Today sees the launch of the Dairylea Campaign for Simple Fun and the Dairylea Simple Fun Report. The report, written by me to support the campaign, highlights the value of taking a simpler approach to play, and the steps that parents, and society as a whole, can take to ensure that today’s children have a healthy diet of childhood experience.
My report shows that children today lead much more complicated lives than their parents did when they were young: lives that are increasingly dominated by technology and social, media and academic pressures. Yet what children and parents want is the chance for children to have some some simple fun: to be with their friends, play games, get out of doors and have the chance to choose for themselves what they want to do.
Some key findings:
- 84% of parents think childhood today is more complicated than in previous generations.
- 74% of parents think technology plays too big a part in play, and 58% say they are concerned about the amount of time children spend in front of a screen.
- More than half (57%) of nine year olds are restricted to within sight of their home, with 29% unable to venture out of the grounds – yet almost half of parents (44%) admitted to playing in secret dens in wooded areas and local parks when they were young.
- Nearly two-thirds of children (62%) say their favourite person to play with is a friend of a similar age, yet over a third (36%) only get to see their friends outside of school once every 2 weeks or less.
- When children were given a choice of activities that they would like to do more often, the most popular choice (chosen by 54% of children) was to play on their bikes or wheeled toys.
(Based on a representative sample of 1000 children aged 5 – 11, and 1000 parents with children of that age range)
In response to these trends, the report offers ideas and insights for parents on how to take a simpler, more relaxed, more fun approach to play, while recognising the realities of life for parents in the 21st century.
The campaign, backed by Radio 1 DJ and celebrity mum Sara Cox, asks parents to revive their childhood memories and games on Facebook. There is also the chance to win one of three monthly £4,000 prizes to create more opportunities for simple fun, as part of the Dairylea Community Fund. To find out more, head for the Dairylea Facebook page.
Update 25 Feb 2014: broken links removed.