Children are "disappearing from our streets", charities have warned after a poll found that unwelcoming communities are preventing children from playing outdoors. More than a quarter of adults questioned said that "intolerant neighbours" were a major barrier stopping children playing outside, the survey found.
Concerns about traffic, fears of "stranger danger" and a lack of dedicated community spaces were also cited as factors hindering outdoor play, according to the poll which was conducted on behalf of organisations Play England, Play Wales, Play Scotland and PlayBoard Northern Ireland,
Almost three in 10 parents (28%) said they feared being "judged" by neighbours if they let their children play unsupervised outdoors, according to the research which was released to mark Playday - the national day for play in the UK.
While half of adults said that they played outside at last seven times a week when they were young, less than a quarter of their children said they played outdoors this much, according to the poll of 1,000 adults, 1,000 parents and 1,000 children aged five to 16.
"It's up to all of us to turn around the creeping disappearance of children from our streets, parks and communities," said Cath Prisk, director of Play England. We all have role - as families, neighbours, and friends. We can all do something to say we love kids playing outdoors, that we want to live in communities that actively welcome kids playing out. There always was and always will be some people who want to squash kid's fun - but there are far more that really want kids back outside playing, not stuck indoors, especially over the summer holidays.
"If every councillor and MP committed to ensuring every child in their communities could play outside in their street, in playgrounds or local parks for at least an hour just five days a week, think of the difference that would make to every child's health, to the number of friends they can make and most of all to the fun they can have."
Mike Greenaway, director of Play Wales, added: "We need to recognise the importance of providing children with time, space and freedom to play in their own way. We need to support them and recognise that for their health, wellbeing and long-term development children need playful places and opportunities to play outside. Whilst every day of the year should be a play day, national Playday is our annual opportunity to celebrate and campaign for children's right to play."