Kids spend too much time indoors watching TV and playing games BLAH BLAH BLAH. Let's cut to the chase. The headline of this press release reads as follows: "One in five schoolchildren can't tell the difference between a wasp and a bee, a study reveals today."
A cutting edge study from Aria Foods (whose brands include saturated fat-rich offerings such as Anchor, Lurpak and Cravendale) found that 21 per cent of kids aged between six and 12 didn't know what a wasp looked like. And, if you can bear to hear it, one in six mistook a wasp for a bee.
The youth of today, eh?
"Incredibly, five per cent picked 'fly' when shown a picture of a bumble bee. Children were also baffled by the difference between rodents. More than a quarter had no idea what a mouse looked like. And 12 per cent thought a heron was a FLAMINGO," it grimly adds.
The bad news gets worse, though. It's not just the kids – games are making us all stupid.
"Adults didn't fare much better in the study - with one in twenty believing trees which don't lose their leaves during winter were called CARNIVORES and less than half knew bananas grew on branches." Apparently 12 per cent of adults admit to having "no interest in the outdoors". After the snowy commute to work this morning, I can't much blame them.
So why is our country so universally stupid?
"22 per cent blame bad weather and a third said their youngsters have 'other hobbies' to keep them entertained," the doomsday study revealed. "Yet 39 per cent they are worried their children don't know enough about wildlife and 52 per cent reckon they watch too much television. And while kids spend more than two hours a day stuck in front of the box or on computer games, a quarter enjoy less than half an hour of fresh air."
Fortunately the wonderful people of Aria include a goodwill message in their illuminating release.
''Children are becoming increasingly alienated from nature and the great outdoors yet engaging with nature has been proven to have a positive impact on physical, mental and emotional wellbeing," a no doubt enthusiastic, energetic and thoroughly likeable spokesperson added.
“Our study revealed a quarter of children said they wished they spent more time outdoors, while one in five parents limit their kids to indoor activities because it's more convenient and less time-consuming. Many adults have forgotten the joy of nature – two thirds say their children spend less time playing outside then they did as a child. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming, just going for a walk in the park or growing cress on the window sill are great ways to get kids closer to nature.”
Here's the List of Evil in full, with games managing to be only the seventh evilest thing.
TOP 10 REASONS WHY KIDS LACK NATURE KNOWLEDGE
1. Hectic lifestyle
2. Kids have other hobbies
3. Too little time spent outdoors
4. Never the right weather to do anything
5. Work commitments
6. Youngsters don’t show an interest
7. Kids are more interested being stuck in front of the TV/computer games
8. Too tired by the time it’s the weekend to venture outside too far
9. I have no interest in the outdoors
10. Difficult to make learning about nature interesting