Digital age renders ‘playing out’ a thing of the past
A recent survey has shown that 95% of children spend up to seven hours per day in front of a screen at home, swapping fun with friends outside for staying indoors with laptops, tablets and televisions.
Only 13% of children get out-and-about to play once a day – compared to 30% of previous generations. But it’s not just the children who are growing more square-eyed, 58% of adults also spend 3-5 hours of their own spare time every day staring at the same devices.
The Family Lifestyle and Holiday Habits Survey revealed that while two in five adults had made lifestyle changes to get active and improve their health in the last 12 months, less than a third (30%) of children under 16 have made a den, put up a tent or flown a kite outside in the last year.
In a bid to discover the impacts of technology on family time at home and on holiday the survey, devised by the Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show, found that children aged 16 and under are experiencing very different childhoods to that of their parents. Youngsters are missing out on traditional outdoor activities; 63% have not climbed a tree, 57% have not swam in the sea and 42% have not ridden a bike or scooter outside in the last twelve months.
Renowned explorer and author Simon Reeve said: “It’s just heart-breaking to think that children aren’t climbing trees, riding bikes or enjoying the great outdoors anymore. Aside from the health benefits of spending time being active outdoors, great memories and stronger bonds are formed through taking part in physical activities. A heavy reliance on entertainment through technology is meaning that young people just aren’t aware of the world around them. Families should be making more effort to spend time together in the outdoors and more importance should be put on activities that enrich children’s lives rather than pacify them.”
The Family Lifestyle and Holiday Habits Survey also revealed 73% of parents say it is either extremely or very important to be active outdoors on holiday with 56% stating that outdoor space to explore is a crucial factor in making the holiday more special for their child. 77% of families stated that they had just one holiday per year or every six months, limiting the time available for family bonding. 40% felt that more time spent taking part in outdoor activities would be beneficial for their family.
Tim Meek, a school teacher who has taken his family on a year-long ‘edventure’ learning trip in a touring caravan said: “The importance of spending quality time together as a family shouldn’t be underestimated. While we wouldn’t expect other families to make the leap and decide to spend their life exploring in a caravan for a year like we have, we would urge anyone with kids strapped to a smartphone or tablet to get outside and explore what the real world has to offer. There is so much to gain through sharing simple experiences like having a picnic in the park or visiting local landmarks.”
He added: “It’s clear that parents realise the importance of quality time on holiday, and going away in a caravan, motorhome or tent is the ideal way to ensure that this happens.”
While parents are often working longer hours – and one in ten admit they don’t know of any suitable outdoor activities to enjoy with their children – entertaining the kids with apps and games can be the simple solution. However, a weekend camping break or short stay in a caravan just an hours’ drive from home can have hugely positive impacts on family health and wellbeing.
*Advance ticket price £7.00 Senior (60yrs+), £8 Adult when booking before 23.59 hrs on 16/02/15 after which tickets revert to the standard on the door price: £9 Senior (60yrs+), £10 Adult. Car parking is included and a free Show Guide subject to availability. £1 transaction fee applies and this can be subject to change. Children 15 years and under go free when accompanied by a paying adult/senior. No dogs (except assistance dogs). Group ticket discounts are available in advance for bookings of 10+, call 0800 358 0058
The research was completed for the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show by 2,012 parents of one of more children aged between 0 and 16 years of age during January 2015.
NCC Events is the exhibitions arm and a wholly owned subsidiary – of the NCC. NCC Events organises two industry-backed consumer events the Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show (17-22 February 2015, NEC, Birmingham) and the Motorhome & Caravan Show (13-18 October 2015, NEC, Birmingham).
The NCC is the trade association for the UK caravan industry, encompassing touring caravans, motorhomes, caravan holiday homes and park homes. The NCC represents some 800 member outlets in manufacturing, park operations, distribution, retailing, and in the provisions of specialist suppliers and services within the UK caravan industry, which is worth in excess of £6 billion per annum (sale of products, services and holiday spend).
Simon Reeve (on Tuesday 17th) and Tim Meek and his family (Tuesday 17 – Friday 20th) will be speaking at the annual Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show at the Birmingham NEC which runs during half term, from 17 – 22 February 2015.
With over 350 exhibitors, the show is a fantastic value, family day out for both newcomers and enthusiasts alike. Advance show tickets from just £7 (kids 15 years and under go free) can be booked by going to: www.caravancampingmotorhomeshow.co.uk or calling 0044844 581 1250. Stay tuned to the show Twitter and Facebook feeds for more news: