ITV's Planet Child showed how parents can keep their kids safe, without smothering them. Plus Ghosts tickles the funnybone and tugs at the heartstrings
The Daily Star came under fire this week, after a front page from December branding primary school children as snowflakes for attending mindfulness lessons went viral on social media.
And it’s not the only bad press that ‘kids today’ seem to get. They’re always on electronic devices. They never play outside. They can’t do anything for themselves.
All of which, judging by Planet Child (ITV, Wednesdays, 9pm) is utter baloney.
A documentary contrasting kids growing up in the UK with contemporaries across the world, this week’s episode tasked a group of kids aged seven and under to get from London’s Imperial War Museum to the London Eye – on their own.
Now before you get all child protection, they were tracked by cameras, and chaperones went undercover at all times, so they were never totally alone, but as far as the kids were concerned, they were out in the big bad world with no adults to tell them what to do.
Left to their own devices, they didn’t retreat into their shells, or collapse in a sobbing heap, they just looked at their maps, wandered about a bit, went for a play in the park and then got on a bus.
They had no concept of time, but that would come as no surprise to parents who struggle to get their kids out of the door to school every morning.
But they coped with the roads, the signs, the adults, with smiles and skips and level-headed common sense.
Which, of course, raised the question of what, as parents, we are so afraid of?
Well, the cars, obviously. The people, especially. But as our hosts, twin doctors Chris and Xand van Tulleken said, we have to keep our kids “as safe as necessary, not as safe as possible”.
So rather than blaming the snowflake kids, let’s loosen the reins a little, and let our children breathe.
Ambulance (BBC1, Thursdays, 9pm) showed how the UK’s paramedics could teach doctors a thing or two about bedside manner, and left you full of admiration at how they cope with it all.
Ghosts (BBC1, Mondays, 9.30pm) gets better. This week’s episode, in which Jim Howick’s death-by-archery Scout master took centre stage, was also an arrow to the heart.