Were you into skateboarding, surfing or snowboarding when you were a kid?
We can remember our first (less than successful) go at skateboarding, as well as the first time we managed to stand up on one of those enormous foam surfboards.
Children underestimate risk and their parents can’t always be trusted to keep them in check
It was so much fun that we were hooked for life. However, not everyone thinks that introducing children to extreme sports is a good idea.
Just check out this article from New York Times writer Jon Lackman.
In the article, Lackman considers whether sports like snowboarding, climbing and skateboarding could be dangerous to the growing bodies of young children and looks for advice from medical professions.
“Kids aren’t mentally ready for these activities,” says professor of orthopaedics, Vani Sabesan. “They tend to underestimate risk, and their parents can’t always be trusted to keep them in check.”
Sabesan is particularly worried about the effects of extreme sports on TV and the internet on children.
“What we’re seeing is a lot of kids thinking maybe they can do what these professional athletes can do.”
As someone who was encouraged to give bodyboarding a go by the age of five and then presented with a surfboard aged seven, I think these worries are a little overstated, if not misplaced.
Extreme sports can be dangerous, yes, but there’s as much chance of falling off your bike or your rollerskates as off a skateboard or surfboard.
My own experience of extreme sports leads me to think that I’ll allow my own kids to try them in the same way my parents allowed me.
In sports such as surfing and snowboarding, there’s a sense of adventure and courage that is important to instil in young children.
Did I fall of my surfboard? All the time. Did I get back on? Every time.
What do you think?
Are the more extreme sports too dangerous for younger kids and better saved for tweens and teenagers?
Are extreme sports a great experience for all children to have and a great way to make the most out of your childhood?
The jury is very much still out, so let us know what your thoughts are!