It is less common these days to see children spending most of their time outside, let alone using it as an opportunity to learn through a living science. In fact, many are referring to the current child populace as the indoor generation. Society has quickly shifted to rely heavily on technology and is consumed with social media which is keeping us mostly indoors.
This doesn’t exclude our children either. In fact, a study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found “given the amount of time youth spend using more than one medium at a time, today’s youth pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes worth of media content into those daily 7½ hours—an increase of almost 2¼ hours of media exposure per day over the past five years.” (Source: KFF)
This goes against the American Academy of Pediatrics T.V./tech time recommendations which is a maximum of 2 hours per day.
But what does that mean for the indoor generations health?
Increased Health Problems
- This doesn’t leave any time for children to spend outside. Which means little to no sun exposure leading to a lack of Vitamin D.
- Additionally, a lack of outside time means an unengaged sensory system which could lead to sensory processing problems. To be clear, a lack of outside time does not cause sensory processing dysfunction, rather it can lead to sensory processing issues.
- Significantly less physical activity, leading to childhood obesity which can lead to cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.
We know the increased time Indoors is correlated with the excessive tech time but what is that doing today’s kids mental health?
Evidence from a population based study conducted by San Diego State University, found that “After 1 h/day of use, more hours of daily screen time were associated with lower psychological well-being, including less curiosity, lower self-control, more distractibility, more difficulty making friends, less emotional stability, being more difficult to care for, and inability to finish tasks.”(Source)
What Can You Do?
Go on a tech and T.V. cleanse. Completely remove it from your life. Even if your children have an emotional reaction. In fact, if they have an emotional outburst because tech is removed then this is just more evidence that it has negatively effected your children’s health.
We took a tech/t.v break about a year ago.
We completely, cold turkey quit tech/t.v. for about a month. It wasn’t fun, there were tantrums but in the end we saw huge improvements.
Just as important…
What to do with that extra time?
In place of tech get outside.
When you focus on getting outside and exercising, it becomes a regular habit.Then work on finding a balance with tech use.
It wasn’t too long ago where the majority of children spent their time outside. When they were allowed to be bored and naturally stimulated by the out of doors. When imaginations were inspired by the shadows within the forest, instead of being overstimulated by a rapidly changing IPad screen.