This summer, nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of children of primary school age either did not go outside to play unsupervised at all or went only “a few times”, according to a new survey by online research provider Lightspeed Research. This is despite the fact that 85 per cent of respondents said they live within a 15 minute walk of a municipal park or other child-oriented playing area that can be accessed for free.
The survey found that while parents are keen for their children to enjoy unsupervised play, their concerns about safety mean that they are reluctant to let children go off and do their own thing.
Nearly one in four adults (38 per cent) said their children are not allowed to play outside without supervision. More than three-quarters of these parents (76 per cent) said that this is because their kids are simply too young to be unsupervised outside the home, while 50 per cent cited “stranger danger” and 31 per cent fear of accidents as the primary reason.
Adults said they would be less cautious if unsupervised play was made safer, with 74 per cent of all respondents supporting the idea of local authorities closing a small number of streets for short periods during the summer holidays to allow children to play unsupervised with one or two adults present. If such a scheme were available, 81 per cent of adults said they would allow their children to play in the street.