Laura Sharman 17 January 2019

Report warns children's screen time has replaced outdoor play

Children should spend a maximum of two hours in front of a screen during their recreational time to encourage them to play outside more, a new report has urged today.

The report by the Association of Play Industries (API) found children have never moved so little and will have spent a full year sitting in front of a screen by the time they are eight years old.

A Movement for Movement found substantial evidence that screens are a key reason for children's inactivity and calls for a two-hour limit for daily recreational screen time.

The report’s author, Dr Aric Sigman, said: 'This report confirms what most parents already know, that discretionary screen time is their children’s main activity.

'Whether it’s watching TV, playing games on laptops and iPads or spending time on social media, recreational screen time is occupying hours of their day, and has replaced outdoor play.'

As well as the screen time limit, the API is also calling for more investment in outdoor play provision, especially in deprived areas.

Chair of the API, Mark Hardy, said: 'Unless the government takes steps to help parents reduce children’s discretionary screen time, current attempts to tackle childhood obesity and poor mental health are likely to fail.

'At the same time, we also need urgent investment in free-to-use outdoor play facilities, particularly in deprived areas where such facilities can have the greatest impact. Our recent Nowhere To Play report highlights the alarming decline in playgrounds in recent years.'

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