Tuesday, 13 May 2014

We have a problem but how do we fix it?

THIS CONTAINS SWEARS - Oh and apologies for the warbling in places. my blogobrain has kicked in!

It's annoying living in a town, yes it's more convenient in some respects with shops nearby and many places accessible for theJess but something in me misses the country life. I no doubt would cope miserably being there but still. Meh. How about the kids though, compare now to the 90's and for children these days it's a different world altogether.

For instance at age 7/8 I was going out to play around Kensworth, Whipsnade and Studam under supervision of my sister, no cellphones (we'd break it) and we'd have to walk sometimes 5-6 miles just to get placed we wanted to go and back. As long as we were home by dark all was good, and if not run home and tell our parents where we are and can they pick us up later and if things change we'll call from a friends house or the nearby farm.

We'd have free reign of the places we'd visit as long as we respected things and when we did play up the whole village knew before we'd even set off home, we usually discovered this by one of our parents driving out to find us and lobbing us all in the car to be torn a new one when we get back, say sorry and be let out again if we could get away with asking.

One of the Places we used to play in is a place known as Studham Dell, although strictly it's located on the merge point of Kensworth and Studham it was our little place we could do anything. Even light fires as we were trusted, if things were to go wrong we told people and got help.
Best part of the dell was how a huge group of us could play there for 12 hours straight have a right laugh and still come home and tell our parents what we did but more importantly we knew it would start all again tomorrow. Safe in the knowledge that everyone knew we were ok and knew what to do in trouble. Yes we were little shitbags at times but what children aren't!

We were classed by the posher people of studham (this place was literally moments away from a rich hamlet who hated kids having fun, so much so that they would chase us away from the footpath) as trouble makers. Our weapon of choice was to listen to music, yeah fair do's it was a mix of drum and bass and things like this but we were always respectful of others around us while making merry. Even the police left us alone!


Roll on to 2014 and we've got a generation of kids who are constantly seen as troublemakers thanks to the hoodie culture. Yes a fucking garment means you're judged guilty by association, similarly teenage kids today are trying to find their footing in a digital world where things change around you by the second, where the trend is not what you wear but what privacy leaking instant messaging Platform you're using and the swag you have! (Why swag yolo bollocks, why??????)

It really is a sad place to be in where the welfare of children is still uncertain thanks to the progression of technology and the amazing gift of being able to interact with anyone around the world. Yes the internet is amazing but how it's used now will no doubt change the way it's used in the future. With the creation of some of these services I won't lie it worries me that today's youth may be blissfully unaware of what dangers that may be lurking around them without realising it. The internet is changing at a breakneck pace and the boundaries that were pushed by the pioneers are now abused by some developers who see the youth as money and a wealth of free personal information to sell on!

And then there's the ever growing pressures on teens to be something special to their peers. As set by our lovely media, government and the schools. The schools are not completely to blame here but some of the things children are taught is set by how much money the government will give them based on the performance of the schools exam grades, one school has even cut study leave here to make sure they get the grades that'll ensure the get the best grades. Best not to worry about the stresses of the kids, despite three in every classroom having a diagnosed mental health issue. The kids are the reason you get the money. They should in my opinion be given more support to flourish in their exams to try and reduce the stress!

Then we have the getting out and doing things, for many their idea of going out is chatting on snapchat or playing games on Steam, which is really sad but at the same time reflects the way young people are tarred with the same brushes these days, don a hoodie and you're a thug. Try and help someone and they think you're up to no good they cannot win. Yes I understand there are some absolute little shitbags out there but the justification of placing all teens on one shelf annoys the hell out of me. Nobody did this to me and my friends when we were younger and we were in some cases down right nasty just like everyone can be at times I suppose.
Those who do go out as I mentioned are tarred so it's sad to see, hence many prefer to stay in groups or stay inside. Meaning many are not as active or imaginative as they could be, that is really sad to me.
I'm if we look deeper into it, the world will see it as a generation thing. But that is a double edged sword now. As the kids are ready to defend themselves and are taught to stand up for their rights while at the same time the judgement of the same kids happens when they try and defend their rights. In many cases by those who are scared of change and the good or bad it may bring. Any changes should not be at the expense of our youth. Kids today need more support in my eyes, the fact is many hidden talents are ignored due to the fact they are judged by appearance and what the mainstream media thinks of them. Hence if one pulls out the stops to show they can stand up and be counted it's a trivial news story! Ignoring the dozens of others who do good.

I wonder what we can do to change this as right now I'm unsure, in part due to concerns kids are not getting the ability to do things they can do or feel proud of. There are some projects willing to help kids and teens do things like the RockCorps where in exchange for free gig tickets they help out and see the effect on the community it has, depending on where they are held.
Then there are projects like the Houghton Regis Adventure Playground built upon the foundations of previous playground projects where the kids take charge and work together to get a place to be proud of and at the same time they will respect as they help develop it. Meaning they have somewhere safe away from prejudicial judging for being young. I'm sure this emphasis on communities working together was seen in a long closed project in Marsh farm, Luton (I have contacted the relevant people about this for confirmations)

Actually why can't we as a community look at creating a similar community based group as Marsh Farm have? It's relevant as it would help the community as a whole and no doubt would change the perception of many in the town, or even combine it as a group effort between Dunstable and Houghton Regis bring two communities together and collaborate with other community minded people and get into it.
Right that's it, I've got to drop some emails.


If you have any input or ideas on how to help support youth in the area please say so in the comments below and I'll include them if relevant.

Paul

16 comments:

  1. I remember those freedom days well - even before daytime TV! We played kirby from one side of the road to the other, just a few cars parked hundreds of yards (not metres!) apart. I miss for that my children and limit their stuff inside but peer pressure is very powerful. Nice rant ;)

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    1. Kirby! Such a fab game, we used to play that too! best one we used to play was DeathKirby. in a ring shaped one way system, we'd have to get the ball to the opposite roadside missing the 10 meters in the middle while people tried to stop it from happening. It hurt a lot but was fun! We need to try and bring some old values back while retaining some of the protection for the sake of kids i think.

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  2. It's great that you are trying to get wheels in motion to get something set up for the youth Paul. With the internet being so well used it feels like it's easier to miss whats on your own doorstep more than ever!

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    1. I won't lie a fab lady called Kirsty set the wheels in motion (I want her to take the credit for this as it's her baby so to speak. I so have to get her blogging) I've decided to join in and try and help where I can. If it helps the community as a whole I'll be a happy little lump!

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  3. I remember being out until dusk with all our neighbours and cycling around the streets and the woods. Children have far less freedom now, giving them somewhere to allow them to make their own decisions and be themselves would be fantastic

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    1. Meeting mates and going out on the bikes was a special type of awesome when younger, we used to do christmas day rides every year on the same route to laugh at the drunk drivers *i shudder at that now* but the freedom we had was fantastic. It may not have been a safe world back then but it's only become a world of cotton wool wrapping because the news outlets and internet showed the unsafe it all in it's ugly form.

      Children need to be given some freedom back. But seeing as the kids also seem to know it all these days we need to find a balance, albeit imperfect as all children are different.

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  4. It's funny having been a teacher for many years, I hear people moaning about the 'youth of today' and slagging off kids and it really annoys me as so many of the kids that I have taught have been lovely, pleasant and caring individuals. Yes there are those that don't behave and some that are less likeable but most aren't like that at all. You are right that engaging kids in projects like these are so important as they can't and don't have the freedom that we had when we were young and boredom will lead to trouble. We need to get these kids off the streets and their computer screens and out doing something constructive.

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    1. I was a youth worker around the time the news started the hoodie scares. the kids and saw the negative effect it had on youth. But in that instant dawned a dark time for kids. This current generation are pretty screwed in my opinions and need something constructive to help them become something amazing.

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  5. I remmber those heady free days too - my mum and dad let my brother (2 and half years older than me) look after me too...pretty sure it would be the other way around now! Well done for setting the wheels in motion to help :-D

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    1. I hope we can use discuss with Luton's Marsh Farm Outreach project on how to make this a success, for the community and by the community. If we can bring back the good old days back to the kids it'll hopefully make their lives better.

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  6. So great that you are trying to get something going Paul, well done. All too many people grumble about their area without ever trying to change it. I grew up on a tiny island in Scotland and spent most of my childhood having adventures outdoors, so when we lived in Herts a few years ago I was gutted that my son wouldn't have the same experiences growing up as I did. I feel so lucky that we've been given this chance to live in Tasmania now, where it feels a bit like Britain in the 60s and children are allowed to be children for a lot longer. Good luck with what you're doing! x

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  7. I love the idea of a community like this - it would be so good for everyone.

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  8. Nothing compares with life in the country! Try to get out and about with your children and maybe find a park or a forest nearby or even a farm?

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  9. Love a call to community action well done all of you

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    1. I've made a similar call to help tidy the graveyard my mother rests in too, communities are awesome when they come together!

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  10. Well, we have a community event diary here, but browsing through it I'm fast wondering if it isn't information overload! http://houghtonregis.blogspot.co.uk/p/poster-page.html

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