No Fear

Cover image for No FearGrowing up in a risk averse society

“Challenges almost every assumption about contemporary childhood.”
Decca Aitkenhead
in the Guardian.

“Beautifully written […] lays out very simply how we are absolutely screwing the development of children, given our complete paranoid fear of the world we live in.”
Tanya Byron
in the Browser.

Published in 2007 by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Reprinted three times – in print as at Feb 2015.

Order from distributors (Central Books).

Download the full publication (pdf, 3 MB).

Buy from Amazon (Eight 5-star and two 4-star reviews).


  • “A very welcome antidote to all the wild scaremongering about children’s lives.” Helene Guldberg (author of Reclaiming Childhood: Freedom and play in an age of fear) in Spiked online.
  • “A welcome blast of fresh air on a topic that is burdened by adult anxiety and confusion.” Jennie Lindon (author of Understanding Children’s Behaviour 0-11 Years: Linking Theory and Practice) in Nursery World.
  • “An excellent resource for advocates of better outdoor experiences… a book to share with the as-yet unconvinced.” Dr Mary Rivkin, University of Maryland, in the American Journal of Play.
  • “Compelling. I read it in one sitting and continue to reflect on and share its contents.” Martha Driessnack in Children, Youth & Environments.
  • “Tim’s timely book is a must for anyone lobbying for a more child-friendly public realm.” Alan Sutton in Play Today.
  • “A MUST READ for anyone working with or caring for children! Tim Gill’s controversial book provides a thought provoking and challenging read examining the impact of children’s lifestyles today on their futures.” Network of Community Activities, NSW, Australia.


No Fear: Growing up in a risk averse society argues that childhood is being undermined by the growth of risk aversion. This restricts children’s play, limits their freedom of movement, corrodes their relationships with adults and constrains their exploration of physical, social and virtual worlds.

Focusing on the crucial years of childhood between the ages of 5 and 11, No Fear examines some of the key issues with regard to children’s safety: playground design and legislation, antisocial behaviour, bullying, child protection, the fear of strangers and online risks. It offers insights into the roles of parents, teachers, carers, the media, safety agencies and the Government and shows how risk averse behaviour ironically can damage and endanger children’s lives. In conclusion, No Fear advocates a philosophy of resilience that strikes a better balance between protecting children from genuine threats and giving them rich, challenging opportunities through which to learn and grow.

Publisher’s web page for publicity information, book ordering and selected news media coverage.

Portuguese translation available.