A survey, conducted by Eureka Children’s Museum in West Yorkshire, has found that although children spend a lot of time watching television they would much prefer to be playing outside.
The survey asked 1456 children aged between 5 and 11 about their experiences of playing outside and 1367 parents about the boundaries of letting their children play outside.
The results found that 81% of children would rather play outside than stay inside watching television, yet it is the parents and society as a whole holding them back from undertaking their preferred activity.
The survey found that it is parental concerns over their children’s safety which prevents parents from letting their children play outside.
The parents stated that the three main causes of concern are road traffic, strangers and an overall lack of community spirit.
These fears have resulted in 50% of parents not letting their children play outside the home or garden, and 37% only allowing their children to go to the end of the street.
The survey cited that when the parents were younger they played mostly in fields, woods and streets, whereas when the children were asked the same question the most common answers were the garden, park and home.
One of the parents commented, “When I was little we were able to play in the street without parents being afraid that something would happen to us.”
The study recommends that “Parents need to be provided with the tools and confidence to allow their children more freedom to play outside, or the next generation of children will become even more housebound than the current one.
“Parents and carers must be empowered to work with local councils on setting up street play initiatives aimed at closing off streets and instilling a sense of shared trust and collective care within a street community.”
Link to article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-29801651
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