News Copy – By Gemma Francis
Screen-obsessed children are turning their backs on the great outdoors – in favour of the ‘great indoors’, it has emerged.
Researchers found the average six to 16-year-old enjoys a total of just SEVEN hours a week outdoors – including weekends.
And the typical ‘Fortnite Generation’ child is now online for more than TWO HOURS every day playing on computer games, phones and tablets.
As a result, more than two thirds of mums and dads admit they’re worried their children don’t spend enough time outdoors, and almost four in 10 have to force reluctant youngsters outside to play.
The study, by multi-sports retailer, Decathlon (https://www.decathlon.co.uk/ ), also found trying to persuade their children to enjoy time in the sunshine instead of being glued to a screen is a major bone of contention for many parents.
Six out of 10 believe highly-addictive computer games such as Fortnite make it harder to get children out of the house.
Furthermore, 75 per cent of parents believe their children spend less time outdoors than they themselves did when they were young.
It also emerged almost 60 per cent of mums and dads would prefer their child to be outside, but only around one third said their child would take up the opportunity to play in the garden or at a local park.
When British kids were asked to pick an activity they would rather do than play outside, 10 per cent prefer doing homework and three per cent even said ‘completing chores’.
Playing computer games came top of the list, followed by watching TV, going on the internet and listening to music.
Researchers from OnePoll, who polled 2,000 parents of 6-16-year-olds and their children also asked youngsters whether they had ever enjoyed a string of outdoor activities, with four in 10 revealing they have never been camping.
And even of those who have, some said it was ‘too dirty’ and that they missed being able to play computer games too much to enjoy it.
Almost half of youngsters have never built a den or fort, just over four in 10 haven’t cooked a meal outside – and 55 per cent even said they are yet to climb a tree.
Chris Allen, mountain sports manager at Decathlon UK, said: ‘’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.
‘’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.
‘’But this means many kids are missing out on some of the experiences their parents had growing up – whether that’s building a den, climbing a tree or camping in the great outdoors.
“We want to encourage parents and their children to head outside and enjoy a real-life family adventure!”