Fear of strangers and traffic stop children playing outdoors
1 August 2012
Traffic and a fear of strangers are preventing children from playing outdoors, new research released for Playday 2012 has found.
Almost half (49%) of parents report that fear of strangers stops their children from playing out, while 46% say traffic and almost third (31%) highlight fear of accident and injury as barriers to outdoor play.
The findings of the survey have been released today as an estimate of half-a-million families and children nationwide celebrate Playday – the national day for play in the UK, held this year on Wednesday 1 August. Around 500 community events are taking place across the UK to celebrate 25 years of the campaign, which raises awareness about children’s right to play and the importance of play for children’s health, well being and happiness.
The Playday 2012 theme is Get out and play! The campaign, which is coordinated by Play England (part of the National Children’s Bureau), Play Wales, Play Scotland and Playboard Northern Ireland has gone from strenght-to-strength since its conception in London in 1987, when the first events were held to raise awareness about the effects of cuts to local play services.
Cath Prisk, Director of Play England, said: “Simply playing outside should be a normal, everyday event for all children. If we want to foster the next generation of Olympians and sports stars, then we need children with confidence, who love being active and are confident in tackling challenges. If parents are too afraid to let their children play out – because of fear of strangers, traffic or their children having accidents – then we as a society need to address this fear. Whether that’s a community living in a cul-de-sac agreeing children will be playing out every day, a street applying to the council to close the road for play regularly, or residents volunteering to help local play projects reach more children, we can all do our bit to make sure every day is Playday.”
Mike Greenaway, Director of Play Wales, said: “Perhaps, as a consequence of the coverage of a number of notable events, as a society we have develioped a fear of strangers, fear of accident or injury and crime. Listening to the media, it would appear that this fear is rational, but it isn’t. As a society we have developed an irrational fear that our children are unsafe outside. Compound this with the domination of cars and their drivers, and the world outside the front door doesn’t look particularly attractive for anyone who wants to play there…and children regularly tell us that outside is where they want to play. Children value time, quality places and freedom to play in their own way; we need to support them, recognise that for their wellbring, they need to play outside and that it’s safer than we think.”
Marguerite Hunter Blair, Chief Executive of Play Scotland, said: “Playday is a fantastic opportunity for communities to come together and celebrate play. Children and adults can enter into the true spirit of play which is child focused, spontaneous and fun – it is not a weather dependent event, and you can usually guarantee that everyone will get a bit wet and muddy before the end of the day! Events can be street based and local or organised at key venues throughout Scotland. Check the website for details and if there is no event happening near you – organise your own!”
Jacqueline O’Loughlin CEO of PlayBoard Northern Ireland said: “For the past 25 years National Playday has provided significant platform for all play advocates. The one day in the year where the importance of play and the message that children need to get out and play every day is promoted and celebrated. This year’s theme ‘Get out and play!’ is timely given the mounting concerns about children’s physicsl health and emotional well-being. For children, playing and exercise is the same thing and getting outdoors in the fresh air is most definitely conducive to both.”
Events will be taking place across the UK on Playday and throughout the summer. To find your nearest local event simply visit www.playday.org.uk/events
For more information call the NCB media office on 020 7843 6045/6047. Out of hours mobile: 07721097033.
Notes to editors
Research was carried out by OnePoll in July 2012 for Play England amongst 1,000 parents with children under 15 years old in the UK. About Savlon
As part of this year’s campaign, we’re also conducting a poll with children and young people to find out what their play is like. Results will be published in September, to get involved, visit www.playday.org.uk
About Play England
Play England is part of the leading national children’s charity NCB, and campaigns for all children to have the freedom and space to play throughout childhood. As the national organisation for children’s play, Play England works with all those who have an impact on children’s lives to support and champion play as an essential part of childhood. For further information or to talk to a media spokesperson, call 020 7843 6300 or visit www.playengland.org.uk.
About National Children’s Bureau
The National Children’s Bureau’s (NCB) mission is to advance the well-being of all children and young people across every aspect of their lives. As the leading national charity which supports children, young people and families, and those who work with them, across England and Northern Ireland, we focus on identifying and communicating high impact, community and family-centred solutions. We work with organisations from across the voluntary, statutory and private sectors through our membership scheme and through the sector-led specialist networks and partnership programmes that operate under our charitable status http://www.ncb.org.uk/
About Play Wales
Play Wales is the national charity for children’s play in Wales. We provide advice, support and guidance for all those in Wales who have a concern or responsibility for any environment where children and young people might play. Play Wales upholds children’s right to play. All children are entitled to quality play provision within their communities and we work strategically to achieve this goal on their behalf. For further information visit www.playwales.org.uk
About Play Scotland
Play Scotland was formed in 1998 to make the child’s right to play a reality in Scotland. The work ok Play Scotland is underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and in particular Article 31. “States Parties recognise the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.” Play Scotland’s mission is: To increase awareness of the importance of play to the development of children and young people in Scotland have equal access to diverse and quality play opportunities that meet their individual need. For further information on Play Scotland visit www.playscotland.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About PlayBoard Northern Ireland
PlayBoard is the leading agency for the development and promotion of children and young people’s play in Northern Ireland. To this end, the organisation provides a range of innovative services designed to strengthen service delivery through advise, support, training and tailored provision. PlayBoard’s work is concentrated and prioritised within a framework of ‘equity, diversity and interdependence’ (EDI), and is consistent with the ethos of human rights, social justice and social inclusion. For further information on PlayBoard visit www.playboard.org or email email@example.com.