Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Concerned with safety, hovering 'helicopter parents' can impede child’s ability to play, study shows

Date:
September 8, 2011
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
Parental safety concerns may prevent children from getting good exercise, according to a new study that examined how families use neighborhood parks.

Parental safety concerns may prevent children from getting good exercise, according to a new North Carolina State University study that examined how families use neighborhood parks.

Results from the study suggest that children who were monitored too closely by hovering "helicopter" parents were less likely to engage in higher levels of physical activity.

"It's a catch-22 for today's parents, unfortunately. Many parents are worried about the safety of their children, so they tend to hover," says Dr. Jason Bocarro, associate professor of parks, recreation and tourism management at NC State. "The worry is -- especially as we are seeing childhood obesity become an epidemic in this country -- hovering is keeping kids from running around and playing with their friends and neighbors, and instead maybe sitting in front of the computer or television."

Based on these findings, researchers including Robin Moore, professor of landscape architecture and director of the Natural Learning Initiative at NC State, hope to provide guidance to parks and recreation departments and park designers about ways to better design public parks. "If children's play environments are designed for the whole family with comfortable, shady places to sit and observe kids playing from a distance, parents may be less inclined to 'helicopter' and impede spontaneous play -- which can also be increased by providing lots of environmental choice and diversity," Moore says.

The research showed that formal programs and facilities -- like soccer programs or basketball courts -- increase the likelihood of children ages five and up engaging in a higher level of activity. Also, as any school teacher can tell you, the presence of even one or two children with higher physical activity levels will increase those levels in other kids. The study also found that girls were less likely to be observed in parks, and less likely to be observed in higher levels of physical activity.

A group of 16 trained observers -- undergraduate and graduate students from NC State -- systematically examined 20 neighborhood parks in Durham, N.C. from 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. for an 8-week period to learn how families use park facilities. While scanning different areas in the park, the researchers counted the children, recorded their gender and apparent age group (0-5, 6-12 and 13-18), and coded their activity level as sedentary, moderately active or vigorously active. Making note of the differences in age gave researchers more sensitive data, since they were able to assess how different areas of the park meet the needs of different age groups.

"We chose to study parks because they have been identified by studies as critical spaces within communities to help children stay active. They are free and accessible and provide an opportunity to engage underserved and lower-income populations, whom data have shown have a higher likelihood of being classified as 'inactive' and obese," Bocarro says. "So are public parks even attracting kids? If not, what things would draw kids in? This research will help us determine what activities and programs we can implement to make our public parks and recreational facilities places where people -- especially children -- want to spend their free time."

An article describing the research appears in the September issue of the American Journal for Preventive Medicine. Dr. Myron Floyd, professor of parks, recreation and tourism management, served as co-principal investigator of the study and lead author on the paper.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded the two-year study. Other NC State contributors were Dr. William Smith, associate professor of sociology and anthropology, Dr. Perver Baran, research associate professor of parks, recreation and tourism management, and Dr. Nilda Cosco, research associate professor and education specialist for the Natural Learning Initiative.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Myron F. Floyd, Jason N. Bocarro, William R. Smith, Perver K. Baran, Robin C. Moore, Nilda G. Cosco, Michael B. Edwards, Luis J. Suau, Kunsheng Fang. Park-Based Physical Activity Among Children and Adolescents. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2011; 41 (3): 258 DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2011.04.013

Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "Concerned with safety, hovering 'helicopter parents' can impede child’s ability to play, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110907124406.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2011, September 8). Concerned with safety, hovering 'helicopter parents' can impede child’s ability to play, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110907124406.htm
North Carolina State University. "Concerned with safety, hovering 'helicopter parents' can impede child’s ability to play, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110907124406.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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