Lifestyle

Sad news, the imaginary friend is becoming extinct

We are sad to say that imaginary friends may no longer exist in the not so distant future.

According to a U.K. survey from Day Nurseries out of 1,000 nursery workers surveyed, 72 percent said that fewer children have invisible friends than they did five years ago.


Sad news, the imaginary friend is now becoming extinct

Two-thirds of those surveyed placed the blame on the growing use of screens like iPads. Too much screentime has reduced our children’s capacity for imagination.

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“I think that children are not allowed to be ‘bored’ anymore,” said David Wright, the owner of Paint Pots Nursery in England. “When children have free time to themselves, they find something creative to do with their mind, such as forming an imaginary friend.”

In 2001, almost half of British children had imaginary friends, but now that has dropped down to as little as 17%.

Why we care

Imaginary friends rock! They help children understand the world, or learn to withdraw from it in a healthy way. They can even act as a tool to allow toddlers to role-play.

An imaginary friend can also be used as a form of self-soothing during a big change, such as adjusting to a new home or sibling.

Girl playing with plane

Having an imaginary friend used to be common in preschoolers and beyond.

According to a 2004 study by University of Washington and University of Oregon psychologists, by the age of seven, 65 percent of children had an imaginary companion at some point. It was often a teddy bear that can talk or sometimes an invisible friend.

Research indicates eldest or only children were more likely to invent imaginary friends.

Children with imaginary companions (either invisible friends or objects) tend to be less shy, engage in more laughing and smiling with peers, and do better at tasks involving imagining how someone else might think.

Did your child have an imaginary friend?

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tracy-hardy
written by:

Tracy Hardy

Tracy has been a digital content producer for the past 9 years. Mum of two boys, slowly finding her way through the tween and teen years at the same time. Beach lover. Terrible housekeeper. Tea drinker. Wine sipper, who sadly can't eat cheese or ice cream. Life is cruel!