A new survey has revealed 60 per cent of parents are concerned that social media is having a negative effect on childhood development with nearly a quarter (22 per cent) recognising that they themselves are setting a bad example!
The survey, carried out by Germolene Antiseptic Cream with 2000 UK parents across three generations, found that not only are parents setting a bad example, but 43 per cent of millennial parents are relying on technology with the children.
This could be the case of children spending nearly 11 hours every school week (almost two school days) glued to their smartphone or computer for fun. The findings reveal the youth of today are spending significantly less time enjoying the benefits of the great outdoors compared to their parents’ generation.
In fact, when describing their own childhoods, four in five parents (80 per cent) said they used to play outdoors every day after school, compared to just over half (56 per cent) of children today.
And more than a fifth (22 per cent) of parents said they don’t actively encourage their children to play outside, in part due to worries about their safety.
Almost all parents (95 per cent) recognise the benefits of outdoor play to childhood development such as physical exercise, social interaction and cognitive skills and 72 per cent believe that experiencing occasional cuts and grazes is important for childhood development.
However nearly seven in 10 (69 per cent) think the fear of getting hurt is causing many parents to wrap their children in cotton wool.
Commenting on the survey, Emma Kenny, Child Psychologist, said: “Outdoor play is essential for childhood development.
“Although technology has a valuable role, it is important that parents actively encourage their children to explore and enjoy the great outdoors, even if that brings some bumps and scrapes along the way!
“Exposure to ‘healthy risk’, ie from falling off a bike or grazing a knee, is all part of growing up and it enables children to learn what their limits and strengths are and how to make decisions for themselves.”
The findings also reveal that today’s generation of offspring are not as ‘au fait’ with important outdoor life skills as their parents:
· Less than a quarter (23 per cent) of children know how to repair a bike puncture, compared to 46 per cent of parents
· Only one in five youngsters know how to light a camp fire compared to nearly a third (31 per cent) of their parents
· Less than a quarter (23 per cent) of children know how to provide basic first aid
Germolene’s Brand Manager, Bernadett Khan-Gonda, said: “We really want parents to embrace outdoor play with their children.
“As technology becomes ever more prominent, it’s important to ensure we make the time for children to enjoy being children.
“Soaking up the fresh air, running for joy and in all likelihood tripping up along the way!”