Book Review: Children These Days

Children These Days

Nicola Madge, The Policy Press

ISBN 1861347839, £17.99

Star Rating: 2/5

This book touches on important contemporary discussions – such as the notion that young people are both universally vulnerable and aspirant mini-adults denied their rights – only to get entangled by them, writes Dave Clements.

Unfortunately the author’s surveys of the literature on childhood, growing up and inter-generational relations are undermined by the survey of children’s and parents’ views around which it is ostensibly written. This is not a thought to utter in polite child-friendly circles but I was none the wiser for having read them.

It is, ironically for advocates of this sort of thing, naive and patronising to give children the last word on each and every issue.

The discovery that homework is unpopular, or that concerns over personal safety and the environment rate highly, rather suggests that any insights are far outweighed by the banal and the impressionable.

If we are to really understand children these days, we could do worse than trying to get to grips with what’s going on in the adult world first.

Dave Clements is a policy adviser to children’s social services and social policy editor at the Future Cities Project.

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