Safety fears 'hinder outdoor play', says survey

Children and adult playing Playday 2012 will involve half a million children in around 500 events

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Fears over safety and traffic are preventing children playing outdoors, research for Play England suggests.

Almost half of parents (49%) said their children did not play outside because of fears about "stranger danger".

The survey of 1,000 parents found nearly a third (31%) said their child did not play outside the house because of fears of an accident or injury.

The poll was released to mark Playday 2012, an annual campaign day aimed at encouraging play.

The survey found almost half (43.6%) of today's parents believed their own children had less time to play than they did.

In a bid to boost play, community organisers across the UK are organising around 500 different events for half a million children and their families, focusing on the theme "Get out and Play".

How much play is enough?

Children playing

Source: BBC Health

The organisers, Play England, Play Scotland, Play Wales and PlayBoard Northern Ireland, have been running the campaign for 25 years.

The aim is to raise awareness of children's right to play and the importance of play for their health, wellbeing and happiness.

There is a particular focus this year on the benefits of outdoor play.

Cath Prisk, director of Play England, said: "Playing outside should be an everyday event for all children.

"If we want to foster the next generation of Olympians and sports stars, then we need children with confidence, who love being active and are confident in tackling challenges.

"If parents are too afraid to let their children play out... then we as a society need to address this fear.

"Whether that's a community, living in a cul-de-sac agreeing children will be playing out everyday, a street applying to the council to close the road for play regularly, or residents volunteering to help local play projects reach more children, we can all do our bit."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    Kids actually need to scrape their knee, get yelled at by a random old man for sitting on a wall and climbing trees as it helps them to prepare for the big wide world when they get older and makes them better able to deal with situations. I can't imagine playing an Xbox will provide them with the same start.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    It's funny I was only discussing this very subject with a couple of my contemporaries very recently. I was born in 1958 and as a kid growing up in the 60's/early 70's we were always outside playing football, riding our bikes or generally getting up to some form of scullduggery. At this time of year in the summer holidays we would be outside from 9 to 9 only coming in for our tea in between time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    I always encourage my kids to go out and play but it does not help when you have neighbours who do nothing but moan especially in the summer holidays. Oh there's a ball on my garden, you can't play there is all you hear. I think some of the older generation tend to forget that they have had the chance to grow up so let the kids grow up, play outside and stop moaning.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    i'm 19 years old and i grew up on a rough council estate in Wandsworth. At the age of about 8 onwards you would never see me indoors, I spent all day out with friends unsupervised, we got scraped knees, cuts, bruises and maybe annoyed a few neighbours by playing football, personally I think that's what a childhood should be. not becoming an expert on how to play xbox. and that's only 10 years ago!

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Fifty years ago, you were only likely to hear about crimes commited against children, if they happened in the same town as you. Nowadays, we get to hear about it from the other side of the world. The result is that we think it happens all the time, and have become irrationally scared of our own shadows as far as children are concerned, and don't allow them the freedom to grow. All very sad.


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