Most kids no longer engage in unsupervised play without screens or parents watching over them at all times. It prevents kids from developing important life skills: resolving disputes, planning time, managing games. Engagement in manageable risks promotes autonomy, which "feeds self-esteem and mental health."
Excellent points on the benefits of unsupervised play and providing kids' with autonomy in this review of two new books by Katherine Reynolds Lewis, The Good News About Bad Behavior and William Stixrud, The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Child More Control over Their Lives.
Bottom line: Unsupervised play, taking manageable risks and providing kids with control over their lives promote the development of life skills and mental health.
Read entire NPR ED review here.