Why sport is causing a negative impact on our children

What traditionally would be considered healthy for our children has now been discovered to be taken into caution

Historically parents would not question nor be concerned when asked if their child should be playing sport. Studies are now showing how children playing organised sport at a young age is making a negative impact.

Interviews with 16 parents of children aged between 3-5 years evaluated why parents are motivating their children in competitive sports at such a young age.

Author Emilea Mysko studying children's sport participation and parental role modelling believes cultural and social aspects are important to motivating their children to participate.

"What this and other studies have found is that parents need to be well informed about the short and long-term benefits and risks of deciding to join a competitive sport, particularly at a young age," she says.

"Parents and carers need to look past the social norms, sporting group and government sporting campaigns and consider whether to enrol their child into an organised sports program."

Despite the increase in children's health and well-being when they play sports, early participation has discovered that apart from the increased rate of injury that children tend to drop out when in their mid-to-late childhood stage.

Co-author Associate Professor and expert in the field of sports parenting Sam Elliott, states that there are many negative impacts and outcomes to be considered in youth sports.

"On the one hand, we can think early sport involvement, if carefully delivered, can offer benefits for children," he says.

"But on the other hand, starting children in competitive sport from as young as three years - often dubbed the 'Tiger Woods effect' - is associated with several potential risks now and into the future."

Another previous study found children who participate before six years of age have an increased likelihood to drop out of organised sport within four years.

It raises the question as to whether parents should consider not making their children play sports at a young age for their benefit.