More and more kids classify their main hobby as playing video games, spending more than double the time they play outside indoors on their computer devices.
Parents and those looking after children during the summer from an au pair agency in the UK might try to encourage youngsters to dust off their trainers and head outdoors more this summer, following research from sports store Decathlon.
The huge retailer released findings from a survey conducted by OnePoll, which showed the average child between six and 16 years of age spends only seven hours outside for the entire week. This is less than half the amount of time they are playing on their video games.
Chris Allen, a department manager at Decathlon, said: “With games such as ‘Fortnite’ taking over the lives of many young children, they would prefer to stay indoors than kick a football around with friends or wander through the woods.”
It is not just playing video games that makes it unappealing for children to leave the house, and many feel compelled to watch TV, go on the internet and listen to music instead. The survey even found that ten per cent preferred doing their homework and three per cent wanted to do chores over enjoying nature.
In fact, the research discovered that 40 per cent have never been camping, and more than half have never even climbed a tree.
These are activities most parents would have done when they were younger, yet a huge number of children are not getting to enjoy these rites of passage these days.
Therefore, it is not surprising that more than two-thirds of mothers and fathers are worried their kids do not spend enough time outdoors, with 40 per cent having to force their children to go outside.
Mr Allen added: “Today’s generation of children have more things than ever before to encourage them to stay inside – and it seems these gadgets are keeping them from enjoying the great outdoors.”
Most schools have broken up for the summer holidays now, which is why the next six weeks represents a great opportunity for parents and carers to get their children interested in the great outdoors finally.
The sunny weather the UK has been experiencing over the last few weeks will certainly help with encouraging children to spend time outdoors, as they can enjoy long, hot sunny days outside.
Indeed, Britain is in the middle of another heatwave this week, with temperatures having already reached 33.3C in Santon Downham in Suffolk on Monday (July 23rd), and the Met Office expects the heat could rise even further by the end of the week.
Those wanting to head outdoors should make sure children are well protected in the sunny weather, frequently applying Factor 50 suncream, regularly offering them cool drinks, and making them wear a hat. While it is good to get them outside, it is wise to avoid the sun between 12:00 and 15:00, as this is the hottest time of the day.
Some of the best ways to enjoy the sunshine are simple. For instance, you could fill the paddling pool, head to the park, or let them experience the adventure of camping for the first time in your back garden.