Number of children playing outside is declining: 'Really worrying'

The number of children playing outside is decreasing rapidly. Two years ago, 325,000 children played outside every day. In 2024, this number halves to 169,000 children. The number of hours played outside has also decreased significantly. This is clear from new research conducted by Jantji Biton. “We are playing with children's health.”

Now that spring is here again and the days are getting longer, it's time to play outside again. Most adults will remember spending hours outside, but this is less and less the case for today's growing generation. Numbers don't lie. “This is really shocking,” says Anne Abello, ambassador for Jantje Beton. Good morning Netherlands.

The threshold for playing abroad has become higher

Children generally play outside for 2.5 hours less compared to 2022. According to Abello, the reason lies in online entertainment, such as games. “The threshold for going out is higher, and children are much more likely to stay home.”

Safety also plays a role. “Parents also allow their children to go out less.”

Playing outside is good for brain development

Pauline van der Loo, Jante Biton's acting director, described the figures as “really alarming” in an NPO Radio 1 broadcast. “We are seeing that health is really under pressure in all aspects of children's health. If you look at the development of the eyes, but of course also the whole motor development Children sleep worse. “It's very important for brain development,” Van Loo says.

“By being outside, playing freely, exercising, taking risks, trying things, you are really developing yourself. In all aspects, whether physical or social.” Van Loo confirms that playing outside improves children's health.

Playing with children's health

Van Loo says he's worried about the kids who are growing up now. “We're really afraid that we're going to lose a whole generation by staying inside. If we keep this up, we're really playing with our children's health.”

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Megan Vasquez

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