An Australia wide study of 1,000 parents, commissioned by STIHL, reveals kids today are spending significantly less time playing outdoors unsupervised, getting dirty and exploring their environment compared to their parents' generations.
Expert psychological advice suggests this overwhelming trend is stifling independence and individual responsibility in today's kids. It may lead to significant social issues in future generations.
The research into parental practices of children aged 7-12 years old compared the way their children play today as compared with their own childhood. 90% of parents surveyed reported that, when they were growing up, they were allowed to leave their property unsupervised. Today, only one in three kids (33%) is able to do the same.
STIHL's research also found:
» More than a quarter of parents were allowed to wander two or more kilometres from home unsupervised, compared to only three percent of their kids.
» Half of the parents surveyed spent three or more hours a day playing outdoors when they were young. Now less than 15% of their kids do.
» More than 40% of parents enjoyed climbing trees as a child, at least a few times a week- only 10 percent of today's kids can say the same.
» Over 90% of parents played outside until the sun went down at least once a fortnight, now only 55% of kids do.
In light of these findings, STIHL has specifically developed the new My Green Wall primary school program to encourage kids to get outdoors, make their own decisions, negotiate and introduce them to nature.
The new program will equip selected Grade 3 classes in primary schools across the country with their very own Green Wall – a vertical garden fully equipped with seeds and supplies required to grow and nurture plants over time.
Rob Ross, STIHL Marketing Manager, says the My Green Wall program is part of STIHL's Get Outdoors project, the company's ongoing commitment to supporting kids outdoors and increasing their engagement with nature.
"We know that kids these days are generally spending less time outdoors getting dirty, sorting things out for themselves and simply getting on with it," Mr Ross says. "The research showed us the extent to which parents are complicit in this, under the impression they are protecting their children.
"STIHL designed the My Green Wall program to help young Australians learn and experience the great outdoors in their school environment. We are also supporting them to take those learnings home to their own backyards."
The STIHL My Green Wall program is curriculum compliant for Grade 3, and comes with lesson plans and classroom activities plans for teachers. Schools wanting to register their interest in receiving a Green Wall should register at www.getrealgetoutdoors.com.au. Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/GetOutdoorsStihl.