25 Apr 19
The Scottish Sun
A NEW TV show will see a group of children let loose in London, with only a map to guide them across the city.
Planet Child, a three-part documentary series set to air on ITV next month, aims delve deep into the way children experience life across Britain and the world today.
New series Planet Child sees a group of children as young as four left to find their way across London alone
And in the first episode of social experiment a group of kids age four to seven the children are tested on just what they are capable of when left unchecked by parental supervision.
In episode one of twin doctors, Chris and Xand van Tulleken, challenge the group to can cross London without their parents, using London transport and take a trip on the London Eye.
Kieran, aged five, and five-year-old cousin Rita live on a farm in the Yorkshire Dales. Whilst they enjoy lots of freedom on the farm and the surrounding land, they have little experience of life outside Yorkshire.
Leo, seven, and his sisters Abi, five, and Harleigh, four, live with their mum, Claire, in Margate, Kent.
In episode one of twin doctors, Chris and Xand van Tulleken, challenge the group to can cross London without their parents, using London transport and take a trip on the London Eye
The girls tell the programme that they have never been more than a metre away from their mum by themselves.
Claire says: “It’s a bit worrying handing them over. I’ve never let them get a bus by themselves.”
Seven-year-old twins Judah and Darcee live with their parents Tim and Rebecca, and twin brothers in Sussex.
Ahead of their trip to London, Rebecca says: “There are times that I’m just not sure that they are savvy enough to push those boundaries themselves. So I need to put that boundary in place. I’ve got separation anxiety I think. It’s a really big deal, it’s London and they’re really little.”
Chris and Xand meet the children in a park in London and give each group a map and the instruction that they must find their way out of the park, via the souvenir shop, and to the correct bus stop, where they must catch the right bus to the London Eye where their parents are waiting.
Five-year-old Kieran has grown up in Yorkshire and had lived a rural lifestyle
Seven-year-old twins Judah and Darcee’s mum admits she had ‘separation anxiety’ during the experiment
The special buses are fitted with hidden cameras, and chaperones are around the park and onboard the buses to observe the children, with camera operators keeping a distance meaning that the children are otherwise on their own.
Chris says: “I think we are going into this experiment with a few different questions, specifically, what are children actually able to do? Can they complete this task, emotionally, psychologically, intellectually? I think we’re also asking what parents can do? Are parents able to just step back and allow this to run?”
As the children set off across the park, Chris and Xand watch footage of them. The twins get lost and walk around in circles. Rita and Kieran are distracted by the play areas and Leo and his sisters make it to the souvenir shop.
The twin doctors wanted to delve deep into the way children experience life across Britain and the world today
Eventually all three of the groups make it out of the park and to the right bus stop, then onto the bus.
Unaware of the hidden cameras, the children are observed as they sit on the top deck of the bus and look out of the window.
They talk about the buildings, which some of them believe to be palaces, and try to guess where the Queen might be.
Chris and Xand tell Planet Child that, throughout their bus journey, the London Eye will come in and out of the children’s vision.
The brother’s were inspired by other children worldwide including Michi, 6, from Japan, who commutes alone across Tokyo to get to school,
As the children sit on the bus after almost an hour of being on their own, Xand says: “This is one of the difficult bits for them.
“They’ve got to feel confident enough to stay on for a stop. What I don’t want them to do is get off at Westminster Abbey and start strolling around. It’s going to be difficult for them to manage.”
The doctors were inspired to do the experiment by other children with more freedom worldwide.
Six-year-old Michi from Japan, commutes alone across Tokyo to get to school, and seven-year-old
Uuakhuike, from the Himba tribe in Namibia, who uses a machete to gather firewood for his family were among the children they studied.
Uuakhuike, from the Himba tribe in Namibia, who uses a machete to gather firewood for his family were among the children they studied
Michi, who lives in a one-bedroomed apartment with his parents and three siblings, travels across Tokyo by bus, train and foot, battling commuters to get to school.
His mum says: “In Japan we have a saying, ‘Let your beloved child go on a journey.’ To go out on your own is the first step towards independence.”
His dad says: “I worry about strangers approaching him. If he doesn’t get off at the right stop.”
The three-part series starts on May 1 on ITV
In Namibia, seven-year-old Uuakhuike, who is part of the Himba tribe and lives with his dad, mum, his dad’s second wife and six brothers and sisters, is seen leaving the village to gather firewood.
In the Himba tribe, children as young as three are taught how to use a machete. Uuakhuike, and his five-year-old brother walk miles from the safety of their village in search of firewood always keeping alert to dangers such as wild dogs and elephants.
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This compared to British kids who now spend less time outdoors than prison inmates and being heavily supervised most of the time, the doctors aim to test the independence of their Planet Child kids.
Planet Child airs on ITV on Wednesday, May 1 at 9pm.
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