"Screens" and their use have become pretty ubiquitous among both kids and adults. Frankly, it may not be possible to completely restrict / eliminate our kids use of screens, mobile devices and other tech.
Are your kids getting too much screen time?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 2 hours is the max for children and teenagers. That includes ALL SCREENS not just television. 2 and younger? Zero screen time is recommended.
The scary thing? Kids between 8 and 18 are now averaging 7.5 hours of screen time PER DAY.
We're almost a no-screen family at home. Phones stay in the mudroom, laptops stay closed and the TV stays off until the kids are in bed.
But, when they go to friends houses they might watch TV and even in kindergarten there are assigned "educational" activities that are app-enabled.
It's become unavoidable.
However, here are some critical downsides of "screen-time" to consider:
(And, by the way, these apply to adults)
- Increased screen time correlates with childhood and adolescent obesity
- Screen time too close to bedtime inhibits both quality and quantity of sleep (and lack of sleep can lead to a host of other problems)
- Too much screen time can be a barrier to learning. This is twofold. Screens and devices can provide easy distraction from required school work and reading. Plus, it has been shown that both retention and comprehension is greater in "analog". Physical books and handwritten notes are far superior.
- When kids are interacting with a screen instead of engaging in real relationships they never develop effective social and communication skills. Furthermore, when kids get on social media too soon it can lead to aggression, anxiety, depression and perhaps even substance abuse and other risky activities.
- They'll be broke. Huh? I don't mean the cost of the devices themselves. Rather, these devices are designed to make it easy to spend month...think amazon 1-click shopping. It's best not to learn the habit of easy spending.
Here are some screen-free activity ideas:
- Music - both listening and playing
- Board games - seriously old school board games
- Walking or other forms of exercise
- Outdoor games like hoops or Frisbee
- Camping / Hiking
- Go somewhere - Library, into town, to the park, etc.
- Oh yeah...Martial Arts!
Have no doubt, this is always going to be an uphill battle. When we were kids it was TV and video games. Now it's TV, video games, tablets, phones, watches, apps and even school!
In my opinion keeping them busy with schoolwork, sports, music, martial arts etc is key. Of course make sure there is enough time for sleep and play too.
And, we're here to help.
President, Dragon Gym
"Be The Coffee."
PS. When you're ready to get you kids (and yourself) started in martial arts click the link below. All of our students get started the same way, with an orientation and intro lesson.
1. Select the "Appointment Type"
2. Select the most convenient location
3. Select the best time for you to come in for that free lesson.
It's as easy as 1-2-3!