Stay-at-home kids are losing touch with nature

YOUNGSTERS are increasingly staying indoors and losing touch with nature, a leading conservation charity has warned.

With the Easter holidays well under way across Derbyshire, the National Trust has issued a shock report revealing our children are rapidly losing connection with the great outdoors.

The lure of computer screens, parental fears and increased traffic mean fewer than ten per cent of youngsters play in wild places – down from 50 per cent a generation ago.

National Trust chief executive Dame Fiona Reynolds said: “Children are missing out on the sheer joy and physical and mental well-being of being able to play outside and experience nature in all its messiness.

“It’s partly technology and it’s partly a sort of nervousness.

“The world is a different place now and people have become very anxious about the risks – real or perceived.”

Dame Fiona called for youngsters to be taught outside on a weekly basis during school term time.

Despite the worrying report, scores of young Derbyshire Scouts take part in various outdoor activities every year.

Dan Weaver, of Derbyshire Scouts, said: “Exploring the outdoors is a really important part of growing up and there are all sorts of adventures to be had, whether it’s going for a bike ride with friends, camping in a field or a walk in the Peak District.”

Dr Miles Richardson, who specialises in child psychology at the University of Derby, said: “We need to ensure our children engage with the power of nature.

“When I was growing up, I interacted with other children and problem-solved in the great outdoors all the time.

“There are a number of benefits – mental and physical – so it’s important our youngsters can experience the delights of the great outdoors.”

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michael.broomhead@derbyshiretimes.co.uk