Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unsupervised Children Are More Sociable And More Active, Study Says

Date:
December 18, 2007
Source:
University College London
Summary:
Youngsters who are allowed to leave the house without an adult are more active and enjoy a richer social life than those who are constantly supervised, according to a new study.

Youngsters who are allowed to leave the house without an adult are more active and enjoy a richer social life than those who are constantly supervised, according to a study conducted at UCL.

The project helped to inform the Government's new Children's Plan and was led by Professor Roger Mackett of UCL's Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering. His team studied 330 pupils from two schools in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, all aged between 8 and 11. The children completed questionnaires, kept travel diaries, had their movements logged using GPS monitors and wore portable motion sensors to measure their speed of travel, changes in direction and the number of 'activity calories' they consumed. ('Activity calories' are those burnt during activities, rather than those used to maintain core bodily functions.)

Professor Mackett says: "We asked children whether they were allowed out without an adult and then looked at where they go and how they behave. In general, children who aren't constantly supervised tend to leave the house more often -- exploring their surroundings, playing with other children and using up more calories than their sedentary, house-bound peers."

Key findings from the paper include:

  • Children allowed out without adult supervision are more active, being found at home less often. Statistically, they are more likely to be found playing out or visiting the homes of friends than children who aren't allowed out alone.
  • Children walk faster and take a more direct route when an adult is present, but they do not use more energy than unaccompanied children. This is because unsupervised children move in a more meandering fashion as they investigate their environment and socialise with other children.
  • Access to local open space is a significant factor in determining whether boys are allowed out of the house without an adult. 71% of those with access to open space were allowed out, compared to just 51% of those without such access.
  • Of the three types of activity monitored during the study (walking, unstructured play and participation in organised clubs), walking used up the most activity calories.

Professor Mackett goes on to say: "Fears over road safety and 'stranger danger' need to be balanced against soaring levels of childhood obesity and poor health. Letting a child out to play is one of the best things a parent can do for their child's physical health and personal development.

"Allowing children to leave the house without an accompanying adult has significant benefits, but we need to design and build environments that children feel comfortable in and that parents feel confident to let them use on their own. The health benefits are clear, but without action the less tangible benefits of increased independence, self-reliance and general 'growing up' are in danger of being lost."

The paper "Children's independent movement in the local environment" was published the journal Built Environment on December 19. It was written as part of the CAPABLE project ('Children's Activities Perceptions and Behaviour in the Local Environment') which is being funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It was carried out at UCL as a joint project between the Centre for Transport Studies, the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, the Bartlett School of Planning and the Psychology Department.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University College London. "Unsupervised Children Are More Sociable And More Active, Study Says." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071218192030.htm>.
University College London. (2007, December 18). Unsupervised Children Are More Sociable And More Active, Study Says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071218192030.htm
University College London. "Unsupervised Children Are More Sociable And More Active, Study Says." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071218192030.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins