas is based on a very partial picture, argue the authors, Dr Susie Weller and Professor Irene Brugel, of the Families and Social Capital ESRC research group, London South Bank University.

Their report challenges previous theories that social networks are largely determined by parents. According to the evidence they found, children are active - both indirectly and directly – in forging neighbourly relationships and connections for their parents.

The findings are from a three-year study involving some 600 children and 80 parents in five contrasting areas - two inner London boroughs, an outer London suburb, a new town in the South East of England, and a city in the Midlands. During the study, the researchers examined children’s experiences of travelling to school and to a wide range of activities outside the home - from formal clubs to hanging out in the park.

They found that the more parents were involved in the lives of their neighbours, the more freedom they gave their children. At the same time, the more social networks children have in a neighbourhood, the greater parents’ confidence in the safety of that area.

Many parents questioned were often torn between wishing to protect their children and wanting them to be streetwise.

Dr Weller said: “On the one hand, children are frequently portrayed as vulnerable, incompetent, and in need of protection from the possible dangers of town and city streets. On the other, those allowed to go out and meet up in public areas are often regarded as intimidating and anti-social.”

However, many parents suggested that they had established more networks and friendships in the local area through their children than by any other means. This contact came via ante-natal classes, the nursery and the primary school, or through their children’s friends’ families.

Parents acknowledged that their children had much less freedom to roam or explore the neighbourhood than they enjoyed. They saw this as a problem, and would generally like the youngsters to be out and about more.

Said Dr Weller: “Whether the children were or not depended on a number of things. Very often it reflected a local school culture as well as parents’ and children’s experiences of trust and mistrust in an area. Parents whose children had been subject to racial harassment or bullying were particularly wary."

The research suggests that when parents allow their children to roam, their classmate’s parents draw from that confidence. This in turn impacts upon their classmates’ freedom of action.

The researchers also found local differences as to which children go out and about without adults, and these were not simply related to poverty, racial background or local levels of crime.

Children living outside London were much less likely to travel unaccompanied than those in the capital - and those who went to schools with high rates of poverty least of all. Even so, children at schools with similar levels of local poverty in Inner London travelled more than those living elsewhere.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Dr Susie Weller on 020 7815 5811, e-mail: wellers@lsbu.ac.uk
ESRC Press Office
Alexandra Saxon Tel: 01793 413032, e-mail: alexandra.saxon@esrc.ac.uk
Annika Howard Tel: 01793 413119, e-mail: annika.howard@esrc.ac.uk

Annika Howard | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk
http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Illinois researchers researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected
21.02.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht Polluted air may pollute our morality
08.02.2018 | Association for Psychological Science

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists re-create brain neurons to study obesity and personalize treatment

20.04.2018 | Health and Medicine

Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

20.04.2018 | Materials Sciences

Clear as mud: Desiccation cracks help reveal the shape of water on Mars

20.04.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>