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Encouraging Kids to See Colorado Beyond the Living Room

July 20, 2009

DENVER – For most kids in Colorado, summer break is more than half over. Many of them may have spent most of those sunny days indoors, glued to a TV or computer screen, researchers have found. National Wildlife Federation (NWF) spokesman Kevin Coyle says kids spend half as much time outdoors today as children did just two decades ago.

"On a Saturday afternoon, you really won't see any kids outdoors. They're all indoors. That's a really new phenomenon."

Research shows that over the past 20 years, the number of hours children spend outside has fallen by 50 percent, NWF spokesman Curtis Fisher adds.

"The time the average child spends plugged into electronic media every day has grown to more than six hours. This is a significant issue across our society, and it affects everyone – in urban areas, suburban areas and rural areas."

NWF has been working nationally to raise awareness about the importance of children spending more time outside. Fisher says activitites can be as simple as just exploring and observing nature, whether in the backyard or in one of the many parks throughout the state.

"Research indicates that kids who play outside are more physically active, more creative, less aggressive and develop a lifelong appreciation of nature."

NWF is encouraging kids and families to spend at least an hour a day playing outside. Outdoors groups in Colorado offer a variety of summer programs that teach children about the fun to be had hiking, swimming, bird watching and fishing.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - CO