Research shows children spend less time outdoors than prisoners, in what expert calls ‘alarming’ trend

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  • New research has revealed surprising figures on how much time kids spend outdoors, showing that over 70 percent of children in the UK spend less time outdoors than prison inmates.

    We often say things aren’t like they used to be when we were kids, and now we actually have some evidence to back it up!

    While some of your best childhood memories might be of playtime outside with your friends, today’s kids’ memories may look a lot different in a few years time.

    Research by Persil has uncovered some truly shocking figures on how much time kids spend playing outside.

    According to their results, one in five UK children don’t play outside at all on an average day, while a third play outside for 30 minutes or less a day.

    Three quarters of children in the UK actually spend less time outdoors than the 60 minutes recommended to prison inmates.

    Understandably the unreliable British weather is one of the factors to blame for children not playing outside as much, but it seems children are actually preferring to play inside and we’re sure you can guess why – all the screens we have at home.

    The unpredictable British weather is one of the main reasons kids in the UK don’t play outside much

    The research has shown that children are spending more than twice as much time on screens inside as they do playing outdoors on an average day.

    The majority of parents interviewed revealed their children prefer to play ‘virtual’ sports inside instead of ‘real’ sports outside, and 77 percent also admitted kids often refuse to go outside to play without taking some form of technology.

    Outside playtime has a big impact on kids’ social development

    Sir Ken Robinson, a leading expert in education, creativity and human development labelled the trend ‘alarming’ and also warned parents about the need to get kids away from screens.

    ‘Play helps children to learn important social values, concentrate, be more self-directed, and builds self-confidence. It is essential to their healthy growth and progress, particularly during periods of rapid brain development.’

    Warning parents about the imbalance in stimulus that kids today are experiencing, Sir Ken Robinson advised parents to let them be free outside with ‘no structure and no gadgets’.

    ‘There’s a growing, and alarming, tendency to reduce time for active play in children’s lives – both at school and home. Screens are a wonderful source of both education and entertainment but children need to be exposed to varied stimulus.

    ‘Allow a child to be free outside with no structure and no gadgets and you will marvel at what they can achieve’, Sir Ken Robinson advised.

    The findings come from the ‘Play in Balance’ report, which polled 12,000 parents worldwide and was commissioned by Persil to launch the ‘Dirt is Good’ campaign.

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