Concern over cars and strangers keeps children indoors

Katy Morton
Monday, August 13, 2012

Traffic and a fear of strangers are preventing children from playing outdoors, according to new research by Play England.

The survey of 1,000 parents with children under the age of 15 found that nearly half (49 per cent) say that a fear of strangers stops their children from playing outside.

Around 46 per cent of parents said traffic is a barrier to outdoor play, and almost a third highlighted a fear of accidents and injuries, while 17 per cent claimed that their children prefer to be indoors.

Parents were also asked whether they thought children had more, less or about the same amount of time to play freely as they did when they were young.

More than 43 per cent said they thought they had more time to play when they were children, and nearly 34 per cent said they had about the same amount of time.

Catherine Prisk, director of Play England, said, ‘Simply playing outside should be a normal, everyday event for all children. If we want to foster the next generation of Olympians and sports stars, then we need children with confidence, who love being active and are confident in tackling challenges.'

She added, ‘If parents are too afraid to let their children play out, because of a fear of strangers, traffic or their children having accidents, then we as a society need to address this fear. Whether that’s a community living in a cul-de-sac agreeing children will be playing out every day, a street applying to the council to close the road for play regularly, or residents volunteering to help local play projects reach more children.’

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