Young children spend twice as long looking at screens as they do playing outside, a study has found. By the time they reach the age of seven, children will have been looking at screens for the equivalent of 456 days – an average of four hours every day. But just 182 days, or an average of just over an hour and a half a day, will have been spent playing outdoors. It also emerged more than half of a child’s screen time is described as ‘mindless’ – spent without family or friends, in solitary, screen-based activities.
The research, of 1,000 parents of children aged up to seven, was conducted by Persil, and found three quarters have used a screen to entertain their youngsters so they can get on with other tasks. Sir Ken Robinson, a leading expert in education, creativity and human development and chair of the Good Child Development Advisory Board, commented: “If you’re an adult now, how much time did you spend as a child playing outdoors, making up games on your own or with friends, dashing around, taking tumbles, all for the sheer fun of it? This latest research also shows that children now spend much less time on ‘real play’ than ever before. This startling study is a call to action for parents, educators and policy makers to create real time and space for real play in the lives of all children.”