PALO ALTO, Calif. — Parents are concerned that their children are not playing outside, and they are willing to pay a lot of extra money for a house in a better neighborhood. That’s the conclusion of a new survey published on, an online community for parents who want their children to play outside in their neighborhoods.

Two thirds said they would move to a house with substantially better play opportunities for their children, and they would pay tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars extra for those houses. Almost 50% of parents said they would pay over $50,000, and over 15% said they would pay over $200,000.

They survey also found that “school district” and “type of street” were the two most important neighborhood- and child-related considerations that parents used when buying their present home. However many complained that the weren’t able to find out how many children were in the neighborhood or if those children played outside prior to buying their house.

“Many parents are dissatisfied with their current neighborhoods because their kids aren’t playing there,” said Mike Lanza, CEO of Playborhood, the parent company of, “but they don’t know how to find better ones. The real estate industry is failing them.”

Playborhood recently launched its first Playborhood Local site for Palo Alto and Menlo Park, CA, to help parents there create more play opportunities for their children. The company plans to launch other Playborhood Local sites for many other American communities in 2008.

“Childhood as we parents experienced it decades ago is vanishing in America,” said Lanza. “Kids used to play on their own in their neighborhoods every day.” Over 80% of all children in the United States never play in their neighborhoods without adults present, according to a the survey. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the figure is even higher – over 90%.

Today, in their free time, most children either stay inside in front of screens – TVs or computers – or they are driven around to adult-organized activities by their parents. Experts such as Kenneth Ginsburg of the American Academy of Pediatrics argue that free play – i.e. play that is driven by children, not adults – is essential to children’s development, and they regret the marked decrease in free play experienced by children in America.

The Playborhood survey finds that parents are also very concerned by this. Over 80% expressed a desire that their children’s play time increase in the coming years.

To see Playborhood online, visit or Playborhood Palo Alto / Menlo Park at .

[tags]online community for parents, California parenting social network, Bay Area real estate survey, Playborhood web portal[/tags]