IS YOUR CHILD GETTING FAT ON “DIGITAL JUNK”?

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids ages 8-18 now spend, on average, a whopping 7.5 hours in front of a screen for entertainment each day, 4.5 of which are spent watching TV. Over a year, that adds up to 114 full days watching a screen for fun.

Why is how much time your child spends in front of a screen such a debate?

What is really bad about it?

And is it ALL bad?

Technology is ACTUALLY GOOD and here to stay. So, we have to deal with it.

Educators are beginning to discover that traditional learning methods, including worksheets and textbooks, leave students lacking. Thanks to technology, many students are now learning and retaining more information in ways they have never done before.

Fractions for instance might seem uninteresting to the average kids today even if they’re completed in multi-colour pens. However, if they’re flying through space solving fractions to save Earth from meteor showers, they’re more likely to develop those skills and not resent the process.

The main issue really is MODERATION and SUBSTITUTION.

In the past, I was concerned about TV, tabs, mobile devices and computers stealing away my kids’ childhood by tethering them to screen and denying them the joy of outdoor play and physical activity, experiencing the world and adventure through book and building relationships with others, but I soon realised that one doesn’t necessarily have to exclude the other.

It is estimated that 3 billion hours a week are spent on gaming and the average boy would spend 10,000 hours gaming by the age of 21yrs (one school year is about 1,200 hours, do the Math!!!) This does not include TV and surfing the net. A lot of screen time is spent more on entertainment sites or games that don’t teach them much.

Screen time is stealing the time needed for physical activity which is important for a growing child. It is recommended that children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Children need social skills and need to learn collaboration in their developmental stage of life.

In simple terms – SUGAR is not bad for your health but too much sugar is bad for you.

Screen time is ok if there are boundaries and some of the screen time is channeled to interactive learning.

My 7-year-old son was spending too much time on the iPad. I tried several tactics to get him engaged in other things but after doing them, he would always come back “Mummy, pls can I have the iPad?”. So, I decided to change strategy – find as many educational resources that I can download on the iPad. That way, I ensure that some of the hours is channeled towards learning.

That’s how 9ijakids started. 

Does that mean he has unlimited screen time? A BIG NO!!!!

We still have boundaries when it comes to how long and other activities that must happen apart from screen time activities.

So how can you reduce your child’s screen time?

If your child already spends too much time on the screen, here are a few tips on what to do:

#1 Define screen time limit. Recommended screen time per day for kids between ages 4-10years is 2 hours per day

#2 Reduce screen time gradually – you can go from 6hrs per day to 2hrs

#3 Encourage an interest or hobby or other extracurricular activities

#4 Introduce them to board games like Ludo, Snakes and Ladder, Monopoly, Chess, etc

#5 Set a dedicated time daily for outdoor play. It could be sport, riding their bike, skipping or just running around in the compound

#6Watch your own screen time – they learn from what you do (NOT what you say)

#7 Don’t allow TVs in their bedroom and discourage use of devices in the bedroom

#8 Download educational games that ensure screen time is productive and educational. Here are some of our favourites

If you dump garbage in, garbage will come out. The person who dumps garbage into your mind will do you considerably more harm than the one who dumps garbage on your floor.”
— Zig Ziglar

In 2019, be intentional as a parent. Don’t leave what your child consumes to chance. Don’t let your child fill their mind with so much digital content that has no educational value. Take action today.

Future-proof your child’s success with 9ijakids.  

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