Column: Encouraging kids to get outdoors is best way forward

Falkirk Herald reporter Jonathon Reilly
Falkirk Herald reporter Jonathon Reilly

A fair chunk of my childhood was spent outdoors playing with family and friends, a concept many of you will be familiar with.

From kicking a ball about a park to playing ‘hidey’, there was little you could do to persuade me to stay inside the four walls.

Standing on a rusty nail as I helped the other kids in my street to build a gang hut still didn’t deter me.

And while it would be great to have as much freedom and as few responsibilities or worries as a working adult, we all unfortunately have to concede defeat and face up to reality at some point.

What concerns me, however, is how few children I see out playing in the streets these days.

The evolution of technology has undoubtedly had a transformational effect on the way people live their lives, most notably today’s youth.

While I fully understand the allure of smart phones, tablets and the latest consoles, nothing compares to having a laugh with your friends out in the fresh air.

The health benefits aside, just being able to go and chap your friend’s door and ask if they fancied a kickabout or a wander was a mental release from the relative strains of school.

Nowadays, though, kids seem to be content with a conversation over FaceTime or by sending a Snapchat or a Tweet.

A chat I had with the manager of Home-Start Falkirk West last week seemed to confirm such behaviour is impacting on family dynamics.

I was told improving interaction between parents and children is now one of the main focuses for volunteers at the Denny-based family support service.

Reverting to more ‘old-fashioned’ childhood customs is surely a start.