15 pct of Dutch kids never play outside

15 percent of Dutch children never play outside. This is especially true for the kids of highly educated parents living in the Randstad area, according to a representative study by Jantje Beton - a charity focused on getting children to play outside, AD reports.

Jantje Beton calls the findings very worrying. That children between the ages of 4 and 14 play outside less and less has been known for years. But that 1 in 7 spend all their playtime indoors is new. "We find these figures shocking. We knew that some children play outside very little, but never..." director Dave Ensberg-Kleijkers said to the newspaper. 

Highly educated parents in the Randstad area in particular have a hard time getting their children outside. The researchers found that these parents do not have enough time to actively encourage their children to go outside. They also often let their kids decide for themselves how to spend playtime. "We see that these parents are more protective of their child and didn't play outside much when they were young. If you do not have that experience yourself, you encourage your child less", Ensberg-Keijkers said.

One of the results of never playing outside, according to Jantje Beton, is that kids don't make friends in the neighborhood. Of the kids who always play inside, 42 percent said the often play with one or both parents, 63 percent said they often play alone, and a third said they play with a friend. 

Scientific studies show that free outdoor play is important for a child's development, according to AD. It improves their motor skills, their creativity, and their problem solving skills. Outdoor play is also good for children's health - they are less likely to have weight problems or heart problems later on in life because they get in more exercise.