With technology becoming seamlessly woven into our day-to-day lives, it is becoming increasingly difficult to imagine a life without it. For young people, it would be impossible for them to comprehend a life without it; they have grown up with technology always with them. As an adult, this sparks questions in my mind.
Working in a sports marketing agency, and having grown up in the countryside, being active has always been, and always will be a huge part of my life. I take comfort in the knowledge that I am able to cope without the constant need to use technology to occupy me. It worries me that some children rarely spend time exploring the outside and being active. I wonder what implications this age of reliance on technology has on children and their physical and mental health.
A study by Ofcom in 2017 found that 53% of 3-4 year olds go online for nearly 8 hours a week, 79% of 5-7 year olds for around 9 hours a week, 94% of 8-11 year olds for nearly 13.5 hours a week and 99% of 12-15 year olds for nearly 21 hours a week.
With the above statistics, it may not come as a surprise that today’s children are the least active generation to date. A study by the NHS in 2015 found a mere one in four boys and one in five girls in England participate in the recommended 60 minutes of activity a day.
The benefits that engaging in physical activity has upon children is an almost never-ending list. From stronger bones, improved coordination boosted immune system to higher levels of confidence and reduced feelings of anxiety and stress; it would seem ridiculous to think that children are so inactive.
It is of utmost importance for children to engage in positive physical activity experiences to enable these benefits but most importantly to take them through as habits in adulthood.
In response to these devastating statistics, many organisations are taking it upon themselves to tackle these desperate levels of inactivity. We’ve outlined a selection that are making strides.
ukactive have released a report which summarises the severity of, what they call ‘ generation inactive’. The report is definitely worth a read; it highlights the factors which are preventing young people from being active and releases even more alarming statistics. https://www.ukactive.com/reports/generation-inactive-2/
Source: Go Run For Fun
INEOS has pledged to get as many children between the age of 5 and 10 involved in running as possible. To reach this inspirational target, they have developed their GO Run for Fun programme. They have created free, worldwide, mass running events, with an incredible 270,000 participants and 73 schools that have taken part in the health & wellbeing programme in 2018. It aims to assist school children in living a happy, healthy life not only for their present, but their future, too.
TopYa! are utilising technology to inspire children to become more active, rewarding children when they upload videos of them performing a skill which improves their physical health. This one is an interesting premise to me, as it is inevitable that technology will always be advancing, why not use it to our advantage and allow it to help not hinder physical activity.
To quote the late, great, King of pop, I believe that children are the future.
As cliché as that sounds, it is our responsibility to ensure that the younger generation are offered as many opportunities as humanly possible to not only engage in physical activity, but to be educated in the everlasting benefits that participating in physical activity will have on their health. If the current child generation can understand this, they can become ambassadors for future generations to come, and with an optimistic outlook, perhaps a sedentary lifestyle will become a distant memory.