Health experts have reported that inclination towards an indoor game is a very dangerous trend, as it makes children grow clumsy. Children do not get time to interact with other children of their age and this may affect both their physical and social growth. They spend most of their time seated either in classrooms learning or in the house watching movies or playing computer games. The limbs need physical activity to develop properly, the brain needs this activity to develop and so are other organs such as the muscles. Failure to engage in outdoor free plays therefore poses danger of several diseases to this group and lowers their ability to interact with other members of society.
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Since the amount of time that children spend while playing outdoors has fallen drastically over the past few decades, it is vital to persuade children to play outdoors in order to grow socially, physical, creatively, and to develop their characters. This essay tries to address the problems associated with indoor. The essay attempts to assess the theory that preschool kids have a higher frequency of obesity, utilize less time on outdoor games and utilize more time viewing television when they live in regions that their parents identify as dangerous
Kids who utilize most of their time viewing television have higher chances of contracting diseases related to obesity. A report by Staempfli (2009) has shown that slightly over 45% of American preschool children have sought medication in one way or another due to complications related to lack of exercise. According to this report, some of those who are admitted pass on due to complexities of the disease or late medical attention. Some of the common health problems that are always reported include obesity, high blood pressure, poor growth of the limps and other related sicknesses (Kernan, & Dympna, 2009).
Children who spend most of their time watching television miss the opportunity to acquire rich sensorial experience that come with outdoor plays. Although poor diet plays a role, the main cause of these health complications is lack of physical activities required by the body. The body is subjected to dormancy. Added to the industrial food that has become popular among this age group, the body easily gains weight, which is stored in various parts of the body (Staempfli, 2009). The starch in the body will not be easily converted into glucose because the energy is not required. The body does not need starch in this form. It must be converted to glucose for it to be of use. Therefore, the body accumulates excess starch under the skin. The result of this is obesity (Burdette, & Whitaker, 2005).
Obesity is a very dangerous but silent disorder. Inasmuch as it may appear to be a normal increase in body mass, with no direct negative health consequence, this condition has been proven to be closely related to various health complications, including heart complications. Other than obesity, there have been reports from United States Department of Health and Human Services showing that the current preschool children have very weak bones (Burdette, &Whitaker, 2005).
According to Staempfli, reduced outdoor games are the main cause of obesity among preschool children. Staempfli (2009) reported that the ministry of health in US has been forced to increase its budget on treatment of such complications. According to this scholar, this complication has been on the rise consistently over the past two decades.
As technology grows, so is the increase in the risk of these minors getting obese. It would therefore imply that technology has influence human health. People rarely engage in physical activities when there are other forms of leisure. For instance, people would prefer to watch movies as opposed to playing physical games such as football and athletics. This character is transferred from parents to children through socialization. Few children are unwilling to participate in outdoor activities due to the availability of other options. Bjorklid and Nordstrom (2007), assert that this trend is expected to persist.
The implications do not affect the government alone. Also affected are the families of these children. Such families may find themselves in serious financial constrains due to expenses incurred in treating these children. According to Bjorklid and Nordstrom (2007), treatment of heart related complication is very expensive. It requires special machines with specialized personnel. To access such services, the families would be subjected to serious financial problems. In some cases, such children are incapacitated, forcing their families to take care of them even at advanced stages in life (Bjorklid, & Nordstrom, 2007). There are unfortunate cases where such parents lose their children out of this.
Importance of Outdoor Free Play
Physical and Social Developments
Outdoor plays are very vital for a child’s physical and social development. It is very common to see children play such games as hide-and-seek, football or just running around. This may not seem important to a person who does not understand the stages of child development and the requirements at each stage. However, physicians have reported that such games are more important to a child’s development than being subjected to formal education (Bjorklid, & Nordstrom, 2007). Physical exercise helps various organs within the body, such as the heart and muscles to develop. Outdoor free plays help such children develop socially as they freely mingle with their peers.
The circulation of blood in the brain becomes more efficient if the body is subjected to activities, which contribute to flow of blood. According to Bjorklid and Nordstrom (2007), exercises are some of the best activators of brain tissues. The heart also depends heavily on physical exercise for development. The heart is responsible for pumping blood. For its muscles to grow strong, it needs to be subjected to heavy activities that would demand increased flow of blood. The bones also need exercise in order to develop. As Staempfli (2009) reported on Darwin’s theory of use and disuse, when the limbs are subjected to heavy activities, they grow bigger and stronger. On the other hand, if they are not allowed to perform heavy activities, they tend to get weaker and smaller.
Cholesterol is very dangerous to both the brain and the heart, which are the two most important organs in the body. The proven way through which the body can eliminate cholesterol is through exercise. Outdoor plays are also very important for social development of a child. While children play outdoors, they use features they find outside as props for their own exploratory and imaginative purposes. As Burdette and Whitaker (2005) noted, some experts describe the outdoor games as providing an arena for children to develop confidence and personal sense of security in learning about and managing risks in the context of spontaneous play.
Children who live in neighborhoods perceived by their parents to be unsafe tend to spend most of their time indoors. Staempfli (2009) reported that the rate at which current American children get involved in outdoor plays is very low. According to Staempfli (2009), parents have been accused of restraining their children from getting into neighborhoods to play with their mates because of security concerns. Cases of child kidnapping has been rampant in various cities, especially in Oklahoma. Because of this, parents restrain their children from venturing into the neighborhood to play. Mothers have particularly been very keen on the movement of their children. Burdette and Whitaker (2005), after a survey said,
“What we found in this sample of preschool children from 20 large US cities was that mothers’ perception of neighborhood safety was related to their children’s TV viewing time but not to their children’s outdoor play time, BMI or obesity risk” (31)
If parent’s perception about neighborhoods safety is related to TV viewing, it is obvious that increasing time for TV viewing will reduce time for outdoor plays. This will have a direct effect on children with obesity. Neighborhood security is directly related to outdoor games, television watching and obesity complications in kindergarten kids. When the neighborhood is unsafe, parents will be more concerned about the security of their children and therefore will not allow them to play outside their compounds (Kernan, & Dympna, 2009). This scholar reported that at times, a child would be confined within houses. Because of this, a child is left with no option but to watch the television. Movies in the televisions are very addictive to these children, especially the cartoons. They would therefore be glued to the television at the slightest opportunity. This would make the body unable to burn excess calories due to lack of exercise. Because of this, the child would contract obesity (Kernan, & Dympna, 2009).
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Children are exposed to a rich sensorial experience when they engage in outdoor free play. They get opportunity to share their experiences with other children. Therefore, social and problem solving skills develop. Those children who play outside alone have a better chance to understand the environment better than those who stay indoors. They also get an opportunity to exercise more, as opposed to watching television or playing computer games at home. Parents’ concerns about safety of their children when on outdoor free plays are genuine. However, it should not overshadow the importance of outdoor plays to the child.
Bjorklid, P., & Nordstrom, M. (2007). Environmental Child-Friendliness-Collaboration: Collaboration and Future Research. Children, Youth and Environment’s, 17(4), 45-78.
Burdette, H., & Whitaker, R. (2005). A National Study of Neighborhood Safety, Outdoor Play, Television Viewing, and Obesity in Preschool Children. Pediatrics, 116(1), 657-662.
Kernan, M., & Dympna, D. (2009). Being Confined within? Constructions of the Good Childhood and Outdoor Play in Early Childhood Education and Care Settings in Ireland. Children & Society, 24(5), 371–385.
Staempfli, M. (2009). Reintroducing Adventure into Children’s Outdoor Play Environments. Environment & Behavior, 41(2), 415-462.