CLIMBING trees is no longer an indelible part of childhood, as Aussie kids turn their backs on the great outdoors, new research reveals.
Only one in five Australian kids clamber up their local tree, compared to two-thirds of youngsters a generation ago.
The research, commissioned by environmental group Planet Ark , also found just a third of kids play outside everyday, compared to double that number a generation ago. One in ten kids play outside once a week or less.
Traditional activities like hopscotch, jump rope, tag, street games and exploring nature have also lost favour with the youngest generation.
In the independent survey of 1000 Australians, aged 14 to 65, three in four reported playing on the street as children, compared to one in four today.
Planet Ark campaigns manager Brad Gray stated barriers to outdoor play included crime and safety concerns, with 87 per cent of parents saying they were worried about letting their kids play on the street.
One in four parents also stated they they simply did not have enough time to play outdoors with their kids any more.
At the same time sedentary activities such as watching tv and playing computer games had increased.
However, nearly all parents were aware of the benefits of outdoor play, saying it granted kids to use their imaginations, helped develop physical and motor skills, and reduced stress.
“It’s a bit disappointing, for a country that prides itself on being outdoors, that we are not living up to that,” Mr Gray said.
Professor Anna Bundy, of Sydney University, stated being kept increasingly indoors meant kids were leading a more sedentary lifestyle, a major contributor to the obesity epidemic.
“It is also contributing to poor social negotiation skills, which leads to more bullying, because they are interacting less with other children,” Prof Bundy said.
“The risk of being overweight or obese is one in three, the risk of being bullied is one in seven, so they are very real risks with serious consequences, but the chance of being abducted is very small.”
She urged parents to carefully think about their decisions in not allowing their kids to take any risks, and to not to underestimate the abilities of their offspring.
Father Stuart Dinan stated his daughters Molly, 9, and Sunday, 5, did not get outside as much as he would like them too.
“Molly likes skipping and Sunday adores the trampoline, but we have only got a small backyard, so there is not a lot of space for them to run around.”
His daughters were not granted to play out on the street, like he used as a child, because of crime and traffic safety fears.
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Submited at Sunday, July 3rd, 2011 at 4:00 pm on PC games by Donnie
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