Posted by Wayne on November 18, 2000 at 10:03:19:
In Reply to: And now,a completely different controversy - certifying children posted by brianc on November 17, 2000 at 11:05:20:
The real issue to me is why is the kid getting certified? I think the ONLY apropriate reason for these youngsters to get certified is when they are in an ACTIVE, EXPERIENCED dive family. The parents need to be extremely skilled in planning and control of dive experiences for their children. Then the kids must be limited ot the "bunny slopes" until they have the experience and maturity to be taken further.
We have been fretting this one in my family for years. My wife and I have been diving for ages. Of the four kids, the 20 and 17 year olds are very good divers. The 12 year old is not yet certified and is trying to get a friend to certify with her so she will not feel strange being the only kid in a class of adults. She is not tremendously motivated, and we have not pushed her (she is a good crew on the boat when we are down). She is totally comfortable in water and free dives in warm water, but is concerned about number of horn shark grabbing stories she hears from us. Then there is the 9 year old!
She really wants to dive. She has watched/discussed the PADI videos many times and lives for the day she can take the class. She has done the BUBBLEMAKER program so many times she can almost recite the instruction video. She is an accomplished pool diver. She will be a good little diver next summer, but she will only dive the easy dives with one of us near enough to control her every move and experience.
This is the key as far as I am concerned. SHe will be a safe Jr. Diver because she will never be allowed to get into harm's way. She will typically have 2 experienced divers directly supervising and guiding her. I am glad that PADI lowered the age for kids like her. But I fear for the others who will enter the dive world with parents who do not dive regularly. I think that the risk for the children is greater than many of the parents realize.
My take on this is that diving is a family sport like skiing. It has manageable risks, but the parents must fully understand these and supervise the kids' activity.
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