1. ITV Report

Children 'have less freedom than 40 years ago'

Claire and Kyle took part in an episode of Tonight about parents allowing their children to play out alone. Photo: ITV/Good Morning Britain

A mother who took part in an ITV documentary about children playing out by themselves told Good Morning Britain that before the show her 10-year-old son had "literally never been anywhere without me, never."

"He'd never played out, never even been out on a bike," Claire, from Greater Manchester, added.

She is not alone in her fears - parents are increasingly too afraid to let their children go to the park or outside to play by themselves, an investigation by ITV's Tonight programme has found.

A survey of 2,000 parents across the UK conducted for the show found almost half think their children face greater risks than they did.

The findings of research spanning four decades echo this result, revealing today's children have less freedom than previous generations.

However, official statistics suggest children nowadays are in less, not more, danger.

Child abductions, which Claire flags as a key fear, have fallen from 1,035 in 2004/5 to 561 in 2010, according to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.

Psychologist Emma Kenny said playing out by themselves will help children to be more successful in the future. Credit: ITV/Good Morning Britain

By not letting their children out to play by themselves, parents are also creating risks because their children don't develop resilience, psychologist Emma Kenny told GMB.

Resilience is a key need if you're going to live a happy healthy life in the future.

– Emma Kenny

Kyle, Claire's son, said he is pleased his mother feels able to let him play out by himself now.

It is definitely good to play with your friends because say when you back to school you can say 'do you remember when we did this' and 'do you remember when we did that.'

– Kyle, 10

Watch: Tonight: Do You Let Your Kids Play Out? on ITV tonight at 7.30pm