It’s hard to believe, but children today prefer playing with their parents over watching television.
Still, one quarter of parents admit to being too stressed while playing with their children to enjoy it, with 45% of them feeling like they don’t have enough time to dedicate to such activities.
These are some of the key findings of Playreport; to date, it is the largest global survey on child development and play. The report, initiated and funded by IKEA, consisted of interviews with 8,000 parents and 3,000 children aged 7-12 across 25 different countries to distill new findings at the intersection of parenting and play.
Perhaps the most surprising results came in relation to television and children:
The study shows that kids overwhelmingly prefer playing with their parents over watching TV and using the Internet. When asked, kids chose playing with friends (89%) and parents (73%) with TV a very poor substitute for social interaction at only 11% and Internet 14%.
Dr. Barbie Clark, co-author of Playreport, comments:
“Children are social creatures by nature. When they play with others, kids develop the ability to encode and decode emotional messages. They become empathic and develop social skills that will be vital later on in life. So while we may think that children would love to be attached to a screen of some sort, most show a natural inclination to socialize with others through play.”
But as Playreport affirms, good parenting is no easy task, bringing about worry and stress on the need to achieve greater involvement. Dr. Clarke agrees:
“We live in a cash-rich, time-poor society.’ She adds, ‘what’s really interesting is that parents today spend four times more time with their children than they did in 1975. So actually we’re spending more time with our children, but we’re feeling more guilty than ever.
Parents feel they need to stimulate and entertain their children from the moment they’re born.’”
To improve the study’s real-time efforts, Playreport has created a Facebook page, inviting parents, experts and like-minded contributors to add their ideas to the ongoing conversation.
IKEA was an active partner in the report, as Maria Elander, head of IKEA Children’s School, added:
“For children, play is life itself. For us, children are the most important people in the world, and the home is the most important playground. Play is a fundamental aspect of their development. Through this global research, we’ve gathered new insights about how play is perceived by children and parents all over the world.”
photo via drp