Monday, September 10, 2007

Outside Play Play Play is Good for Children

Recently our kids have colonised our front yard tree. Pretty much anything of interest is now carefully arranged in virtual rooms throughout the tree. Sometimes they disappear for hours in a world of real virtual reality, not the computer versions.

Apparently young kids are not getting enough of this.

It flags up a recent Unicef finding that British children are among the developing world's unhappiest.

The letter says: "We believe that a key factor in this disturbing trend is the marked decline over the last 15 years in children's play."

The experts say that play - especially when it takes place outdoors - is crucial to a child's health.

An increase in traffic, parental fears about abduction by strangers and a "test-driven" culture of education have all contributed to the trend, they insist.

They add that "the ready availability of sedentary, sometimes addictive screen-based entertainment and the aggressive marketing of over-elaborate, commercialised toys" have also played a part.

They call for a "wide-ranging and informed public dialogue about the intrinsic nature and value of play in children's healthy development".

There is so much pressure to watch TV, play on video games and computers and other electronic toys such as MP3 Players and Mobile Phones that do everything except feed and bathe you and taking care of poos and wees. There is no tactile experience there and we will be raising a generation of sedentary individuals, liable to be deaf and blind at 40.


Sir James Robison said...

What do you mean "apparently"? I'd have thought it was clear that the maximum outdoor exercisy type things with the occasional participation of the parents is the ticket.

michael greenwell said...

a society of atomised individuals all watching their telescreens.

jmb said...

This makes me nostalgic for my pre-TV, pre-computer childhood, spent outside in the bush, coming home for meals. Don't know what on earth we did all day.
I'm glad I'm not a parent today, worrying about all the dangers of the outside world and being over-protective.

River said...

I remember having free run of the town I grew up in, spending hours away from home, the only set rules being don't get into the car of a stranger and be home by the time the sun goes down.

Colin Campbell said...

My brothers and I had a similar experience except we had to put up with crap Scottish weather. We had endless trees to climb, tree houses to build. We had to walk or cycle wherever we needed to be.

Nowadays, we would never make our kids do that even in a community that I would consider to be fairly safe. Very different experience.

ashleigh said...

Yes, very different, not a change for the better.

Part of my luxury is living on a large block of land. The chaps can go outside and ride bikes, slash the weeds, climb tree, wander around. And they do!

Not as much as I used to - I used to wander off and come home when I was hungry. I roamed a long way, and even further on a bicycle.

My chaps are old enough now to go off riding (I know not where) and I'm a lot less worried by this than I used to be.

And I agree with that other comment - no idea what we did all day, but every day we had something to do. Daytime TV watching was banned by all the parents in my neighbourhood when I was growing up, no gadgets and gizmos, but there were go-carts to make, train-sets to build, trees to climb, on and on it goes.

That's all still there, we are just more paranoid than ever, largely fed by a media that loves splashing horror stories around.

Sad, innit?

Educational toys said...

Playing outdoors is great but watching TV, playing video games,or listening to music is not bad at all...Kids learn a lot also from these...it is up for the children if they adapt some bad attitudes from watching TV, playing video games,or listening to music...it is just a matter of change of the usual things..

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