Computers Are Ruining Kids’ Health. What Can You Do?
If you haven’t heard this statistic, it’s going to shock you:
Children between the ages of 5 and 16 spend an average of six and a half hours a day in front of a screen.
And they haven’t even started working yet! How can this be? 10 years ago, kids were pretty addicted to the television. The average time spent in front of a screen in 2006 was three hours a day.
In 2016, add smartphones, tablets and computers to the mix, and you have a recipe for some pretty nasty side effects long term.
Your Child’s Development
Obviously, sitting hunched over a screen isn’t going to do your child’s posture any good. Whether they’re on an iPad or a desktop, the position requires them to look down. This is a killer on the neck and shoulders.
They might not experience any problems right now (the joys of youth) but in many cases the damage will manifest itself later on in life. The accumulative negative effects of continued bad posture begin to take their toll in your thirties and forties. But before you get all depressed about aging:
Loss of flexibility isn’t necessarily an age thing. It’s basically an accumulative sitting in a poor position thing.
So after a long time of being over-sedentary, your body starts to change and become less mobile. You’ll end up with a jutted forward head and tightness around the hips and waist that can really impact your lower back.
Apart from postural problems, too much screen time can be detrimental in other ways. It can lead to your child putting on excess weight, having problems sleeping, or even cause them to feel isolated from their friends. If you’re not careful about how you balance that out, it can lead to unhealthy development.
What You Can Do About It
Well, you can definitely try to limit your child’s screen time if you think they’re getting too many on-screen hours. But, it’s not always that easy or that effective. As you’ll know by now, we don’t like taking things away from people at the DVCC. So here’s what we suggest instead:
Instead of taking the computer away, try adding some physical activity for a healthy development.
There are some schools that have stand-up desks now. And you can get your child to watch their favourite series on Netflix while standing up from time to time, as it generates a better position.
Also try to develop ways to increase their movement. Make sure they get up and take breaks every 45 minutes or so, for example. Add physical activity to their lives to counterbalance the hours spent on their smartphones or television. You’ll be doing your kids a massive favour as they progress through life.