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Go Play Outside

July 26, 2018 GMT

While many people of a certain age recall fondly spending morning ’til night horsing around outside, a new survey says that thanks to digital and other distractions, the average child spends just an hour a week outdoors.

According to a survey of 2,000 kids in the U.K. commissioned by sporting goods retailer Decathlon, children between the ages of 6 and 16 on average spend that little time outside every day -- but at least double that playing video games.

“With games such as Fortnite taking over the lives of many young children, they would prefer to stay indoors than kick a football around with friends or wander through the woods,” says Chris Allen, a department manager at Decathlon, in a statement.

Today’s kids simply have more diversions than in years past, the survey showed. In addition to gaming, those surveyed noted surfing the Internet, watching TV, and listening to music -- even doing homework and chores -- were preferable to getting some sun.

That’s right: 10% of those kids polled said they’d rather do work for school -- and 3% doing their chores -- than playing outside.

What’s more, more than half of those surveyed have never climbed a tree. Forty percent said they’ve never gone camping. Those who had admitted to thinking about their digital devices.

Four in 10 parents who were polled said they have to force their kids to go outside.

Over two-thirds worry that their children spend too little time outdoors, and nearly four in ten struggle so much to get their kids to leave the house that they actually have to force them to do so.