Wednesday, 30 September 2015


1. What is IKEA Play Report? Swedish furniture giant IKEA recently published the world’s largest research study on play. They interviewed 30,000 parents and children in 12 countries (including UK, the USA, China, Russia, Brazil, India, and France) to produce a comprehensive 56-page report. This is a follow up report to the first report which was done in 2009.
2. Meaning of Play.    Play can have many meanings and many definitions. Psychologist Dr Elizabeth Hurlock summed it up well nearly sixty years ago, describing play as “Any activity engaged in for the enjoyment it gives, without consideration of the end result. It is entered into voluntarily and is lacking in external force or compulsion”.
3. Play and Emotions.  Play has an important role in children’s lives, as a way to escape difficult emotions. Piaget (1962) wrote:“We can be sure that all happenings, pleasant or unpleasant, in the child’s life, will have repercussions on its dolls.”
4. Importance of Play. As per the IKEA Report globally, 9 out of ten parents agree that play essential to both a child’s development and a child’s wellbeing and happiness. And you’re never too old: only 6% of children think they are ‘too old to play’, while 53% of parents would like to find their inner child and become playmates with their children.
5. Issue Analyzed.  The issues analyzed both globally and in India in the report are:-
(a) Parents. Whether parents are playing less or more with their children?
(b) Children. Whether Children are playing less or more and nature of this play?
(c) Family Activities. What are the main family activities that take place at home?

6. Parents. Whether parents are playing less or more with their children?
(a) Time Poor Parents. Parents who agree, “I feel I don’t have enough time to play with my children”. The highest number of parents feels they don’t have time to play with their children is in India. India: 60%; China: 57%; US: 51%; Italy: 51%; South Korea:42%; Netherlands: 33%
(b) Stressed to Enjoy Playing. Parents who agree: “When I play with my children, I am often too stressed to enjoy it”.India: 49%; China: 31%; US: 26%; South Korea: 27%; Netherlands: 16%

          (c) Time Spend by Parents with Children.
(i) Weekdays. Indian parents spend an above average 5.3 hours, second highest after Italy and Spain, at 5.9 hours, with their children on weekdays.
(ii) Weekends. On weekends however, the number dips to 8.3 hours, below the global average of 9.4 hours.
(d) Thrust On Education. The pressure of education is high among Indian Parents (87%), second to China and France (both at 88%).
(e) Education as Playtime. Parents who believe playtime should be educational.Russia: 87%; China: 85%; India: 82%: US: 55%; Sweden: 31%; Netherlands: 29%.
(f) Packed Schedule. Indian parents feel that they have packed in too many activities for children little play time at home. India: 66%; China: 27%; France: 17%; Sweden: 12%.
(g) Anxious Parents.  Indian Parents are most Anxious about their children safety. India: 75%; USA: 62%; China: 53%; South Korea: 25%; Netherlands: 24%

7. Children. Whether Children are playing less or more and nature of this play? Has the nature of play changed amongst children? Are the mounting concerns about the amount of time spend on digital devices leading to lack of play opportunities?
(a) TV . Indian children are the biggest TV watchers. 72% of 7-12 year olds, 80% of 13-18 year olds watch TV. This is the highest in the world for both the age groups. 7-12 year olds who prefer watching TV to playing with friends. India: 35%; South Korea: 25%; Netherlands: 20%; Russia: 20%; Italy: 11%.
(b) The Virtual Family. Is the virtual world shaping family ties in the real world? It would seem so, with Indian families leading the pack of 12 countries surveyed. It is particularly so among younger Indian parents (between 19 and 34) at 67% and richer parents (top one third of households by income) at 71%. Parents who agree that, “sometime in my family everyone is using their mobile devices and not talking to each other”.  India 59%; Italy; 34%; Netherlands: 25%; Russia: 15%; South Korea: 15%
(c) Media. Indian family’s usage of social media is among the highest in the world. 27% of 13-18 year olds are using it to communicate within the family, as against the global average of 15%.
(d) Gadgets as Toys. 60% of Indian parents agree ‘play can include using tablets, smartphones or computers’, among the highest in the world – the global average is 52%.
(e) Friends vs Internet and TV. 8 out 10 children would prefer to play with their friends than watch TV (19%) or use the internet (17%).
(f) Internet isn’t Evil. Wonderful tool for learning, most of the parents agree. However, a third of parents find it difficult to know how much time their child should spend on the internet.
(g) Communication With Different Context. The study demonstrates that children are communicating in the way they always have, with their families, with their friends, but they are doing so in a different context. Digital activity does not only involve play, creativity and communication through a wide variety of imaginative and challenging applications, but it can enhance children’s ability to express themselves, act out difficulties emotions and feel empowered by finding out information for themselves.
(h) Games Online and Play. Children are playing a wide variety of games online, often involving collecting, changing and adapting scenarios to suit what they want to do, and communicating with friends and family.
(i) Digital Activities are Shared Activities. Play has been replaced with a preoccupation with digital? Parents, teachers and child experts express alarm at the amount of time children are spending online, and certainly there is evidence to show that obsessive use of digital is unhealthy for children both physically and mentally. But digital can also be a shared activity. The Play Report found that 95% of UK parents report regularly using media devices as a family, and around half (52%) of parents agree ‘play can include using Tablets, smartphones or computers’. Importantly, 85% (Index: 71%) of UK parents think that home should be a place for fun and play. Increasingly it seems parents and children themselves are setting boundaries. 72% of parents and 43% of children and young people agree: ‘I think there should be times at home when we don’t use our mobile devices’.

8. Family Activities.  What are the main Family activities that take place at home.
(a) Activities of Family at Home. The activities that keep the family busy at home , Watching TV, Eating together at the table as a family, Face-to-face conversation, Games on a PC or Laptop, Board games or cards.
(b) Meal time – Family time. 69% of Indian parents say they have meals together as against 88% in Italy and Sweden and 72% in South Korea. India alongside Russia are the lowest in the world.

(c) Face to Face Communication and Play Away from Digital Devices. Digital has changed play, it can lead to creative and imaginative worlds being enacted online and it frequently includes communicating in this way with friends and family. But both children and parents are recognizing the importance of face to face communication and play away from digital devices, and the need to ensure play is “entered into voluntarily and is lacking in external force or compulsion”. This is essential for the well being of children and family life.
by Rupa Chauhan

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