Our free time

Zara: How do we spend our free time?

by Zara

Children and young people often find themselves unsure about how to fill up their free time, with children usually resorting to mobile phone and game usage. The rise of technology has meant that turning to the internet and all of
the games, videos and social media apps seems unavoidable.

The internet has lots of benefits, like being able to connect with people from around the world and make communities of fun, inclusion and kindness. But, some may argue that the internet stops one important thing – meeting and interacting with people face to face and developing the ability to make meaningful relationships with our peers.

As children and young people who have been brought up with technology at our fingertips, I believe we need to stress the importance of balance; we need to experience the benefits of both online and ‘offline’ life.

Recently, the use of youth clubs has rapidly declined, with many closing down due to lack of funding or interest. Youth clubs are great spots to relax and connect with family and existing friends, but also amazing for meeting and making connections with new people. Youth clubs usually have lots of great activities to get involved with, like pool tables, table football, etc. The decline of youth clubs has meant that there are limited safe and supervised spaces for young people to enjoy their free leisure time, and limited opportunities to meet new people.

Fewer young people are also visiting leisure centres – central hubs for sports, fitness and fun. Leisure centres have great classes that help young people stay fit and healthy. Not only is this good for physical health, but importantly our mental health. I strongly believe that community-led programmes enable young people to grow. We need to showcase opportunities like this for children and young people, and ensure that their free time is used safely, productively and, most importantly, for fun.”

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