Column: Reduce screen time today
By Kathleen Connelly
Last week I was grocery shopping with my 3-year-old and out of the blue she asks, “Can you buy me an iPad?” What? I laughed a little but she was serious and I think most kids are when they ask their parents for some type of electronic device.
We live in a world now that kids use computers, iPads, e-readers, TVs, video games and cellphones. Wow, that is a lot! Yes, some devices can be used for educational means and the HSE school district currently has an initiative to have each student have their own iPad. However, maybe it is all too much? If kids are using all of these electronics, when are they playing? When are they being active indoors or outdoors? I remember playing outside until our parents made us come in for dinner but today it seems that most kids are inside in front of a screen.
A study done in 2010 by the Kaiser Foundation found the following daily media use results for 8- to 18-year-olds:
Approximately 7.5 hours using entertainment media
Approximately 4.5 hours watching TV
Approximately 1.5 hours on the computer
Over an hour playing video games
Of course there is a lot of value in all of the technical advances we have made over the last 50 years but I do think our kids’, even parents’, daily activity is suffering. Can you think of a day that you or your kids didn’t have any screen time at all? So my challenge is for you to reduce screen time starting today!
Some suggestions from www.mayoclinic.com only have electronics in common areas of the house and don’t use screen time as a reward. Another suggestion which I love is to have certain times or days that there is no screen time at all. What would your kids do if there was one day a week that there was no iPad, no DSI or no TV?
If you have kids under 5-years-old, take advantage of the PlayFULL Hours programs in Fishers. Older kids can use one of the basketball courts at Holland Memorial Park. For the whole family, rent a kayak at Saxony Beach or visit the Monon Community Center in Carmel for water slides. Take the challenge and see what new adventures your family can have this summer without the TV or iPad.