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Children set for a digital summer

Tablets trump time outdoors, according to Fit For Sport survey

Posted by Stephanie Broad | July 24, 2015 | Sports & leisure

Children’s activity experts Fit For Sport are warning parents to avoid a summer dominated by screens. Their recent poll of primary school teachers found that 73% expect their pupils to spend their summers in front of tablets and TVs, and 40% believe children's fitness levels actually decrease over the summer, as the majority of young people reject fun and games outdoors in favour of computers, TVs and video games.

In contrast to many adults' memories of long summers spent on bikes, playing tennis or running outdoors, just 12% of teachers believe that their pupils fill most of their time playing outside with family or friends. 53% rated computers and tablets as the most popular activity, swiftly followed by watching TV and films on digital devices (20%). Playing indoors with friends and families ranked fourth in the survey.

Children spend at least six weeks away from school over the summer, but the levels of inactivity has a detrimental effect on their fitness levels: only 18% of school staff surveyed believe that fitness improves over the summer, with over 50% believing that fitness decreases or remains the same.

Chief Medical Officer guidelines recommend young children spend at least 60 minutes each day being physically active, yet only 21% of boys and 16% of girls achieve this during term time, but with free time filled with screens over summer, Fit For Sport is urging parents to make sure physical activity is top of the agenda.

Fit For Sport has created a free guide and website to help inspire families to have an active summer. From a whole host of free ideas and games to play together, to a fun Activity Challenge that helps parents to measure and track their children's fitness and activity levels, the resources can be found at activitychallenge.co.uk.

Dean Horridge, founder and CEO of Fit For Sport, said: 'All parents want their children to be fit and healthy, but often struggle to find ideas to tempt their children off their tablets and into the garden. The best way to encourage children away from screens is making activities fun and getting all the family involved. It's important to find a balance between screen time and being active and the summer is the perfect time to develop healthy habits to last a lifetime. Fit For Sport has developed a free guide website to help inspire families to get active together and set children on a journey to active life.'

A study of 10,000 children earlier this year by Fit For Sport and other child activity experts found 67% were unable to meet recommended fitness levels for their age group, making it even more important to get active this summer.

www.activitychallenge.co.uk    

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