We all remember the long hot summers of our childhood:
warm days playing outdoors and having fun with our friends until the sun went down.
There can be no doubt that for children growing up in 2018 things have changed – a lot.
Today’s children are the least active generation ever. Just one in four boys and one in five girls in England do the recommended 60 minutes of activity each day.1 At the same time, figures from Ofcom tell us that children aged 5-15 spend nearly two hours a day online during the week and nearly three hours a day at the weekend.2 Playing outdoors used to be part of every child’s day, but children now spend just four hours a week outside.3 This is part of a wider trend.
The area around the home where children are allowed to go unsupervised has shrunk by 90% since the 70s.4 This is not a matter of an exam driven curriculum crowding out space for anything else – the problem only gets worse during school holidays. Research from ukactive suggests that children return to school in September less fit than when they broke up in July, with children from poorer areas most affected.5
Multiple factors have conspired to create Generation Inactive. A combination of busy lives, busy roads and fewer safe communal spaces has made what used to be a normal and spontaneous part of everyday life an activity in itself that requires planning, scheduling and adult supervision. We have built a world that suppresses our children’s natural instincts to be active, replacing it with sedentary lifestyles and screen addiction. School holidays should be spent playing with friends, but for many children they have become an unhealthy, disengaged and even lonely period of time that can have repercussions on their physical and mental wellbeing.
It is not surprising then that some children feel like they’re missing out. We’ve been speaking to children across the country, and they told us that many of the good clubs and activities were out of their reachDOWNLOAD FULL REPORT