Yes! Summer is here and school is out. Now is the time to get unplugged, go outdoors, play and get your daily dose of Vitamin D. Put away the game systems, the Ipads, the phones and any device with a screen. Forget about them. Go explore!! Put "screen time" on hold. Why you may ask? My kids love it. Screens entertain, lights flash, there's action, there are rewards for conquering and what about all the neat sound affects? All very captivating indeed. But, on the flip-side, those "screens" are proving to be detrimental and linked to lifelong consequences for your child. The American and Canadian Pediatric Societies are recommending and have stated that hand-held devices be banned for children under 12. Their reasons are listed below.
1. Rapid Brain Growth - A child's brain grows very rapidly , 3 times in size, between 0 - 2 years of age and then continues at a quick rate until age 21. Normal, healthy brain development at early stages relies very heavily upon environmental stimuli - humans. Over exposure to technology contributes to weak executive functioning skills, attention, cognitive delays, impaired learning, impulsive behavior and self-regulation.
2. Delayed Development - One in three children now enter school developmentally delayed with negative literacy ability contributing to lower academic achievement
3. Obesity - Children who are permitted to have devices in their bedrooms have a 30% higher rate of obesity. We are all fully aware of the negative health issues that can arise from childhood obesity.
4. Sleep Deprivation - A Boston College study (2012) of 9 - 10 year olds, concluded that 75% of this age group are sleep deprived thus experiencing a significant decline in grades.
5. Mental Illness - Overuse has been directly linked to rising rates in childhood depression, anxiety, attachment disorder, bipolar disorder, psychosis and negative childhood behavior.
6. Aggression - Media content can cause childhood aggression.
7. Digital Dementia - It's the high speed action that can contribute to attention deficit, decreased concentration and memory. If a child can't pay attention, they can't learn.
8. Addiction - The latest stat 1 in 11 children aged 8 -18 are addicted to technology.
9. Radiation Emissions
10. Unsustainable - Simply put, the way that we are using technology in raising our children is not sustainable. Our children and their overuse of technology is not sustainable. These children are our future!
The American and Canadian Pediatric Societies make the following recommendations for "screen time."
(HuffingtonPost /Parents March 7, 2017)
Let's unplug for just awhile. Choose from the list below and let the imagination kick in.
- play dates
- visit all of the playgrounds in Red Deer
- blow bubbles
- draw with sidewalk chalk
- go for a swim
- find a trail and explore nature
- find a river and explore
- plant a garden or a flower pot
- go for a bike ride on one of our beautiful trails
- read a "book"
- visit the library
- paint outdoors using ice cubes, rocks, marbles, bubbles, misters, leaves, flower petals, seeds
- go on a bug hunt
- cloud gaze and draw what you see
- begin a rock collection
- put the sprinkler in your backyard
- build a fort
Options are endless. Enjoy the summer outdoors.