Is it right to say that all children prefer their ‘tech’ devices to the more traditional outside play?
Or is this simply a theme picked upon by advertisers to sell product and make parents feel guilty? (Let us know what you think in the comments section below. Let us know your experiences as a parent and as a grandparent)
It is true that today’s children spend half the amount of time playing outside as their parents did. In a report commissioned by The National Trust research showed that children are playing outside for an average of just over four hours a week. This compares unfavourably with 8.2 hours for their parents when they were children.
This is not only a UK problem also in the US, but a recent study by Seattle’s Children’s Research Institute also showed that over half of all preschoolers failed to have even one outdoors activity per week!
Inevitably children will naturally gravitate towards the latest forms of entertainment as previous generations would have done given the opportunity.
Surely, to this age old question there is an age old answer, everything in moderation.
Children today do need to be familiar with tech developments as that is the world they live in BUT it should not be mutually exclusive. Outside traditional play should also be encouraged, as that is also the world they live in.
Sometimes it is true that time-strapped parents use the ‘tech’ for their own convenience.
So perhaps this is a responsibility that needs to be borne by everyone and not just blamed on the children.
As with most difficult questions in life, the answer requires balance. Hopscotch, hide and seek, British bulldog all have their place in modern society alongside mobile phones, video games and tablets.
What can we do?
Firstly it is important to realise the size of the problem and to understand the environment that children exist within today. Then follow these simple steps;
- Set indoor boundaries, time limits on games consoles and phones.
- Make the outside activities fun, join in with them whenever possible. Invite their friends to join in.
- Relax. Whilst most parents find it difficult to relax whilst their children are enjoying a bit of ‘rough and tumble’ it is imperative that they do. Resilience and self-coping mechanisms are all built in this way.
Check out this wonderful list compiled by the National Trust entitled 50 things to do before you’re 11 and 3/4
What has worked for you? Let us know in the comments section below?