Are gadgets ruining family time and stopping kids playing outside in the summer holidays?

Family time is being affected by the invasion of technology, according to research

Family time is being affected by the invasion of technology, according to research

First published in News

New research has pained a negative picture of how technology is affecting children’s love of the great outdoors.

A quarter of Londoners polled say they wouldn’t even be able to get their family out of the house for a day in the fresh air without them being glued to their smartphones.

A third of Londoners think technology should be banned altogether on family outings and more than 40 per cent said children playing on tablets, games consoles or smartphones is the thing that annoys them most on days out.

This feeling from people in the capital that family time is being ruined by technology and children are not getting outdoors enough over the summer is matched by national figures.

Hospitals are seeing more children injured from falling out of bed than falling out of trees.

Exercise among seven-year-old children is low, with 62 per cent of girls and 37 per cent of boys not getting adequate exercise.

The average child only spends 520 hours outside per year – less than an hour and a half a day.

Children have access to up to five screens at home and regularly have at least two on the go at any one time, racking up more than six hours screen time per day – time ourdoors being replaced by time with electronic devices.

Eight in 10 families have never gone fishing or stargazing, and just under a quarter of kids have never visited a farm.

Almost five million children in the UK have never been on a picnic, despite 34 per cent of parents saying a picnic would be the perfect family day out.

Pork Farms, the baker, is launching a Social Summer campaign to encourages families and friends to get together more often for quality time away from everyday distractions.

Sally Whittle, spokeswoman for the campaign and founder of parenting site the Foodies 100, said: “It’s astonishing to hear that some parents are worried they wouldn’t be able to get children out of the house for a family day out.

“Interacting with each other is such an important part of family life and getting kids outdoors ensures they’re kept healthy and happy.

“Picnics are a great way to keep the whole family entertained and I hope the campaign will help highlight the need for us to enjoy the great outdoors more often.”

For more detail also see the infographic below. Click on it to open up a larger version.

News Shopper: Summer on the sofa infographic

Do the figures and findings here match your perceptions and experiences of how technology is impacting kids’ lives and how much time they’re spending playing outside? Do you think technology is taking over kids’ lives too much or is it being used as a scapegoat when it comes to how much quality time families spend together? Do think limits should be set on how much time children spend with their smartphones, tablets and games consoles? If you have any views on the issues raised, add your comments below.

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