A Movement for Movement is a new research report and shows, for the first time, a strong link between recreational screen time and children’s inactivity.  Children are choosing to spend their free hours on screens instead of playing outside.

The API commissioned Dr Aric Sigman, a leading expert on the effects of screen time on children, to draw together the growing body of evidence showing the effects that less play and more screens are having on children. It is the first time all the relevant scientific and medical data has been collated in this way so that we can more fully understand the impact of discretionary screen time (DST) on play and children’s development.

The Association of Play Industries Chair, Mark Hardy, says: “Unless the government takes steps to help parents reduce children’s discretionary screen time, current attempts to tackle childhood obesity and poor mental health are likely to fail. At the same time, we also need urgent investment in free-to-use outdoor play facilities, particularly in deprived areas where such facilities can have the greatest impact. Our recent Nowhere To Play report highlights the alarming decline in playgrounds in recent years.”

The Association of Play Industries’ campaign is focussed on two main asks, calling upon the government to:

  1. issue an official recommendation of two hours discretionary screen time per day for children
  2. invest in outdoor play provision, especially in deprived areas, to reverse the decline in playgrounds

The report’s author, Dr Aric Sigman, a health education lecturer and leading expert on the effects of recreational screen time on children, says action is urgently required.  “This report confirms what most parents already know, that discretionary screen time is their children’s main activity. Whether it’s watching TV, playing games on laptops and iPads or spending time on social media, recreational screen time is occupying hours of their day, and has replaced outdoor play”.