A guide to keep your children healthy and safe.
Obesity, the epidemic is infiltrating countries and cultures all around, with more momentum every day. It is time to bring it to a halt. In Western culture the changes in technology, accessibility and perception has a firm grip on lifestyle. Changing it not for the better, but taking away health and mobility from younger generations, predominantly with the idea of the ‘dangerous world’ and that ideas damage on children’s physical exercise and activity. Ultimately, a young child’s health and lifestyle is managed by their parents. Recently, in the last two decades, media have reported heavily on the dangerous crimes and events that are happening ‘in the streets’, little do these parents pay much attention to the fact that these instances are usually crime or drug affiliated, not random acts of violence.
This negative perception of the suburban and city areas creates a very melancholy view of the outside world. This has led many children to being overprotected, isolated indoors and being addicts to social media, video games and television. The young generation is suffering heavily from perpetual boredom, an inability to exert their energy and to express themselves. The technology literally handed to Australian children by the Federal government in forms of ipads and laptops has given the kids an outlet, social networking. This has seen a drop in children being able to hold conversation, socialise with each other without a technological catalyst and most disapointing is a drop in physical activity, team sports and ‘mucking around’ with friends in local areas.
This initiative for change focuses not on the individuals, but the avenues in which they can choose for themselves to change, with the approval and appropriate safety that is needed. Firstly, a change of perception needs to take place in regards to suburban and city areas, to promote safety. Crime is a problem-everywhere, there are no safe suburbs, there are no unsafe suburbs. However, with the help of government and television and radio media working co-operatively faith can be restored into the safety of parks, playgrounds and streets.
Step 1: Parks, playgrounds and patrols.
As councils are taxpayer funded, it is their duty and interest to meet the demands that will be listed. These ideas are plausible, but only if the change is desired by a mass. Your local council will have contracted security agencies that patrol council buildings and areas of interest, like statues, gardens etc. Using these agencies, create a patrol that surveys local parks during after school times heavily, and infrequently during the day and on weekends. In heavily family residing suburbs, local councils could use this pitch and be very successful over a few pothole repairs in gaining votes and securing their position. Not only will this bring ease to parents, but allow for a community to evolve at local parks amongst children and parents. This does take place, but not as much as it should. This particular step aims for a safe arena for children to exercise, express themselves with friends and socialise all while injecting their minds with a positive and safe outlook on their local area, instead of staying indoors and having an unsure idea of the outside world.
Step 2: Police presence, grey guardians.
Similarly to the above step, it involves a 3rd party that is taxpayer funded, a service to YOU and your area. Although any presence, whether parents or contracted security workers would create a much more safer communal park, oval, playground, police presence is the height of scaring off trouble seekers. If steps 2 & 3 are carried out on a routine basis of presence in these ‘safe areas’ police should not need to be heavy, but more to restore that idea of security into parents minds. Offering local elderly retirees short watch positions would also be an excellent way to keep old and young interactions for the younger generations benefit, as well as the elderly community growing closer while possibly being offered short CPR and first aid courses. The infrastructure erected in the following step will house an emergency phone, in case anything were to happen.
Step 3: infrastructure and identifiability
Shelters of similar and practical design are to be erected in prescribed safe parks, housing emergency phones, and showing a state wide sign that will be designed to allow children to identify there whereabouts quickly and effectively. This idea is based on a childes unfamiliarity with street intersections and park, reserves or oval names. It’s based on a short series of numbers that is identifiable by emergency services and if called off the red emergency phone provided in the safe area’s shelter, the location is already known through computer systems that link that number to a location. Step 3 aims to be seen as a failsafe, and advertised as a physical health and wellbeing emergency hotline, rather than crime affiliated. One CCTV camera should be present on each emergency shelter, to promote and sense of watchfulness to parents, a sense of protection to children and a chance for in the case that anything is to go wrong, these events can be further protected and learnt from by councils and communities.
Step 4: Melancholy media
Media, particularly news and current affair programs must become more accountable and truthful in projecting a positive image of public areas. This can be achieved by boldly stating that many events and occurrences are crime, drug and family related, instead of painting many crimes as random acts of violence. Also, the Government of the respective state, or local council should advertise to children and parents community events, held in the safe areas. As well as promote the idea of getting to know the ‘grey guardians’ and the other parents that frequent the park.
This action plan is simple, plausible and extremely beneficial for the families with children and retirees that come together to create community areas that thrive and get kids active from a young age, which will help them to stay fit, stay healthy and start the backlash to the epidemic their parents and grandparents are statistically, most likely suffering, obesity.
Get your children out of the house and active, it’s the best thing for them.