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Genomics Forum · News

“Could too little play-time harm children and society?” experts set to debate



Pat Kane joined by other specialists in play, at Edinburgh International Science Festival event.


Pat Kane – author of The Play Ethic and frontman of celebrated Scottish band Hue and Cry – will be part of a panel of experts debating the importance of play to human development and the health of our society, at an event forming part of the 2013 Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Taking place on Wednesday 27 March at Teviot Row Debating Hall, will be introduced by Aileen Campbell MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Children and Young People.

The event will consider recent scientific research that suggests the amount and quality of play experienced by a child could have an important impact upon their development and behaviour in later life, and even potentially influence mechanisms that govern rates of ageing.

Other panellists joining the debate include Professor Patrick Bateson - Emeritus Professor of Ethology, University of Cambridge, Wendy Russell - Senior Lecturer, Play & Playwork, University of Gloucestershire, and Alex Fleetwood - Director/Founder of play consultancy, Hide&Seek Productions.

Pat Kane has produced the Why We Play event as part of his work as a Bright Ideas Visiting Research Fellow at the ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum.

Speaking in advance of the Why We Play event, Pat Kane said:

“There is a strong scientific argument that play has an important role in public health, being shown to help the neurological and physiological development of children. However, recent advances in the science of epigenetics – which literally means ‘beyond the genes’ – indicate that the way in which children are brought up can have a significant influence on the degree to which their genes are turned on or off, which may have life-long impacts.

“Play is obviously vital to the development of young people, but I also think it has an important role in later life. For adults, genuine playfulness is not merely about leisure – something you do after the daily grind – it can have a radical impact upon how we view the time, space and resources in our lives.”

Commenting on her attendance at the event, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Children and Young People, Aileen Campbell MSP, said:

“Play is an important part of a child’s development. That’s why last year the Scottish Government announced Scotland’s first ever National Play Strategy, supported with £3 million funding to provide opportunities and spaces for play in local communities across the country.

“The Why We Play event is a very welcome contribution to this year’s Edinburgh International Science Festival. We know it is important that children undertake quality play as part of their healthy development and research suggests that play and recreation also have benefits later in life.”


Why We Play