DID you see that scientific report yesterday that was devastating in its assessment of Scotland’s youngsters?

Effectively the researchers were saying that our children spend too much time on their smart phones and computers and long term that leads to problems of obesity and lack of fitness.

They could’ve added that an average of two hours a day on a phone, tablet or laptop screen can make some children mentally ill, and many parents rightly fear the influence of social media and the Internet, not to mention the darker elements which are buried there.

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The Kicker is not one of those people who believes that we can bring back the halcyon days when children could play in the streets quite safely and organise mass bounce games of football that often took up the entire length of road.

For a start, there are just too many cars on the road, and any child playing on the streets is likely to be arrested and reported to social services.

The answer is not to go backwards but to look forwards and create a culture where football is not seen as a chore, as so many children do, but as something worth playing.

That involves the whole of football and the education system plus all the local authorities and the Scottish Government in a joint effort to promote football as a healthy pastime which can be enjoyed by boys and girls alike.

In one of his last interviews, the late great Hibs manager Eddie Turnbull spoke of his joy at seeing youngsters out playing on a Sunday morning in the local park, every one of them kitted out in a full strip and with proper boots provided for, in the main, by the club that he was watching.

Eddie had it right. Kids do not want to be playing out in the streets or on muddy pitches in the pouring rain – any computer game would beat that hands down.

What we need are more indoor facilities, including child-sized pitches with good 4 or 5G surfaces, and we need professional coaches to make sure that children first of all enjoy playing football, and if they are good at it, be encouraged to develop their talent.

It doesn’t take a brain the size of a planet to work out that if you are going to make football – or any sport –more attractive to young people then you really have to work at it.

The football authorities have tried and there has been backing for grassroots football for many years, but clearly it isn’t working if we still have such problems with children.

Nor should it just be football that children are encouraged to take up, though the national sport is the main one that can actually bring youngsters on to a new level of fitness and health more quickly than any other.

Pardon the cynicism, but there are no votes in kids football as we approach the general election. Watch the political parties dart for cover in the face of evidence that football and sport in general, is not getting the support that is needed to stop kids becoming a lost generation addicted tablet of the electronic variety.

It’s not too late for football to change the game, is it?