Children, right? Children’s rights and the paradoxical fear of the vulnerable

“The concept of childhood is changed by altering the concept of the street. We now have a deficit model of childhood which sees children as essentially vulnerable in the public realm.”
SIMON SLEIGHT, HISTORIAN

How the kids of Melbourne fought for their playgrounds

via How the kids of Melbourne fought for their playgrounds – By Design – ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

 

No time to write the essay that I can feel brewing in response to this superb piece.

Quick points:

  • no mention of children’s rights, so these events are presented as quaint history rather than a call to action right now. Rights now!
  • Isn’t it odd that we oscillate between a fear of chaotic kids on the street, causing trouble, damaging our cars and gardens and houses and
  • “…a deficit model of childhood which sees children as essentially vulnerable in the public realm.”

In almost all the debates about children, politically looming menace or poor little mites, this point is missed: children have rights, enshrined in the UN Charter, Article 31. (Google it.) We keep laying responsibilities on them, but never rights.

Let’s have a discussion about the rights and responsibilities of all humans in our public realm. Not just the rights of car drivers to drive too fast down my street.

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