All Work and No Place to Play- Fear of the Outdoors

by Tanya Thomas on Jul 29 2008 10:00 AM

The great outdoors holds no attractions for Aussie kids of the present generation, reveals a survey. In fact, fear of the outdoors has restricted kids and adolescents in Australia to hanging out in shopping centers, play computer games or go to school.

According to the study of Sydney kids, both primary school-aged boys and girls and adolescents have nowhere to play in a modern city.

The data from the New South Wales child watchdog, the Commission of Children and Young People, comes after the New South Wales (NSW) Government failed to act on a two-year-old inquiry that warned children were missing out on playtime.

According to the Commission's Built Environment report, kids don't like to catch public transport because they are worried they will be robbed or see people do drugs.

"It's not safe on the streets if you're alone, you can't go to public toilets, the train station's not safe. There are people doing drugs," quoted a 12-year-old boy, as saying.

An eight-year-old girl said she didn't like playing in parks because 'someone might come and do things to you ... or you could be bare feet and step on syringes'.

Kids aged from four to 18 nominated their top favorite places or things to do as shopping, bowling, roller-coasters, movies, school, Disneyland, Timezone and Questacon - a science center in Canberra.

Rebekah Jeffery, 12, says she would rather hit the shops than play outside.

"It's safer to be at the shopping mall because there are more people," she said.

Child experts are now calling on the NSW Government to act upon its own report that urban sprawl was resulting in ever-shrinking play zones for children.