Ben Fogle says children nowadays are never allowed to take risks

‘Risk is on the brink of extinction’: Ben Fogle says he fears snowflake children will become even MORE mollycoddled after ‘society decided that ‘nobody’s allowed to take a single risk’ during the pandemic

  • London-based TV adventurer Ben Fogle, 47, said wanted kids to take more risk 
  • Said most children nowadays where not allowed to take any risk whatsoever 
  • Added is as important for child to be well-versed in technology as street-smart 
  • Said he wanted his own children to be ‘well-rounded’ so could make decisions  

While parents harbour fears about their children falling behind at school and the mental health impact of lockdown on young people, TV adventurer Ben Fogle has revealed his biggest pandemic worry for young people is how it’s killing off risk. 

The New Lives in the Wild presenter, 47, who shares two children with his wife Marina, Ludovic, 11 and Iona, 10, said that risk has become ‘endangered to the brink of extinction’, with the process accelerated by lockdown. 

Speaking to Femail ahead of his Channel 5 summer series, The Farm, set in Yorkshire, he said: ‘A lot of children have lost any sort of access to risk, they’re completely mollycoddled, wrapped in cotton wool by protective parents, and the pandemic hasn’t helped that.

‘None of us have been able to take a single risk, I get that, we’ve done it for a year. 

TV presenter Ben Fogle, 47, pictured with his ten-year-old daughter Iona, said that he laments the lack of risk that lockdown has brought to people’s lives 

Ben, with his wife Marina, left, and son Ludo, 11 and daughter Iona, ten, during a family holiday in 2019

‘But we also have to wean ourselves back to how we used to live and I know not everyone will want to embrace risk, not everyone will want to take their children off to what might be considered unsafe places.’ 

‘For me, risk, which is taking yourself out of your comfort zone into an unpredictable environment, is so important. 

‘It saddens me that risk in generally is becoming endangered, endangered to the brink of extinction because society during the pandemic has decided that no one is allowed to take risk.’ 

‘For me and my children, I want them to embrace opportunity that will nurture them and allow them to grow.’ 

The adventurer and presenter said his children were ‘game for anything’ and always wanted to mimic what their parents were doing (pictured: Iona on a bike)

Ben, who is married to Marina Fogle, said it’s their responsibility as parents to form ‘well-rounded’ children who are equally at home in nature and with tech 

He revealed his children are ‘game for anything,’ and often want to follow their adventurous parents’ lead.  

‘Just because I’ve embraced a life of risk doesn’t mean that my children also take risks, they’re quite sensible. But they are also game for anything and if they see my wife and I doing thing, they definitely will want to do it,’ he said. 

‘If they see us jumping into a freezing cold ocean, they’ll want to jump into a freezing cold ocean. If they see us sleeping in an ice hole in the Arctic Circle, they’ll want to do the same.’

Ben said he wanted his children to both be well-versed in technology and flora and fauna (pictured: Marina with Iona and Ludo, 11)

The adventurer added that he believes in ‘each to their own,’ and he wants to inspire others to get out of their comfort zone, rather than lecturing. 

‘Just because I’m willing to row across the Atlantic ocean, doesn’t mean everyone has to do that,’ he said. ‘I’m hoping the fact that I do it does empower some people to perhaps think outside of the box.’

Meanwhile, Ben, who has celebrated living off-grid in his New Lives in the Wild series said he’s a ‘realist’ when it comes to tech and that sending children into the world with no knowledge would be ‘irresponsible’. 

‘I kinda partly want to be a pedant and want to lament the rise of technology and would love everyone to just be making fires and whittling sticks but I use technology,’ he said. 

‘Tech is incredible. I truly am blown-away sometimes by just how useful certain apps and tools and iPads and touch screen phones can be,’ he added.  

Ben said that people should be able to take risks and step out of their comfort zone, as long as it didn’t affect others 

‘I’m a realist, therefore my children, especially during lockdown, have been fast-tracked into using it. They are better now on Zoom calls, my daughter does all the TV programming,’ he revealed. 

He said that, just like with anything else, it was about striking a balance between children spending time on screens and outdoors.  

‘I’m not trying to encourage every single child to spend 24 hours a day outside in the trees and completely abstain from technology and never go into a city, that would be irresponsible as a parent,’ he said. 

‘I like the fact that my children can be street-wise: they know about crossing the streets, they know about keeping safe, they know about how to avoid the druggie on the street, you pick up the body language.

Ben revealed Iona, left and Ludo, right, have a list of chores they needed to tend to, such as cleaning the family guinea pigs’ pens, before they’re allowed screen time 

‘But equally, they’re also very good when it comes to a wood, and they can read the flora and fauna and follow trails. It’s about having a well-rounded child.

‘My form of parenting is to give them a little bit of everything and then they can decide and one day they may decide they want to become work in technology, maybe they’ll decide to work in the countryside,’ he said. 

‘But as a parent it’s my responsibly, I think, and my wife’s responsibility to make well-rounded children who are well versed in everything.  

The presenter added he and his wife have rules in place, and made sure Iona and Ludo spent enough time outside and do their chores – such as cleaning the family guinea pigs’ pen – before they could go online. 

But the father-of-two, who is active on social media, said he was aware of ‘his own contradictions.’ 

‘I spend far too much time on my screen, on social media, emails, planning, writing, shopping, there’s multiple things that I’m culpable of doing, and my children will do what they see their parents do,’ he said. 

‘If they see us glued to our phones, and tablets, they’ll do the same. I’ve seen my daughter when I’m on my phone, I see her looking at me, and she kinda wants to mimic,’ he said.  

This Summer, Ben will be on stage at Channel 5’s first ever ‘5 on the Farm’ festival taking place at Cannon Hall Farm, Yorkshire over August Bank Holiday.

The presenter said his fellow Channel 5 star Amanda Owen, centre, who has her own show with her family and husband Clive, right, was his ‘risk hero’ and should be ‘applauded’ for her parenting skills 

He will be joined by Our Yorkshire Farm star Amanda Owen, whom he called his ‘risk hero.  

‘The way Amanda Owen brings up her family and her children should be applauded and admired and hopefully will inspire other people,’ he said. 

‘I went to visit Amanda and her family five years ago for New Lives in the Wild and saw right away there was something incredible and inspiring about this family that has now translated into her own hit series.’ 

Owen made headlines earlier this month when she claimed that parents nowadays were raising ‘snowflakes’ and that children today were ‘useless.’

Ben tempered that the interest in farming life had increased in the past year, thanks to shows like New Lives in the Wild, Our Yorkshire Farm and Kate Humble’s show Escape to the Farm.

‘Everyone that has lived and worked on a farm will reiterate that it’s not easy, it’s full of unnatural hours, hardships, heartbreak but the rewards are you get to get your hands dirty and be close to the land,’ Ben said. 

‘Farming as much as it tough industry and the reward can be slim in terms of finances, people are realising  the mental welfare properties of being that close to nature,’ he added.  

‘5 on the Farm is a great opportunity to meet the loyal audiences who’ve followed New Lives in the Wild for a decade or so and to share some of the stories, the more relatable one, the ones in the UK during the pandemic,’ he added.  

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