A STUDY into children’s play has shown that your parents were allowed to play alone outdoors two years earlier than you.
The British Children’s Play Survey found that children now are nearly 11 years old before their parents let them out alone. However, the parents say they were playing alone outside before the age of nine.
“In the largest study of play in Britain, we can clearly see that there is a trend to be protective and to provide less freedom for our children now than in previous generations,” said the University of Reading’s Professor Helen Dodd, who led the study.
She said the “complex” reasons for the change include worries over “stranger danger and the increase in traffic in the neighbourhoods where children live and play”. Children in Scotland are allowed out alone at an earlier age, and were also found to play more, although levels of adventurous play, such as climbing trees or riding a bike fast downhill, were about the same across the UK.
Experts say that adventurous play helps children learn to judge risks and can help to reduce anxiety. The report adds that some playgrounds aren’t challenging enough for kids.
Dr Dan O’Hare, from the British Psychological Society, said: “The findings of this survey highlight the urgent need to prioritise play for our children, and the importance of all children and young people having access to free, high quality, and local opportunities for play.”
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