Our recent survey revealed more than half of children under 10 (54%) admit their favourite activity is playing on a smartphone or tablet and watching TV.* In fact, children aged five to 16 spend an average of six and a half hours a day in front of a screen compared with around three hours in 1995, according to researchers.**
With this in mind, we’re championing parents to give their kids more green time and less screen time this summer. More than a third (37%) of parents questioned, say their children are far too wrapped up in technology. Less than one in ten (7%) reveal their children regularly play outside and only 13% parents admit they actually encourage their kids to get outdoors.
And it’s not just antisocial, detrimental health effects of too much exposure to screens for children include sleep deprivation, obesity, lack of imagination, vision problems, aches and pains, loss of social skills and aggression.
Getting fresh air has actual measurable physical health benefits for children. Kids who are outside are more likely to get their daily dosage of vitamin D, which assists in bone strength and lowers risks of serious illness. Time outside has also proven to soothe children, lowering their risk of hyperactivity and depression.†
Camping in the Forest’s survey also revealed that less than a quarter (24%) of today’s children know how to play conkers, while a staggering 70% have no idea how to play the traditional outdoor game of Tig.
Leading psychotherapist Hilda Burke comments: “From a very early age children emulate their parents, so it comes as no surprise that very high digital usage in adults is also now being reflected in children. If parents adopt clear boundaries for digital devices around their kids, e.g. phones are switched off during play time and meal times, they will learn valuable lessons about how there is a time and a place to use these devices and that it's up to us to regulate our usage.
“Spending less time on their digital devices indoors and more time playing outdoors can help foster a greater sense of curiosity and imagination in children, qualities that are crucial for healthy development.”
With the summer holidays in full swing we are urging parents to curb their kids’ screen time and ensure they enjoy more green time in a bid to re-ignite their imagination, encourage physical exercise and stimulate creativity. Green time is free, on your doorstep and is the most fun kids can have!
To get you started, we’ve come up with our top ten outdoor activities for all the family to enjoy this summer:
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