"Screens" and their use have become pretty ubiquitous among both kids and adults. With virtual schooling, it has become possible to completely restrict/eliminate our kids' use of screens, mobile devices, and other tech.
We were a very low-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 now, with remote learning, the kids are on screens 6-8 hours a day. Plus, they'll have additional assignments for homework!
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 an 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 money...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 the 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 your kids (and yourself) started in martial arts click the link below. All of our students get started the same way, with our 3-class quick start program.
1. Check out the class schedules for your child's age group
2. Select the most convenient location
3. Select the best time for you to come in for that first lesson.
It's as easy as 1-2-3!