Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Outdoor Activities 'Vital for the Future Health of Our Children'

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Outdoor Activities 'Vital for the Future Health of Our Children'

Article excerpt

Byline: Kelley Price Business Reporter

TEES Society Forum says children should be encouraged to ditch the portable devices, and take to the great outdoors during their holidays.

Chaired by Peter Medd, a director of Redcar-based Cygnet Law, the forum gives leading community figures the opportunity to discuss key social issues affecting the Tees Valley.

Mr Medd said: "This debate is timely as it comes in the wake of recent research, by the National Trust, that showed the majority of children play outside for less than an hour a day "The traditional pursuits of climbing trees, building dens and making daisy chains have been replaced by hours spent in front of televisions and computers, according to the survey of seven to 12-year-olds.

"The Forum's overriding view was that while technology has a place in children's lives, it is vital for the health of the future generation that youngsters are encouraged to take part in outdoor activities.

Iain Sim, Chief Executive of regeneration and housing company Coast & Country, said: "Is it any wonder that as a nation, we are facing a childhood obesity epidemic? Tablets and games consoles should never replace bikes and skateboards.

"However, new technology is undoubtedly beneficial when used in moderation and within a structured context. As with everything, we need to give our children a mix of activities to keep them engaged, keep them interested and keep them healthy."

Richinda Taylor, Chief Executive of domestic violence charity Eva, said: "Children and young people need a variety of activities to stimulate them and that includes physical exertion and a limited amount of computer gaming that could encourage other skills such as hand/eye co-ordination.

"My concern about the excessive use of games devices is that it is generally a solitary activity so young people do not have the opportunity to improve social skills or experience team activities. …

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