'Play Must Stay' campaign calls for urgent investment in public play provision
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'Play Must Stay' campaign calls for urgent investment in public play provision

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The Association of Play Industries (API) has called for urgent and sustained investment in public play provision.

The trade association has launched a new campaign, titled "Play Must Stay", which highlights the results of a survey of 1,100 parents conducted earlier this year.

The research, commissioned by API, asked parents about their children’s outdoor play and indoor screen time habits – and revealed a growing concern over children’s activity levels and the shift from outdoor play to indoor screen time.

Headline findings include that the vast majority of parents consider playgrounds as "vital" in getting children outdoors and physically active.

Nearly two in three (61 per cent) of parents in families with access to a playground said the park makes their child play outside more.

More than half (53 per cent) of parents believed having access to playgrounds would make their child more active.

Almost half of parents said that their child prefers screen time over other activities and almost half of those surveyed said they find it difficult to persuade their child to leave their screen.

The issue is even worse for older children – 69 per cent of parents with children aged between 10 and 12 said their kids preferred screen time over other activities.

“Children are being ‘pulled’ indoors by screens and ‘pushed’ away from outdoor play because of the alarming and continued decline in public playgrounds,” said Mark Hardy, API chair.

“They are experiencing a childhood where time spent playing and being active is negligible compared to previous generations."

“The overwhelming majority of UK children live in urban areas. For these children, and particularly those in the most disadvantaged areas, public playgrounds are their only chance for outdoor play.

“We are in danger of leaving entire communities without anywhere for children to play. Couple this with the dominance of digital culture and the strong inducement it creates for children to stay indoors – inactive and alone for hours – children are facing a crisis with dire consequences for their mental and physical health.”

As well as the campaign to highlight the importance of outdoor playgrounds, the API is supporting calls by the Children First Alliance for the appointment of dedicated cabinet minister for children & young people. It is hoped the new role would put children at the heart of politics and help drive investment in community playgrounds.

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The Association of Play Industries (API) has called for urgent and sustained investment in public play provision. The trade association has launched a new campaign, titled "Play Must Stay", which highlights the results of a survey of 1,100 parents conducted earlier this year. The research, commissioned by API, asked parents about their children’s outdoor play and indoor screen time habits – and revealed a growing concern over children’s activity levels
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Nearly two in three parents in families with access to a playground said the park makes their child play outside more