Children of this technological age are accustomed to digital devices. Parents play a crucial role in shaping screen time rules and promoting the physical activities of their kids. Adolescents are naturally active and possess a drive for increased physical activity. However, with an explosion of new media and gadgets, children are spending significant time in front of their television screens and smartphones.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reveals that in the U.S, children spend one-third of their time using smart devices. The smartphone usage of kids between 12 to 18 has skyrocketed in recent years with 45% of teens owning cell phones.
The burning question is that technological exposure is impacting children’s behavior in an unhealthy manner. Since previous generations of adolescents spent much time reading in libraries and exploring nature, today’s children consume digital resources and visual simulations that reduce their physical activity to none.
Why Reducing Screen Time is Important?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), children should play more and sit less to grow up healthy. This implies adolescents having access to different screens at home and school have become digital creatures that discourage physical activity.
Controlling the screen time of children is important because according to experts, the general recommendation for screen time for kids is 2 hours per day. Sadly, there is no universal guidance available for parents to streamline the physical activity and screen time of adolescents. However, excessive multimedia and screen time can increase sleep and attention problems in kids.
Looking constantly at screens also configures children’s brains to think and act digitally. It discourages physical activity. Time spent sitting using technology means no active outdoor playtime or interaction.
Since unhealthier behaviors are expected by adolescents due to screen times, it is time for parents to rethink their strategy to help children balance screen time and physical activities. The fact remains that the time spent being more physically active is more beneficial for kids’ overall wellbeing. It is time for adolescents to reduce screen time and get active. But how can parents and caregivers set rules to limit children’s time spent on screens and televisions?
Here are some recommendations for parents to promote healthy behaviors in digitally-obsessed kids.
Talk to Kids About Benefits of An Active Lifestyle
As a caring parent, you must approach your kids and talk to them about the importance of physical activity. If you have adolescents obsessed with social media and video games, you must help them realize screen time is harmful to them. They should only use digital devices for homework or other important assignments. It is more important for their physical health to become active.
Set a Good Example to Reduce Screen Time of Adolescents
Parents are always role models for their young ones. If they spend countless hours scrolling through their smartphone screens or use social media excessively, what impact they can have on their kids?
Kids will surely follow parents’ footsteps and spend limitless hours in front of digital screens. You need to become a good role model for your children to limit their screen times to no more than a few hours per day. If you show them a wrong attitude, they are more likely to do the same.
Teach Kids to Remain Active During Screen Time
For example, while watching television, you can do yoga or stretching exercises together with kids. Watching your early morning TV show will become more fun when you walk on a treadmill or lift dumbbells or do pushups.
Challenge your kids to do more bicep reps during TV commercial breaks and encourage them to drink water. This will enhance their physical activity and allow them to become more active while sticking to the television screen.
Create a Screen-Free Living Room for Kids
Putting a large LCD television screen in your adolescent’s room can be disastrous for their physical health. They can develop negative habits and watch TV all night long. Being glued to screens will keep them spending valuable time with their parents and develop mental illnesses.
This means as a savvy parent, you should refrain from putting a television set or an LCD in your children’s bedroom. Create a screen-free bedroom environment to help them get up early for exercise or jogging.
Family time is the best time for kids to learn useful things to improve their health. However, excessive screen time has turned children into digital zombies with or little no physical activity. It is time for parents to step up and establish better screen time and physical activity rules to improve adolescents’ health.
If children are still glued to their screens after setting a good physical activity plan, parents can use a software such as kids monitoring app to control their screen time remotely.