Parents struggle to get kids playing outside – as they can’t tear them away from screens

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And 53 percent said a lack of Wi-Fi connection in the garden is another reason for kids getting stuck inside – as they want to carry on playing video games and streaming content.

But the poll of 1,200 mums and dads, with school-aged children, found 48 percent are also reluctant to let their youngsters venture outside – because of concerns over their safety playing unsupervised.

As a result, nearly half (48 percent) feel they aren’t getting the most out of their outdoor space.

The research was commissioned by connectivity provider TalkTalk, which has partnered with futurologist Dr James Bellini, to predict how families will be using their outdoor spaces differently in the future.

Dr James Bellini said: “Creating another room in your garden is a great way to maximise space for the family.

“With the switch to flexible working over the last few years, there has been a surge in people creating offices in the gardens.

“But there are so many other buildings like treehouses, sheds, and Wendy houses that families will soon be tapping into.

“From creating a technology games room, to an outdoor cinema – these spaces will be given a new lease of life, unlocking additional entertainment and play spaces, without the costly expense of a purpose-built building.”

The study also found one in four parents (26 percent) feel their home is crowded when kids are off school, leaving them desperate to get their youngsters out into the garden.

Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) believe having decent Wi-Fi al fresco would encourage children to play outdoors during the summer holidays, and make their homes feel less overcrowded.

But seven in ten have an outdoor building such as a summer house, shed, or treehouse – with 57 percent saying they would use it more if it had an affordable WiFi connection.

And 53 percent reckon they would work outside more often if they had a stronger outdoor signal.

Three in ten of those surveyed, via OnePoll, would like to stream movies for an outdoor screening, and 25 percent would set up Wi-Fi-enabled security cameras in the garden to monitor youngsters if their internet was better.


  1. Connected Wendy houses, treehouses, garden sheds – creating mini tech hubs for gaming, streaming etc.
  2. Wi-Fi enabled baby monitors which allow kids to play safely in the garden, whilst parents go about their work.
  3. Pop-up cinema screens – why squeeze onto the sofa when you can spread out on the lawn?
  4. Virtual babysitters will now be able to extend the fun and games into the garden.
  5. The endless possibilities for educational kids’ games – e.g. nature trails with the ability to look up insects and plants from special apps.
  6. Intelligent barbecues that provide cooking tips and tell you when the food is perfectly cooked.
  7. Vegetable beds that will alert you when produce is ready to be picked.
  8. Virtual reality-based school classes, which could feature dinosaurs and volcanos emerging from your back garden.
  9. Reactive sunshades that move with the sun.
  10. Algorithms which play music to suit weather and atmosphere.

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