Today, childhood is spent mostly indoors, watching television, playing video games and working the Internet. When children do go outside, it tends to be for scheduled events ? soccer camp or a fishing derby ? held under the watch of adults. In a typical week, 27% of kids ages 9 to 13 play organized baseball, but only 6% play on their own, a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.We should let kids play outdoors more.
The shift to an indoor childhood has accelerated in the past decade, with huge declines in spontaneous outdoor activities such as bike riding, swimming and touch football, according to separate studies by the National Sporting Goods Association, a trade group, and American Sports Data, a research firm. Bike riding alone is down 31% since 1995.
A child is six times more likely to play a video game on a typical day than to ride a bike, according to surveys by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the CDC. Dakota Howell says his favorite video game ?Tony Hawk's Pro Skater? is more fun than actual skateboarding.
The change can be seen in children's bodies. In the 1960s, 4% of kids were obese. Today, 16% are overweight, according to the CDC. It can be seen in their brains. Studies indicate that children who spend lots of time outdoors have longer attention spans than kids who watch lots of television and play video games, says Frances Kuo, director of the Human-Environment Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
"New research indicates that our intuition is right: Kids are spending way too much time with media and not enough time outside," Kuo says.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Childhood pastimes are increasingly moving indoors
USA Today says: