Screen Time Draining Your Kids Batteries
I never used to really pay much attention to kids and their fitness levels or realize the importance of it. It is easy to say kids are kids and they shouldn’t have to worry about much. I mean they can eat candy, stay up late, and do lots of other things and the easy excuse is because they are kids, not much more is needed right?
Growing up I think of my childhood… I ate well, played video games, participated in extracurricular activites, etc. I had a great childhood and still do have childish moments because who doesn’t like being a kid right? There was never any concern or mention of health issues at least nothing brought to the fore ground or anything urgent back then. Come to think of it my parents never had any concerns either as kids. They told me stories of staying out and being active and they would return home when the street lights came on.
So if I had a great upbringing then what’s the big deal if the next generation follows suit? Why is there all of a sudden a shift in focus on this area? Well there are a few answers and now that I have children of my own I make sure I stay informed on these issues. I am a fairly new father of twin boys and the joys of parenthood are endless. There are so many moments that make me smile and a few that can make me nervous. I think one of the things you always want to do as a parent is make sure you do the right thing for your child as you want them to live the best life and have the most opportunities.
So why all the attention on kids health now? The biggest difference is simply this… technology! Kids aren’t nearly as active as they used to be and we are only seeing the repercussions now about this issue. I had my first cell phone when I was 17, it is not uncommon to have kids under 10 years old to have a cell phone now or at least have an iPod that they can access a messaging application. Children now learn off iPads in schools (which can be great in moderation) and can search the internet for anything with a laptop computer.
All this technology has made life all too convenient for children and therefore has made them lazy in some ways and reliant on others or technology to solve their problems. Childhood obesity rates are at dangerous levels and our health care system is already strained. With the baby boomers now nearing ages where healthcare is more necessary the focus has to be on making strong foundations for the future.
Here is a news story to support this point. When I find these I always save them in case I have to refer back to them.
If kids are spending on average 8 hours in front of a screen per day isn’t it time to tone it down a little bit? I mean looking back to my parents childhood where they spent maybe 30 minutes a day in front of the TV (just to watch the news, or the Beatles) and then looking even to my own childhood of watching maybe an average of 2-3 hours a day in front of the TV seeing these numbers is staggering. I mean it is to a point now where some peoples jobs are entirely based around the computer for 8 hours and then when they go home its easy to watch the news and a sports event to tack on another 3 or 4 hours. It in no way surprises me that alarms are going off for parents and teachers to show them that too much screen time ultimately leads to inactivity that will lead to health concerns. Without dragging this out too much I want to just put some simple tips for parents and kids out there to try and follow in order to help combat against excessive screen time.
- Limit your night time TV watching. Try to set a limit for yourself and don’t go past that. Most often we are in front of screens all day so setting a goal for yourself to only watch 1 hour in the evening is likely a good start.
- Plan family activities or enroll in sports. Try to do something more active with your time, doing some family activities such as camping, or hiking, or perhaps getting your youth involved in a sports team that plays a couple nights a week will minimize the time that they are “bored” and have to result in getting their latest Facebook “fix”.
- Teach the importance of fitness! Education is the greatest gift you will ever have and give. Keep yourself up to date on the recent articles and stay informed. Relaying these messages onto our youth is important so they can form good habits growing up. Be a good role model to your kids and others around you.
Overall it is not going to get any easier. Make a stand now and help change and shape the future for our children. Do you want your kids to be another statistic?
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