As computer games become more and more satisfactory in terms of role-playing activities, the usual tree climb or hide and seek become more and more obsolete. This has made the current generation of children weaker, skinnier, and reluctant to engage in outdoor play.
Today’s 10-year-old children are physically less developed than the ones playing normal group games a decade ago. The differences are in muscle mass, strength and in an overall health status.
These results were published in Acta Paediatrica, which is a health journal which only deals with cases involving children and their development. In 1990 the children were a lot fitter, were able to climb trees without any effort and were easily finding the time to play outside their house.
According to Doctor Gavin Sandercock from Essex University, the results came from a study which implied climbing. He said: “This is probably due to changes in activity patterns among English 10-year-olds, such as taking part in fewer activities like rope-climbing in PE and tree-climbing for fun. Typically, these activities boosted children’s strength, making them able to lift and hold their own body weight.”
Dr. Sandercock’s study was based on a group of 315 10-year-old children from Essex and another group of 309 children, of the exact same age in 1998. The children from 1998 showed a muscle tone, strength and agility which wasn’t found at those from 2008.
Both groups showed the same height and weight but the differences were in strength and stamina. Push-ups and running have become hard to do and have been avoided, sometimes completely.
Sit-ups have dropped by 27% in a decade as well as the usual arm strength by 26%. Grip also dropped by 7% while one in ten children from the 2008 group could not hold his or her own weight from a bar. This sedentary aspect of the children’s lives was regarded by Dr. Sandercock as “really shocking”.
Computer games own a great deal of the fault. Children must learn to combine both software games and real games with real children who speak and interact with them face to face and not by network chat and headsets.