Shocking Survey Finds Prisoners Spend More Time Outdoors Than Most Children

April 10, 2016
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With the lure of computers, tablets, smartphones and other forms of technology, kids these days don’t spend nearly the amount of time playing outside as the generation before them.

In fact, according to one recent study, children are spending less time outdoors than a surprising group of people: Prisoners. Yes. Incarcerated people are outside more than three-quarters of UK kids, reports Time.

Let’s let that sink in for a moment …

A survey involving 2,000 UK parents of 5-to-12-year-olds came about as part of Persil’s “Dirt is Good” campaign. Alarmingly, the laundry detergent company’s survey found that 74 percent of kids spend less than 60 minutes playing outside each day. To put this in perspective, UN guidelines for prisoners require a minimum of 1 hour of “suitable exercise in the open air daily.” This same poll also found that kids are spending twice as long playing on screens as they are playing outside.

Parents’ fears, lack of green spaces and the pull of digital technology are all partially to blame for children leading more enclosed lives. However, experts stress that active playtime is crucial to a child’s health and development.

“Academic research shows that active play is the natural and primary way that children learn,” Sir Ken Robinson, an educationalist and adviser to Unilever, which makes Persil, told The Guardian. “It is essential to their healthy growth and progress, particularly during periods of rapid brain development. We must place adequate importance on play now, so that our precious children grow up into successful, well-rounded and happy adults.”

Wanting to ensure your children don’t wind up in front of a screen all summer?

Here are a few ideas to get your kids outside and moving, as provided by this article from Good Housekeeping:

  • Go camping in the backyard
  • Go on a treasure hunt
  • Watch wildlife
  • Get behind (or in front of!) a camera
  • Go for a family walk
  • Play in the rain
  • Plant a garden
  • Make art with nature
  • Play in the mud
  • Check out the bugs
  • Build a fort
  • Go swimming
  • Watch the clouds
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Climb a tree
  • Start a rock collection.

For even more ideas involving outside activities, read the full article here.

Share your thoughts! What do you think of this survey?

Do you make it a point to get your kids outside to play on most days?

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