Drive to get children playing outdoors

UK Telegraph 30 July 2007
Only one in five of today’s children play outside in the street or local parks every day, according to new research. The poll by Play England found 21pc of children play outside every day. A fear of traffic accidents, paedophiles or bullies, and the growth of home electronic entertainment, has meant a whole generation are growing up without the joys of playing free in their neighbourhood. While their parents may have whiled away the summer holidays playing cowboys and indians or impromptu games of football, today’s children are more likely to stay indoors or take part in organised sports sessions – and are more likely to be overweight.The poll by Play England, which comes at the start of a campaign to encourage children to play outside, found 21 per cent of children play outside every day, whereas 71 per cent of adults had played outside in their youth. A quarter of children said traffic prevented them playing close to their homes, while adults also cited so-called “stranger danger” as a reason for not letting their children play outside. Adrian Voce, the director of lottery-funded Play England, said: “Children are not allowed out the way they used to be.” He said growing rates of obesity in childhood were one symptom of fewer children getting enough exercise outside. “If you keep children cooped up in front of the computer for long periods of time, they eat less healthily because food becomes a source of stimulation,” said Mr Voce.;jsessionid=S3A2JP5025DYRQFIQMFSFFWAVCBQ0IV0?xml=/news/2007/07/30/nplay130.xml