Playful Childhoods’ new campaign, ‘When I was your age’, aims to challenge misconceptions around teenage behaviour in public spaces. The campaign is encouraging us all – parents and other adults in the community – to be more tolerant of teenagers in shared spaces.
It aims to remind adults of the similarities between generations, because as it turns out, we’re not so different after all…
While playing, or ‘hanging out’, might look different today thanks to the introduction of technology and changing social habits, the campaign is designed to inspire nostalgia around how adults played when they were teens and encourage them to share their memories of play from their teenage years.
Reports show that today’s teens are more sensible than previous generations, and yet the majority of teenagers feel like they are unfairly represented in the media. Mental health conditions amongst teenagers are also on the increase – particularly during the pandemic – so, it is more important than ever that young people can play and socialise in their communities with their friends.
Keith Towler, Play Wales Trustee said:
‘When we see teenagers and young people out and about playing and having fun, it is a sign of a healthy community. When I was the Children’s Commissioner it saddened me when young people said that very often adults did not want them to be outside. That they were accused of being anti-social when all they were doing was playing or meeting up outside in the local park. It is true of course that when teenagers are playing, they may be a little boisterous, but it is so important that communities across Wales allow young people to play in our public spaces.’
Marianne Mannello, Play Wales’ Assistant Director, added:
‘Teenagers have a desire for social interaction, to be with friends and part of a crowd and this is a strong motivator for their use of places like streets, towns, villages and shopping centres. Feeling connected and part of these everyday environments has a huge effect on teenager’s sense of belonging, levels of self-esteem and their social and emotional wellbeing. Adults can help by advocating for teenager’s right to play. By remembering our own teenage years, we can better understand and be more tolerant of teenagers’ playful behaviour.’
Why not get involved and share your memories of play from your teenage years on social media, using the hashtag #WhenIWasYourAge.
By engaging with and contributing to the campaign, you can help us reach more people and share our messages with teenagers and adults across Wales. If your organisation or setting would like to get involved in spreading the word about the campaign, please get in touch.