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Helicopter parents? Recent report says kids should play unsupervised

WATCH: Participaction says Canadian children are not getting the physical activity they need, and parents could be a part of the problem. Blake Lough reports.

Participaction says Canadian children are not getting the physical activity they need, and parents could be part of the problem. According to their latest report, only 9% of kids aged 5 to 17 got the 60 minutes per day of physical activity they need, resulting in a failing grade of D minus.

The report also suggests that the reason the grade is so low is that parents fear for their children’s safety too much.

“I don’t think it’s as safe as it used to be,” said one father at Henderson Lake Park. “There’s a lot more people out there looking to take advantage of kids and it sickens me to know that people are out there doing that.”

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“The perception of the environment being more unsafe than it used to be is really a key barrier to letting kids go out and play,” said Susan Eymann, Executive of the Lethbridge Sports Council.

But the report says the benefits far outweigh the risks. Kids who are able to play outside unsupervised develop better motor skills, social behavior, independence and conflict resolution skills, according to Participaction. They also get an average of 20 more minutes of exercise each day.

It’s a philsophy that has caught on with some parents.

“I like to let my kids roam around and explore nature,” said a mother of two. “As long as it’s not physically or emotionally or spiritually harmful I kind of let my kids figure out things for themselves.”

“All of our community wants our children to be safe but there is healthy risk taking and that is a life long skill,” said Eymann.