Kim Wilde is supporting a new campaign to get UK families outdoors

Celebrity gardening expert Kim Wilde is backing the new campaign after research revealed that Brit kids spend 10 times more time sitting in front of the TV compared to playing outside.

Youngsters are spending almost five entire days every month playing videogames and watching TV, a new national study has revealed. The survey by Ronseal shows that children in the UK now spend an average of 4.7 days a month playing Xbox, Nintendo and Playstation or watching television instead of playing outdoors. That’s 587 hours per year playing on their videogame console and 784 hours every year glued to the box – a combined total of more than 56 days a year sitting in front of the TV.

The time that kids spend outdoors is even further impacted by the endless hours youngsters spend chatting to friends on Facebook and surfing the net. The study found that outdoor time equated to just 2.6 hours per week for the average British youngster, or a paltry 5.76 days in the fresh air every year – that’s 10 times less fresh air than TV time.

Celebrity gardening expert Kim Wilde, who is fronting Ronseal’s Go On, Get Outdoors campaign to encourage Brits to spend more time outside, said: “It is sad to see that so many children in this generation are virtual strangers to playing outside. They spend hour after hour playing videogames or watching TV at the expense of getting outdoors and playing with friends or family in the fresh air.”

Only 11 per cent of families admit to taking part in family outdoor activities together such as ball games or bike rides, once a year. And a quarter of the nation partakes in outdoor family fun no more than once a month. Families are also spending fewer hours per month together in their gardens, according to the study of 2,000 Brits nationwide. Families now spend an average of just 2.5 days per month in their garden.

Kim added: “Just 20 years ago it was routine for children to come home from school, ditch their stuff and rush straight outdoors to play with friends in their garden or in the street. These days they are ten times more likely to be sitting in front of the TV or playing videogames. It’s definitely time to do something positive to change this situation and I sincerely hope the Ronseal Get Outdoors campaign will help get families back out in their gardens.”

Despite these shocking statistics an astonishing 59 per cent of parents still deny that their children spend too much time indoors. Yet over half admit that when they were youngsters they spent far more time outdoors than their own children do now. Four out of ten parents admit the biggest obstacle to their children playing outside is lack of safety or they claim they don’t have the time to supervise their children’s outdoor play. A further 11 per cent said their children simply don’t enjoy playing outside. Almost a third of UK families admit they never hold social events in their garden and for one in five socialising in the garden is just an annual event.

Furthermore, more than four in 10 children never help their parents with the gardening, according to the research. Kate Sitch, from Ronseal, said: “Socialising and playing games or sports in the garden should be a daily part of children’s lives. Unfortunately our research has shown that this just isn’t the case. We are hoping that through Ronseal’s Go On, Get Outdoors campaign we can really make a difference to children’s lives by encouraging parents and kids to turn off the TV and step outside into their gardens and start enjoying some fresh air, whatever the weather.”