Rethinking Childhood

Tim Gill - Rethinking Childhood

Tim Gill, a leading philosopher on childhood in the United Kingdom, launched the blog Rethinking Childhood in order to reach more people and engage more people in a conversation concerning “the changing nature of childhood.”1 As an author, speaker, consultant, and researcher, Tim believes that children have the potential to be “resilient, responsible, capable and creative” if they are allowed to “take risks, make mistakes, have everyday adventures and test themselves and their boundaries.”2

Tim founded Rethinking Childhood in July 2011 because it was “simply the most effective way of sharing my work and engaging with others in the connected, digital world that so many of us now live in.”3 After 20 months of regular blogging, Tim noted in April 2013 that his top 4 posts had received from 5,862 to 14,571 page views – all of which were more views than the 5,000 copies of his book, No Fear: Growing Up in a Risk Averse Society, which had been sold by that time.

Tim also noted that two of the top five posts viewed were also the top two posts for reader's comments, and thus were examples of reaching a wider audience and beginning dialogues. Topics about risk and outdoor play have held the most interest.

Another point of significance to Tim that is illustrated in his analysis of his first 100 blogs is the “importance of sound evidence.” He believes that “it's so easy to slip into armchair nostalgia, lazy generalizations and dodgy assumptions when thinking about childhood and how it has changed. But if the debate about children's everyday lives is to step outside the bar-room – as it must – then it has to square up to the facts.”4

Rethinking Childhood postings are searchable by topic; categories such as urbanism, education, child development, and public policy; or by content tags. A sampling of post topics include: “Fighting cuts to play services: information is power;” “Seven principles of playground design;” “News Consumption Disorder: symptoms, diagnosis, and cure;” “Are child-friendly city approaches being used to push out poor families?;” and “The wobbly bridge, or why it is harder to manage risk in playgrounds than factories.”5

By utilizing Rethinking Childhood as another communicative tool, Tim continues to advocate for “a new philosophy: one that truly embraces risk, uncertainty and real challenge – even real danger – as essential ingredients of a rounded childhood.”6

  • 1. “About Rethinking Childhood.” Rethinking Childhood. < http://rethinkingchildhood.com/ > 5 May 2013.
  • 2. “About Tm.” Rethinking Childhood. < http://rethinkingchildhood.com/about/ > 23 Jan. 2013.
  • 3. Gill, Tim. “A century of rethinking childhood.” Rethinking Childhood. April 8, 2013. < http://rethinkingchildhood.com/2013/04/08/century-rethinking-childhood-website-blog/ > 17 May 2013.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Op.cit., “About Rethinking Childhood.”
  • 6. Gill, Tim. “3 things HSE must do to end the zero risk childhood.” Rethinking Childhood. July 15, 2011. < http://rethinkingchildhood.com/2011/07/15/hse-zero-risk-childhood/ > 17 May 2013.