Youth Sport Trust warns young people at risk of becoming ‘hostages to handheld devices’

29 June 2015

Youth Sport Trust is warning that young people are increasingly being put at risk of becoming ‘hostages to handheld devices’. With technology and handheld devices at the forefront of many young people’s lives and the lack of physical activity within PE lessons, there are growing concerns that young people will become physically and socially disengaged, resulting in low physical, social and emotional wellbeing. There is therefore a call to introduce technology into PE and school sport to encourage young people to take charge of their own activity levels. By harnessing the technology, schools can use it to their advantage.

Within the Class of 2035 report directed by Youth Sport Trust it found that whilst 75% of young people enjoy PE and 64% feel better about themselves after sport, 45% of young people, particularly girls, are concerned about their body image and feel under pressure to look good. Even more worryingly, a third of young people spoke to their friends on social media more than in person, and nearly a quarter of young people (23%) think playing a computer game with a friend is a form of exercise.

As a way of engaging this digital generation of children directly with exercise, technology is being introduced into PE and school sports. Edward Timpson, Minister of State for Children and Families, stated that whilst he was pleased by the number of young people who enjoy PE, he felt that there was still a level of encouragement required to achieve the ‘healthy habit of playing and enjoying sport’. This is evidenced by PE remaining a priority to the government with having given over £300 million over recent years to spend on improving PE.

The National School Sport Week 2015 has begun the collaboration between sport and technology. Through providing registered schools with toolkits and resources, National School Sports Week 2015 has helped offer young people the opportunity to take part in at least one hour of physical activity every day during the week.

The Streetly Academy’s headteacher, Billy Downie, explains that by using technology they have been able to track young people’s physical activity, school performance and their feeling mentally, which has in turn helped improve both conduct and social behaviour, as well as academic achievement and individual determination.

At Playforce, we are all about bringing life to the outdoors, and encouraging children to make use of the outdoor learning environment. We believe that the outdoor classroom is just as important as the indoor classroom, with both contributing to children’s learning. Playforce’s research has found that by introducing exciting outdoor equipment, behaviour (43.4%) and positive attitudes to learning (36.3%) significantly increase, alongside happiness (54.1%) and well-being (42.8%) increasing too. The outdoor play equipment is therefore an effective way of engaging the children in outdoor activities rather than them being held hostage to their handheld devices. With products such as the Solar Powered Stop Clock, Playforce offers a way of connecting children’s love of technology to the outdoor environment, and as such benefiting the children’s physical activity.

To find out more about what Playforce can offer you, or to arrange a meeting to discuss your options, please get in contact with us on 01225 972660. In the meantime, why not visit our design and build product range, or the Playforce Shop.

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