In an ever-growing technological world, our research shows that over a quarter (28%) of children struggle to cope without an electronic device and 26% of children would rather ask to watch TV than spend time playing independently. 63% of parents stated that electronic devices are the biggest barrier when it comes to their children playing alone.
With socialising and communication being tested as a result of COVID-19, this research shows 26% of parents admitting that their child’s lack of independent play skills has become even more apparent during the lockdown. Parents and children are facing bigger and unprecedented challenges during this pandemic. Over a third of respondents stated their children have struggled to play independently without the help of a device or stimulation and a quarter (24%) said their children’s inability to play on their own has caused them stress during the lockdown.
To help encourage young people and their parents to free play and use their imagination, the IET has created #STEMintoSummer with a package of activities for children to use over the summer months. The activities encourage creativity and fun whilst helping to develop Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills.
Dr Peter Bonfield, President of the IET, said: “I’ve always felt very passionate about our role in inspiring the next generation of inventors. We want to help equip parents with STEM resources, to better support and encourage their children to take part in free play and making things this summer.
“Exciting young people about STEM and its endless possibilities will set them on a path that could lead to a fulfilling and rewarding career in engineering and technology, helping us engineer a better world for future grandchildren and their grandchildren.”
To highlight the importance of technology and keeping the industry of innovation alive, the report also reveals some of the incredible inventions we can expect to see in the next 30 years:
- Sentient homes
- Social robots
- Self-driving everything
- Robotic clothing
- Intelligent food
- Connected contact lenses
- Quantum computers
- Programmable DNA
- Cheap space Flights
- Home power plants
Download the full report Virtually Reality - How children’s imagination today will shape tomorrow [PDF, 1,922KB]
For more information about our Engineer a Better World campaign, visit our website.