One third of children now use computer tablets before they can talk!

New research by an organisation called Common Sense Media on 2000 young children  found that 38% of children under the age of 2 have used a mobile device for playing games, watching videos or other media-related purposes. In 2011, only 10% had. Not only this but the average time that each child spends on smart mobile devices has tripled.  photoCommon sense tells us that technology cannot be ignored, that our children need to be able to navigate it, but we mustn’t forget they need to be able to navigate the real world too.

At this very young age their brains are still developing and screen based images can have a profound detrimental effect.  Many other countries have recognised this and it is illegal to target games and TV programmes for under twos but not in the UK.  Sadly things have got out of balance, perspectives have become skewed, so people feel they would be doing a bad parenting job if they let their kids play outside getting dirty but think it is fine to plug them in.

What is happening?  Do parents really believe letting their children sit in front of these screens for so much of their waking time is educational or good for them?  Are they just becoming more lazy, or could they possibly be becoming so addicted to their own mobile devices they don’t care what their children are doing?   Teachers are persistently reporting an increase of language delay when children first start school. Hardly surprising when they have been so busy watching they haven’t had time to communicate with real people and learn to talk, or the real people are too busy to look up from their screens to talk to them!  mud sculptures 21

Isn’t it common sense to conclude that if our children are spending longer in front of a screen being entertained, they are obviously spending less time doing other things, like interacting with their friends and family, playing and exploring the natural world they live in? Are we forgetting the value of this free playtime, loosing perspective on what years of evolution has perfected; how we learn?  We learn from interaction, free explorative play and personal experience not passive screen based entertainment. That should be left for a bit of relaxation at the end of an inquisitive day.

But never fear, there is a solution.  Let your older children play on their devices  but only after they have had some real life experiences.  Reconnect them to the natural world by stepping outside for a little time every day.  It can take a short time for them to truly get unplugged, but if you persevere, very quickly they find things to explore and have fun.

If you are worried about what to do and need a little inspiration, take one of our books with you as a starting point for some wonderful truly educational adventures. Ironically they even come in e-book format so you can take them out on those smart phones.  Now there is no excuse to strike a better healthier balance, let the technology take you out!


Autumn wild times



Enjoying autumn in Highland Perthshire; my half hour of wild time this morning included walking in the rain kicking bright yellow leaves as the river Lyon rushed past, and spotting a red squirrel dashing up a tree.  You never know what surprises might be in store when you escape outdoors!




it’s time to re-wild our kids with more wild time!  The UK’s biggest ever campaign to reconnect children with nature and outdoor play is being launched today by the newly formed Wild Network, as it encourages the nation’s parents to swap some of their kids’ screen time for wild time.

Swapping thirty minutes of screen time for an extra half an hour of wild time every day would decrease children’s time in front of screens by ten per cent. This could help increase levels of physical activity, alertness and ultimately improve their well-being.

This new campaign is being launched on the back of an important and compelling new documentary film, ‘Project Wild Thing’, which is being shown at over fifty cinemas across the UK from the 25 October.   Three years in the making, ‘Project Wild Thing’ takes a funny and moving look at one of the most complex issues of the age – the increasingly fragile link between children and nature.  In a bid to get his daughter and son off the sofa and outdoors, filmmaker and father David Bond appoints himself as the Marketing Director for Nature.  He wants his brand – nature – to stand out from the crowd of brands competing for their attention, and works with branding and outdoor experts to develop and launch a campaign to get children outdoors and into nature – the ultimate, free, wonder-product.

The reasons why kids, whether they live in cities or the countryside, have become disconnected from nature and the outdoors are complex. “’Project Wild Thing’ isn’t some misty eyed nostalgia for the past; we need to make more space for wild time in children’s daily routine, freeing this generation of kids to have the sort of experiences that many of us took for granted.  “It’s all about finding wildness on your doorstep and discovering the sights, sounds and smells of nature, whether in a back garden, local park or green space at the end of the road. Spending time outdoors is hugely beneficial to children and young people. Research clearly shows that it improves their health, reduces stress and boosts wellbeing.”

Going Wild is delighted to be part of The Wild Network, which is made up of more than 370 organisations, large and small, is leading a campaign calling for more wild time for every child, every day. Members of the network include the National Trust, RSPB, Play England and the NHS Sustainable Development Unit.

Andy Simpson, Chair of the Wild Network, said: “The tragic truth is that kids have lost touch with nature and the outdoors in just one generation. New research published last week illustrates the scale of the challenge with only one in five (21 per cent) children aged eight to twelve years old having a connection with nature. An extra thirty minutes of wild time every day for all under 12-year olds in the UK would be the equivalent of just three months of their childhood spent outdoors.  We want parents to see what this magical wonder-product does for their kids’ development, independence and creativity, by giving wild time a go.”

The discussion about swapping screen time for wild time will continue on twitter via the feed @wearewildthing and using the hashtag #wildtime.


Just one in five chidren connected to nature

Are you connected to nature?

We at Going Wild are often asked what evidence there is for children becoming increasingly disconnected from nature and green spaces.  A recent study from the RSPB is the latest project to find that large numbers of children in Britain are missing out on the natural world. The three-year project found that only 21% of children aged 8-12 were “connected to nature”.

For more information see