Shrinking playgrounds and the dull boy

Shrinking playgrounds and the dull boy

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’. This phrase aptly describes the plight of children today’.

They are seen more with their books, gadgets and video games and not on playgrounds.
Thanks to the shrinking spaces in the localities, schoolgoers and their parents also know that there’s little space or venues for their children to play and indulge in physical activities.

Costly summer camps which are restricted to just a few hours in the mornings or evenings, leave ample scope for children to turn into couch potatoes. And the access to computers and internet games or watching sports or films on the television worsens the situation even more.

Gone are the days when children used to play kho kho, gilli danda, badminton, cycling, hide-n-seek, etc., in their localities...but all that have been replaced by latest video games and gadgets.

As Bharat Chugh, a consultant at Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC), said, “Delhi is a green city and around 20 per cent of its area is green. So, we should make use of these green spaces, like we can use to walk or cycle through them. There are also many parks in the city which are reserved for weddings, which only take place twice a year. Rest of the year they remain unused. So, such parks can also have spaces dedicated to children.”

Chugh added, “We are studying many areas in Delhi which have redundant spaces and can be improvised further for Delhiites. It will also increase their quality of living. We are looking at how greens can be integrated into urban setup.”

So, other than not playing, and studying what are the children doing?

They are also binging on junk food! Neeraj Mehta, who did his PhD in Human Bio-Mechanics and Alternative Medicine and is also a fitness professional, said, “Lack of physical activity gives us the biggest challenge in physical, mental and internal growth of children. By not playing, children tend to become obese, which in future leads to diabetes. Lack of physical activities also result in poor body mechanism and height issue. Children who do not play also face issues, like, flat-foot and poor eye-sight due to watching television. So, parents should also encourage children to play outdoor games rather than buying them gadgets and video games.”

Security is another factor, which restrains parents from send their children to play outside.

“We find it unsafe to send our children to play in parks because we have seen drugs addicts and ragpickers there. The shady corners are havens for criminals. So, it is better for them to stay and play at home rather than give us tension by going to such parks,” said Manisha Sharma, a homemaker.

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