There’s nothing like these kind of statistics to drive a concept home: A new survey has revealed that 74% of kids in the UK spend less time outdoors than prison inmates. So how much time is that under the sky? Less than an hour per day, which includes outdoor time at school. Even exercise seems to be migrating indoors at schools like this one in South Carolina where they’ve implemented desks outfitted with stationary bicycles. Yikes.
The sea change in sofa time vs hours spent climbing trees and jumping rope can be tracked to (or blamed on) the rise in screen time. At a family tech conference at this year’s SXSW, Michael Shore, VP and Head of Future Play at Mattel, said that kids now choose tablet time over physical play as early as 6 years old.
As if anticipating the sudden concern about kids spending way too much time inside, developers are now introducing a series of apps directed at getting them outdoors — with a device never too far from reach. How about a jungle gym that comes with a compendium app, just in case kids need ideas for, um, how to climb? Or what about FitCoins, an in-the-works app where kids can cash in exercise points for — you guessed it — screen time! Even Sesame Street recently announced $10 million in funding for developers to create kids’ apps that, among other things, help little ones eat well and exercise.
But is more technology truly what is required to get kids off devices and moving? Perhaps. One mom, however, took an entirely different approach to getting her kids outside. Instead of conscripting tech, she opted to go screen-free in her quest to explore the great outdoors with her kids.