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Gray, P. (2011) The decline of play and the rise of psychopathology in children and adolescents (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Over the past half century, in the United States and other developed nations, children’s free play with other children has declined sharply. Over the same period, anxiety, depression, suicide, feelings of helplessness, and narcissism have increased sharply in children, adolescents, and young adults. This article documents these historical changes and contends that the decline in play has contributed to the rise in the psychopathology of young people. Play functions as the major means by which children (1) develop intrinsic interests and competencies; (2) learn how to make decisions, solve problems, exert self-control, and follow rules; (3) learn to regulate their emotions; (4) make friends and learn to get along with others as equals; and (5) experience joy. Through all of these effects, play promotes mental health. Key words: anxiety; decline of play; depression; feelings of helplessness; free play; narcissism; psychopathology in children; suicide

Author/s:
Date:
January 2011
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
3
Page/s:
443–463
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Free play
  • Literature review
  • Mental health
  • Social-emotional
  • Well-being outcomes
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Hart, R. (2002) Containing children: some lessons on planning for play from New York City (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This paper relates the history of playground provision in New York to changing conceptions of childhood, and specifically to a felt need to ’contain’ children in order to keep them off the streets, safe from traffic and unsavoury influences - a trend that children have tended to resist. Playgrounds most often substitute a narrow range of physical activity for the spontaneous play in diverse environments that children more naturally crave. Not only do playgrounds fail to satisfy the complexity of children’s developmental needs, they also tend to separate children from the daily life of their communities - exposure to which is fundamental to the development of civil society. What is needed, argues the author, is not more segregated playgrounds, but a greater attempt to make neighbourhoods safe and welcoming for children, responding to their own preferences for free play close to home.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2002
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
14
Page/s:
135-148
Synonyms:
  • Free play
  • Literature review
  • Outdoor play
  • Physical play
  • Playground
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Jarvis, P. et al. (2014) On ‘becoming social’: the importance of collaborative free play in childhood (Journal Article)

Abstract:

There is increasing concern about declining mental health amongst children in the UK and the USA. Evolutionary and anthropological theorists have begun to build a theory linking this situation to decreasing opportunities to engage in free play. This paper will explore typical contexts for children in these nations, concluding that a range of recently emerging environments have decreased opportunities for collaborative peer free play and ‘discovery’ activities for the current generation. We will draw the theoretical analysis from a broad area of research encompassing psychology, anthropology, education, sociology, marketing, and philosophy to offer a new blend of practical and theoretical perspectives that may shed further light upon this topic.

Date:
January 2014
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
3
Page/s:
53-68
Synonyms:
  • Free play
  • Literature review
  • Mental health
  • Outdoor play
  • Peers play
  • Social play
  • Well-being outcomes
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Madej, K. (2016) Physical Play and Children’s Digital Games (Book)

Abstract:

Play engages humans cognitively, emotionally, and physically at all ages. Using a historical framework, and focusing on play as represented by material artifacts such as toys and games, this book explores play as a form of somatic engagement that reflects cultural attitudes about development and learning as these have evolved over time in western culture. Theorists in the twentieth century such as Klein and Winnicott, Huizinga and Callois, Piaget, Bruner and Vygotsy brought different perspectives to our understanding of play`s role in our society. In particular, Vygotsky`s theories about process provide insight into how children attend to learning and assimilate new information. The increasing use of digital media as both an entertainment and learning environment at ever-younger ages, is generating new discussions about the nature and value of play in children`s development, in particular, physical, or somatic play. The emphasis on games intended for children necessitates a discussion of the cognitive, behavioral, and neuroscience that supports play activities and physical engagement as a crucial aspect of development. The book then looks at the trajectory of digital games in contemporary culture and explores whether these artifacts (whether intended for learning or entertainment) have extended or are curtailing boundaries of somatic engagement. Finally, the book discusses alternative play and game design and, speculates on the future of new media play artifacts.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2016
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Cultural context
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Digital play
  • Games with rules
  • Learning
  • Physical play
Relevant age group/s: