Saturday 19 October 2019

15% of Dutch children don’t play outside, but class differences are sharp

Photo: Gerard Til

Some 15% of children in the Netherlands never play outside, according to research by play campaign group Jantje Beton.

The research, involving 12,000 parents, showed that children from the highest social class are least likely to play outdoors – in total 34% never did so. By contrast, just 6% of children with the most disadvantaged backgrounds only played indoors.

Children who never play outside could be at risk in their development, said Dave Ensberg-Kleijkers, the campaign group’s director. ‘Playing outside is good for your health, your self confidence and intellectual development, and the way in which you relate to other children.’

On average, children spend 8.4 hours a week playing outdoors, but almost three in five play in the street, a playground or garden for less time than this.

The researchers also asked parents what they considered to be the main barrier to playing outside. In 50% of cases they said children preferred to play digital games indoors. In around one third of cases parents said there are no other children for them to play with. Traffic was an issue for 15%.

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