Celebrities support The Wild Network campaign

Latest update 29.11.2013 09:39

‘Wild Things’ support campaign to get kids outdoors.

An X-factor winner, two BBC Autumnwatch presenters and an Arsenal and England football legend have thrown their weight behind the newly-formed Wild Network campaign to encourage the nation’s parents to swap their kids’ screen time for wild time.

The Wild Network today reached a milestone of 1,000 member organisations – all pledging to encourage kids to play outside more and reconnect with the natural world on our doorsteps.

Who's involved:
JB Gill from the band JLS, Michaela Strachan, Chris Packham and Ian Wright have joined hundreds of organisations and thousands of individuals to become part of a movement to reconnect kids with nature and outdoor play.

Farmer and member of JLS JB Gill said: 'I love Project Wild Thing! It's so important for kids to get outside and learn about an environment which should NOT be alien to them.

'Whether it's farming or camping, walking or mountain climbing all of these things provide essential experiences to children and gives them a broader perspective on life than watching the same thing on a screen is unable to do.'

TV Presenter and Naturalist, Chris Packham, said: 'The love that fuels a lifetime’s interest in wild things comes from the heart not the hard drive and what ignites it is contact.

'The tickle of tadpoles on the palm of a tiny hand, the surprising shriek of an urban fox or the smell of a wet woodland on a misty morning, all free, all still available, all just around your corner. Please don't deny your children a taste of wildlife.'

What is the impact?
Children are spending on average four and a half hours every day looking at screens and with the arrival of the £49 tablet computer in time for Christmas, it’s likely that this figure will continue to rise.

New research is demonstrating the impact of too much screen time and an inactive lifestyle on the health and wellbeing of children.

Researchers at Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board have found that more than two thirds of primary school children are suffering from back and neck pain because of too much screen time.

A study by University College London has shown that the increasingly sedentary lifestyles that children are leading is increasing their resting heart rates with a potentially serious knock-on impact on their health later in life.

The Chief Medical Officer in England, Professor Dame Sally Davies has even raised the prospect of a return of rickets as children have a lack of vitamin D, the best source of which is sunshine.

Great response to the Wild Network
Helen Meech, our assistant director for external affairs said: 'We're delighted by the fantastic response to the Wild Network and are committed to reconnecting kids with nature, but realise we can't do this alone. It's great to see so many organisations and individuals committing time, energy and resources to help make the movement work, and we're looking forward to working with them to give all kids a wild time.'