The school holidays are almost upon us.
For many, that seemingly endless six-week break will be a distant memory of fun-packed carefree days during lost sun-drenched summers.
And it’s probably fair to say for those who were children from the 1940s to the 1980s, the bulk of those summer holidays were spent outside, playing with friends, grazing knees and getting sunburned.
By contrast, a recent study in The British Journal of Sports Medicine, focusing on Gateshead and the North East, found many of today’s youngsters simply weren’t getting enough exercise.
NHS Choices says children and young people should cut back on the time they spend watching TV, playing computer games and travelling by car.
By way of contrast, our picture selection shows North East children at play in the last century.
Kids clambering up the steps of crumbling buildings, or youngsters perched on top of a concrete-paved playground climbing frame would have today’s health and safety officials in a flap. And probably rightly so.
But have today’s youngsters given up on the outdoors and retreated indoors with their Xboxes, computers and televisions?
It certainly seems so. A report for JCB Kids supported by Play England revealed children growing up in the 1970s and 1980s enjoyed more than two hours of outside play each weekday, and a further nine hours at weekends – whatever the weather.
But today’s youngsters venture outside for just over an hour each weekday, and fewer than five hours on Saturdays and Sundays.
On a personal note, my own experience of growing up in 1970s Tyneside reflect the findings.
We would wander for endless miles with no money or – obviously – mobile phones.
Bits of old wood, cardboard boxes, pieces of rope – anything – would be used as play items.
And the length of time kicking a ball around the back streets would run into hours.
A spokesman said: “It is alarming the extent to which today’s children are missing out on the outdoor play time which we enjoyed as children.
“Playing outdoors is so important for children – not only to help them stay active and healthy, but also to socialise with friends – and create those treasured childhood memories we look back on so fondly.
“Today’s children are spending a lot of time in front of the TV, playing on consoles and staring at computer screens”.
Experts say modern-day children are missing out on vital experiences because they do not spend enough time having fun in the open air.
Enjoy our selection of pictures from an era when grazed knees were the norm.
Source : Chroniclelive