There’s no doubt about it, kids are playing less now than they used to even 20 years ago.
I can remember playing out when I was in single digit ages until it was dark. Me and the local kids would play all kinds of things with or without a football. Chasing games, hiding games, racing games you name it, I probably played a form of it. But kids are not playing out now. They’re playing in.
Over the last 20 or so years, increasingly kids have been moving away from the outdoors to the comforts of their own homes in line with the rise of the video games industry. In my opinion, that more so than the rise of parental fears and concerns or increased sugary food and drink products have been the main factors in the declining number of kids playing now.
No doubt kids are still playing but it is in front of the TV, tablet or phone now and not outside but why is it a massive problem? There are some that will point to benefits, but honestly, allow me to poke the holes in their argument that everything is fine!
- “Kids are social online.”
Don’t be fooled, just because they’re looking at a screen doesn’t mean they’re not connecting with someone. Socially kids are having more interactions than we did 20 years ago. But it’s the depth of the interactions that are a notable difference. An emoji and tagging a friend to look at a picture on Instagram or liking a video on Youtube isn’t quite getting the same social returns as our generation did.
- “It isn’t safe outside.”
Look I totally understand parent concerns and safety always comes first but what is stopping kids playing in the yard, or what is stopping a parent or guardian going to the local park to watch over or even join in with some outdoor fun. To me, it’s a lazy excuse because now more than ever there’s an abundance of physical activity opportunities for kids whether after school clubs or some organised sports club sessions, there is something everyday after school kids can go to.
- “It isn’t that many hours.”
Sure on the surface, what’s a couple hours every day right. But just think about that effect multiplied over the week, over the month over the year. Let’s say little Johnny (it’s always a Johnny) plays Halo 5 (I keep up with the kids!) every day without fail for at least for two hours every day. 2 x 30 = 60 hours a month. 60 x 12 = 720 hours a year. That my friends, is a scary amount of time.
There’s more I’m sure, and yes I will come back to this topic at some point because it’s so frustrating to me to see that we as adults are taking the easy option and simply not seeing the importance of getting our kids off the screens and moving with their friends.
But I wanna hear from those parents and guardians that think kids staying inside on their screens is cool. Please let me know what you think guys, I’d love to hear from you.