This is how much screen time Doncaster families want their children to have

A new report released today finds screens are displacing outdoor play as campaign calls for two-hour screen time guideline.

Monday, 21st January 2019, 1:37 pm
Updated Monday, 21st January 2019, 1:39 pm
Portrait of happy schoolkids looking through dome climber at school playground

83 per cent of people in the Yorkshire area agree that two-hour limit (or less) for recreational screen time is enough for children.

Nearly all respondents in Yorkshire agreed, 91 per cent, that children are spending more time

Portrait of happy schoolkids looking through dome climber at school playground

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

on screens than playing outdoors.

87 per cent of local people think government and local councils should do more to ensure areas for children to play are accessible and free of charge

The report shows for the first time a strong link between recreational screen time and children’s inactivity, with children across the UK choosing to spend hours indoors and on screens instead of playing outside.

The report released by the Association of Play Industries - A Movement for Movement – reveals that children have never moved so little and points to substantial evidence that screens are a key reason.

Boy using smart phone in the living room

The report suggests that there appears to be a ‘rapid and dramatic’ change from outdoor to indoor time, with a 50 per cent increase in children’s discretionary screen time (DST) in less than a decade 1 .

By the age of eight, the average child will have spent one full year sitting in front of a screen.

The report’s author, Dr Aric Sigman, a health education lecturer and leading expert on the effects of recreational screen time on children, says action is urgently required. “This report confirms what most parents already know, that discretionary screen time is their children’s main activity. Whether it’s watching TV, playing games on laptops and iPads or spending time on social media, recreational screen time is occupying hours of their day, and has replaced outdoor play.

“Parents are looking for support and guidance on how to limit discretionary screen time and get

their children outdoors and playing again. The introduction of a two-hour limit will offer specific

advice to parents and with the support of government, we can start to tackle the increasing screen time issue.”

What do the people of the North West think about the link between recreational screen time and

outdoor play?

According to new research conducted eight per cent of Yorkshire residents thought that children were using screens more and playing outside less. When asked how long a child should spend in front of a screen on a daily basis (excluding at school) 47 per cent said an hour should be the maximum while 36 per cent agreed with the cap recommended by the report of two hours maximum.

1 A Movement for Movement report – Screen time, physical activity and sleep: A new integrated approach for children In the North West, 28 per cent of research respondents agreed that they had noticed fewer parks and play

areas in their local area, compared to nearly half of respondents in London, possibly pointing

towards the increased use of screen to entertain children.

When asked if they thought there should be more parks and play areas in their local area, 53 per cent of those surveyed agreed there should be more, and 87% believe the government should do more to ensure that these places are easily accessible and free of charge.

What is the API recommending to help children and families in South Yorkshire.

The Association of Play Industries Chair, Mark Hardy, says: “Unless the government takes steps to help parents reduce children’s discretionary screen time, current attempts to tackle childhood

obesity and poor mental health are likely to fail.

“At the same time, we also need urgent investment in free-to-use outdoor play facilities, articularly

in deprived areas where such facilities can have the greatest impact. Our recent Nowhere To Play

report highlights the alarming decline in playgrounds in recent years.”

The Association of Play Industries’ campaign is focussed on two main asks, calling upon the

government to:

1. issue an official recommendation of two hours discretionary screen time per day for children

2. invest in outdoor play provision, especially in deprived areas, to reverse the decline in