UK children will spend just 38 minutes out of the house each day this summer holiday 

It’s common knowledge that children in the digital age live a very different one than their parents did, however we wondered just how different. That’s why we surveyed more than 1,500 families in the UK and found that children are set to spend just 29 hours outside this summer holiday – seven hours less than last year, where children were outside just 36 hours.

It equates to just 38 minutes each day on average across the six-week break.

We also found that more than three fifths of children would rather play videogames or watch YouTube videos than go outside. The findings revealed that less than half (41%) of children had made summer plans with friends this year, a decrease of 22% since 2017.

When we asked parents whether they made plans during the summer, more than half (59%) said they remember having at least three sets of plans for the first week of the holidays, whilst more than two thirds (68%) said they used to attend a summer camp.

We also discovered that more than three quarters (79%) of children play videogames, and of this 79%, nearly half would rather play games than play outside. When asked what their favourite game was, more than four fifths (84%) said Epic Games’ Fortnite, whilst almost all the others stated Roblox, Rocket League, FIFA or Grand Theft Auto – despite the latter being an 18+ game.

When speaking to parents more than three quarters (76%) said they want their children to go outside and see friends, but feel they have no power over what their children choose to do in their free time.

The other main activity keeping children inside this summer is YouTube, and when asked which YouTube stars they liked the best, controversial PewDiePie topped the list, followed by comedy channel Smosh. When we asked the parents about this, more than half (53%) of parents said they didn’t like PewDiePie – real name Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg – and encourage their children not to watch his videos.

When speaking about their children’s free time, four fifths (80%) of the parents we spoke to said that even though they don’t like their children playing video games excessively, and watching YouTube videos which promote bad values, they felt bad for stopping their children doing what they want.

We carried out the same survey in 2017, and since then the number of children interested in going to summer camps has gone down by 74%, and the number of children with plans to meet their friends within the first two weeks of the holidays has dropped by more than 62%.

The survey also asked parents whether they’d rather their children spend their summer outdoors seeing friends, or indoors talking to friends online, and almost all (97%) opted for the prior.

Richard Conway, Childcare.co.uk founder said,

“From what I remember of my childhood and teenage years I was constantly outside, whether I was at the park playing football, or riding around on our bikes, I was outdoors for practically all of the 6-week summer holidays. However, it’s clear that things have changed since then!

“I know that with the advancements of technology and the rise of gaming among young people it’s inevitable that children would be inside more and more, but I worry this generation’s children are missing out on the only period in their lives that it’s ok to ride around on bikes all day.”

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