Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Screen Free Week

This week is designated by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) as Screen-Free Week. This twice-yearly event encourages families to explore other entertainment options. Instead of hitting the screens after dinner, why not go for a family walk or a bike ride? Try your hand at some of the board games from your childhood… or ask your children what’s new or interesting to them. Cuddling together on the couch to read a book can be a soothing experience for the whole family.

Researchers at the University of Sydney studied the effects of inactivity on fifteen hundred 6 and 7 year olds. They discovered that the children who spent 1.9 hours of screen time daily and were physically active for only 36 minutes per day had a significant narrowing of retinal arteries in the back of their eyes. In adulthood, these children have a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

A good way to test how much media is impacting your child is to watch what they do in their spare time for a day. Are they quick to play a video game, text their friends, watch a movie or a favorite program? Odds are that their skills in social interaction may be affected and they are limiting their learning opportunities through reading, discussing issues around the dinner table, discovering new interests, etc.

By taking the opportunity this week to try new types of entertainment, you may just discover something that works for your family all year round. The resources below can help parents learn more about media use in childhood and learn ways to manage children’s media diet.

We recommend that once your “screen free” week is completed that you set up a family rule that no more than 2 hours per day be used on media.

You may find more info at:

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