September 4, 2019
The latest entry on the endangered species list may not be missed by many adults, but children worldwide would be sad to see it vanish: It’s the imaginary friend—a human, animal, or fantasy creature that, traditionally, has been created by about 37%of youngsters at about the age of seven, according to University of Oregon researchers.
Perhaps the most famous invisible friend ever was Harvey, a six-foot rabbit that appeared in the 1950s film of the same name—and was seen only by a middle-aged man named Elwood P. Dowd, played by the actor James Stewart.
However, most adults either don’t have ethereal friends—or don’t admit to them. And today, it turns out that many children are too practical and levelheaded to play with illusory sidekicks.
At least, that’s according to a recent survey conducted by daynurseries.co.uk. According to a report by the UK newspaper The Telegraph, out of 1,000 nursery workers surveyed, 72% percent said that fewer children have invisible friends than they did five years ago
And fully 66% think they know they reason why: They place the blame on the growing prevalence of screens like iPads and cell phones, which kids can now turn to whenever they don’t know what to do with themselves.
“I think that children are not allowed to be ‘bored’ anymore,” David Wright, the owner of Paint Pots Nursery in England, told the Daily Mail, another British daily newspaper that covered the story.“When children have free time to themselves, they find something creative to do with their mind, such as forming an imaginary friend.”
But the crisis might not be as bad as it sounds. “One or two children in our nursery do have imaginary friends but they mainly come out at home, when children are alone,” Wright told the Daily Mail.
Research contact: @daynurseriesuk