Parents in Surrey are outraged over a new interactive play park that was installed at the Guildford Town Centre this weekend.
The new park is nature themed, but is missing any slides, monkey bars or tunnels for kids to play on. Instead, the park is equipped with iPad stations, where children can play interactive games.
Some parents are finding the lack of elements encouraging active play disappointing. They claim their children are not socializing with each other and end up playing by themselves.
Very disappointed that you would have a play area to help prevent the development of children by preventing their motor skills development and their social skills development, Tara LeBlanc wrote on the mall’s Facebook page. I expected more especially with all the information out their saying to limit the exposure to technology especially kids under five who you have geared the play area for.
If I wanted my kids to play on an iPad, they can do that at home, said another mall user Alexandria Pezzolesi.
The mall administration replied to the wave of criticism, saying:
The Interactive Play Park is intended for quiet play, so it does not have things to climb or slides. It is often difficult to ensure everyone abides by the rules and we don’t want anyone to get hurt.
Petra Barker with the mall told Global News they had to remove the old play park for redevelopment. They have now donated it to the Guildford Recreation Centre, just across the street from the mall, for anyone to play at.
She says the new play park design encourages a more hands-on, quiet play.
“We decided we wanted to do something different,” says Barker. “A little bit new and unique, and we thought it was the way to go.”
Barker says they have no plans to redesign the park.
“At this point, it’s only been a couple of days,” she says. “We would not be doing anything at this point.”