The negative effects of youth staying indoors

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According to a 2010 article in the Guardian newspaper, only 21 percent of British kids play outside on a regular basis, although 71 percent of their parents say that they themselves used to. With the rise in access to television, video games and the Internet, the comfort of staying inside, along with an increase in perception of health and safety risks, seems to have trumped outdoor activities for kids and teenagers.


Generally, when a kid or teenager is indoors, she's being sedentary, doing things like Web surfing, sitting on the couch and watching TV, or hanging out with friends in her bedroom reading magazines. According to the Department of Health, though, all youths need an hour of moderate or vigorous exercise per day, at the minimum, and staying indoors makes this difficult to achieve. Failure to get this exercise can cause reduced bone strength, reduced cardiovascular health, and reduced respiratory health, as well as contributing to obesity.

Psychological wellbeing

When youths stay indoors, they tend to spend time alone more often than when they are outdoors. According to the director of the organisation Play England, quoted in a 2011 Telegraph article, when young people play outside they are more likely to play with others, and this helps mould their social interactions. In addition, Play England also say that the difficulties of spending time outdoors, like making treehouses and climbing trees, positively influence the way in which they approach challenges in the future.

Dissociation from nature

When youths spend all their time indoors, they become dissociated from the natural world around them. This affects their knowledge of the world, and how humans interact with it. It may also adversely affect society as a whole, because that generation knows less, and may therefore care less, about the environment and public policy towards it.

Future implications

People who are inactive in their childhood tend to have worse health in their adulthood than those who were not, say the Department of Health. Staying indoors is a habit, and kids can continue in that pattern throughout their life. This makes chronic health conditions, linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic problems more likely.

Getting underfoot

Although parents may worry about their young kids or teenagers safety when outdoors, there are disadvantages to having kids indoors all day. Parents might have to spend time interceding in sibling rivalries, which outdoors would have to be sorted out by the kids themselves. Housework is also harder to do with children cluttering up the living room, and they might also look to parents to organise entertainment instead of using their own creativity to think up of games or activities.

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