Computer Games or Swimming Lessons?

Parents are being urged to get their kids swimming after shocking international research revealed more under 5s are more likely to be able to play computer games than being able to swim.

The ASA, the National Governing Body swimming in England, is particularly worried about this trend, revealed in AVG's Digital Diaries global research, especially as their findings include children from the UK.

The research asked mothers, all with children aged two to five years, to rank a list of computer and traditional life skills according to how early their children had mastered them.

It showed nearly six in ten children (58%) know how to play a computer game but only two in ten know how to swim (20%).

Jon Glenn, the ASA’s Head of Learn to Swim, said: “This new research is worrying because we urge parents to get their children in the water from six months old.  Two to five years is the ideal age for children to learn to be confident and have fun in the pool.

“Drowning is also the third most common cause of accidental death for children in the UK and although most children learn to swim at primary school, this could be too late.

“I appreciate parents have lots of demands on their time but I’d urge them to put learning to swim, or just going to the pool to have fun, high on their priority list for their under fives. Swimming is also a lot healthier for their youngster than sitting in front of a computer.”

Swimming is England's number one particiapation sport, but encouraging the next generation to learn to swim is increasingly difficult, especially given the pressures on public facilities nationwide.