Ditch all the gadgets!

Photo Neil Cross'Joe Aspinall, Nathan Eland, Alysha Dodgson and Charlotte Odgers attending the Uclan Children's Play Lab to test JamMo, which is a music-making game for mobile computers
Photo Neil Cross'Joe Aspinall, Nathan Eland, Alysha Dodgson and Charlotte Odgers attending the Uclan Children's Play Lab to test JamMo, which is a music-making game for mobile computers
0
Have your say

Remember the moment you realised that, although your dad was still running along beside you, he no longer had one steadying hand on the saddle of your bike?

And the split-second when, after jumping into the swimming pool, you discovered your mum had let down your water-wings but you hadn’t sunk like a stone?

Don't just sit there: Games and consoles can lead to a sedentary lifestyle for our children ' we have to make a conscious decision to get them out and about

Don't just sit there: Games and consoles can lead to a sedentary lifestyle for our children ' we have to make a conscious decision to get them out and about

Those decisive, defining snapshots in time, when you realised that, thanks to the support and encouragement of your parents, you could do something that had seemed so impossible...

Surely they are what childhoods are made of?

Those glory moments, they infuse us with the courage and confidence to believe we can do it if we try, each and every time life chucks us in at the deep end, or nicks our stabilisers.

But impossible though it is for anyone of my generation to understand, such times are going by the by.

In Rotherham – my poor, beleaguered home town where, I promise you, decent, hard-working, solvent people are successfully rearing their kids – one in ten children haven’t learned how to ride a bike and 15 per cent can’t swim.

Their ages range from six to 15.

How tragic is it that some kids have almost got to adulthood without ever having the thrill of standing high on the pedals and free-wheeling down a hill, or chopping their way through the waves of a foaming sea?

The fact that almost a quarter of these kids have also never run 400 metres is obviously down to the decline in sport in schools.

But the reason why they can’t ride a bike is because a third haven’t got one. And that’s down to parental choice, not poverty – two thirds of them have got mobile phones and 75 per cent of them have got computer games consoles.

The survey was carried out by Tata Steel, whose factories employ many a Rotherham parent. Tata is organising summer sports sessions where kids will learn how to swim, ride a bike and run the 400 metres.

Good news. Because it’s all going pear-shaped.

The next generation WILL be pear-shaped.

Technology is turning their worlds robotic and sedentary and we – us stupid, stupid parents – are unwittingly encouraging it.

I thought I was being a good mother when I bought my son a telly for his bedroom. His dad thought he was being the best dad when he bought him his first Playstation, then a laptop.

Although we DID teach our son to swim and to ride a bike and his dad instilled in him a love of football, we over-indulged him with all the electronic paraphernalia a boy could beg for.

I wish to God we had said no and pushed him off to some running club. He’s an adult now, but he would be a fitter and more competitive one as a result, I’m sure.

It’s going to get much worse, though. As our internet addiction increases and technology advances, there will be less and less for kids to leave the house for.

Take the recent announcement by some of the world’s biggest movie-makers. They are to start releasing films as home videos while they’re still doing the rounds at the cinema.

That’s the beginning of the end for trips to the pictures.

At least kids had to walk from the car park.