Teenagers should ditch their smartphones and ‘get outdoors’, urges Education Secretary – The Sun

LAZY teens were last night urged to ditch their smartphones and “get outdoors” by the Education Secretary.

Damian Hinds marked the start of the summer holidays by blasting the nation’s social media obsession.

In an ambitious ‘call to arms’ for parents, he called for families to get out and about, build dens or even just go for a walk.

It came as the Department for Education launched a ‘SummerOutdoors’ campaign that will suggest “free or low cost options” to keep children entertained – without “being distracted” by video games.

Mr Hinds – who cut back on phone use earlier this year – said: “We will all have fond memories of the summer holidays – adventuring and playing out with friends.

But all too often these days the temptation is for children to play video games, binge on boxsets or only socialise online.”

“I really want to inspire children and families to explore the outdoors.”


It’s the latest move by Mr Hinds to tackle the explosion in the amount of time Brits spend glued to their iPhones and iPads.

Earlier this month he urged parents to put their smartphones down the talk with their kids face-to-face.

He warned that keeping up social media and work emails stopped mums and dads from chatting to their offspring.

Revealing his own vow to put the phone away last December, he said: “We can be too busy finding out what’s going on miles away to pay attention to those in front of us.”

Shock findings earlier this year revealed Britain’s youngsters were turning into a generation of web addicts. Ofcom revealed seven in ten children takew their phone to bed and even under-5s were spending hours online.

A fifth of children aged between 8-to-12 are on social media – despite a supposed ban on under-13s.

A poll yesterday revealed parents are dreading the summer hols. Some two-thirds – 61 per cent – said they wished the summer break could be shorter given the pressure to entertain the kids and the cost of days out.

Explore Learning chief Charlotte Gater suggested breaking the boredom by encouraging younger kids to make a scrapbook of their summer break. She added: “Help them cherish the memories."

Department for Education's five-point plan for an active summer:

  • Sport – which includes competitive sport and other activities, such as running, martial arts, swimming and purposeful recreational activities, such as rock climbing, hiking, orienteering, yoga or cycling.
  • Creativity – this involves all creative activities from coding, arts and crafts, writing, graphic design, film making and music composition.
  • Performing – activities could include dance, theatre and drama, musical performance, choir, debating or public speaking.
  • Volunteering & Membership – brings together teams, practical action in the service of others or groups, such as volunteering, getting involved in the #iwill campaign, litter-picking, fundraising, any structured youth programmes or uniformed groups like Guides, Scouts, Cadets and Duke of Edinburgh.
  • World of work – practical experience of the world of work, work experience or entrepreneurship. For primary age children, this may involve opportunities to meet role models from different jobs

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