The team at educational toy company Click-A-Brick says the results of a recent survey done for the British Toy and Hobby Association’s Make Time 2 Play campaign are discouraging.
The survey questioned 2,000 British parents about their perception of play and found that:
one third say their children's idea of play is using recreational technology over traditional play;
seven in ten parents admit to choosing to give their child a screen entertainment based activity over traditional play;
20 percent believe too much traditional or outdoor play could impact their children’s behavior and grades negatively;
56 percent of parents use entertainment screen-based play to cure boredom; and
77 percent say the reason they rely on high amounts of recreational screen time is because they believe in the educational and learning benefits they allegedly offer.
The survey results were released in conjunction with a new study by child health education specialist, Dr Aric Sigman, entitled: 'Play: it's in their DNA'.
Sigman’s report highlights the importance of real world play -- both indoors and outdoors -- for the development of children, saying it leads to improved behaviour, increased abilities to concentrate and better school grades.
"It is clear that small screens have been accompanied by a drop in traditional play," Sigman said. "The survey of parents shows perceptions of playtime are shifting to include entertainment screen time to the detriment of real world play."
Sigman’s report recommends parents limit entertainment screen time and balance activities throughout the week so children can experience real world play.
Click-A-Brick Co-Founders Jason Smith and Georg de Gorostiza say it’s disappointing to read that parents believe screens not only take the place of traditional play, but are actually superior to traditional play for the development of children.
“It’s frustrating to see these kinds of findings,” Smith said. “Parents moving away from traditional forms of play and embracing the use of gadgets and screens to entertain their children alone is enough to raise a few red flags, but to read that parents even believe that traditional play could negatively impact their children’s development is astonishing. There’s certainly a lot of hype around certain apps and games being considered educational in nature and they very well might help children in certain areas of development, but traditional and outdoor play shouldn’t be ignored or forgotten about.”
The pair of educational toy entrepreneurs say they agree with Sigman that traditional and outdoor play should be incorporated into a child’s schedule to ensure they are at least getting some of this important type of developmental stimulation.
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