Free Play Analysis

2277 Words 10 Pages
This paper will be exploring the notion of changing children’s play in western societies and will examine whether this shift is experienced in other nations across the globe. It is widely believed in western society that the type of play that children engage in the 21st century is different to generations before them. Children are spending less time participating in unstructured, ‘free play’ outdoors and more time inside in structured play under the supervision of adults (Carver, Timperio & Crawford, 2008). ‘Free play’ is defined as activities which are child-initiated, involving the child’s imagination, which is often situated outdoors and have minimal adult guidance (Frohlich, Alexander & Fusco, 2012). In contrast to the physical outdoor …show more content…
Lee, Takenaka and Kanosue (2015) ran focus groups with 60 children in Japan and found that the children cited pressure from their parents for academic achievement limited the time they had available for free play. Therefore, parental concerns are affecting children’s free play in both western and Japanese society, but for different reasons. Additionally, in contrast to western children spending their after school hours playing inside at home, many Japanese students are still engaging in study after school hours. Do Rosario (1992) suggests that many Japanese students are attending ‘Jukus’ (evening and weekend schools) to increase their academic performance and this is restricting the time they have for free play. Therefore, whilst western and South African children have experienced changes in free play, changes in the nature of play may be more pronounced in Japan, as Japanese children may have restricted opportunities for any type of play, due to parental interests in their …show more content…
Witten et al. (2013) conducted focus groups with 68 parents in New Zealand and found that these parents recalled their childhood as freedom, safer, and residing in more community-minded neighbourhoods. Therefore, the nature of children’s play may have changed due to changes in parental conceptions of safety and community links in their local neighbourhood. On the other hand, these focus groups required participants to remember their childhood in the past. Retrospective recall may be inaccurate, and nostalgia and generational bias may affect the reliability of the information. However, these parents also expressed how contemporary children may have more access to free play, as many of the parents engaged in child labour and had fewer material and non-material resources for play. Therefore, factors other than community safety may have contributed towards the changing nature of children’s play in western societies. Similarly, intergenerational differences in play have been reported in Japan. Kinoshita (2009) studied three generations in 1981 to 1984 and then 20 children in 2005 to ascertain the changing nature of play in Japan. She found that in comparison to previous generations in Japan, contemporary Japanese children had fewer opportunities to play in nature, play spaces in general had

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