Okay folks, it’s out. It’s not just the neo-luddite liberal hippie weirdoes saying it. The American Academy of Pediatrics has released new guidelines for pediatricians, in an October 28th policy statement. The AAP is recommending no more than two hours a day of electronic media time for children ages three or over and no electronic media time for children under the age of two. That’s right people, the professional organization whose recommendations form the basis of pediatric preventive health care in the US is telling us our kids look at screens far too much. Don’t worry they’ve only been saying it for 30 years!
A recent study the statement sites says, “…the average 8- to 10-year-old spends nearly 8 hours a day with a variety of different media, and older children and teenagers spend >11 hours per day.1 Presence of a television (TV) set in a child’s bedroom increases these figures even more, and 71% of children and teenagers report having a TV in their bedroom.1 Young people now spend more time with media than they do in school—it is the leading activity for children and teenagers other than sleeping.1,2 “
In short, this little snippet is saying that the activity which young people spend most of their time, second only to sleep, is…electronic media. Okay, now I don’t mean to bah hum bug everyone. Let us all simply think about the time we, our kids, any one we love, spend looking at screens. At the very least let’s be aware of the time we spend with electronic media. At the very least let’s make a conscience decision that this is what we want to be doing with our time, with our LIVES.
As someone who is passionate about the need for more outdoor time, I even find it challenging to limit, teach and model moderate use of screen time. AND my family currently has only one desktop computer and one laptop, the only screens you will find in the house. Which I’m told, ever so delicately by my teenage boy, is flat out weird.
Here we are, it being an eleven degree day out here in Nebraska. What can one do when the actual air I bring into my lungs has to melt before I can fully inhale? Well, if we start Nebraska winters screen staring, it will be a hard habit to break. So below is simply one suggestion for when we all have had to many cookies, malls, music concerts and over all holiday hustle and bustle. Check in tomorrow for more suggestions.
Nebraska Winters Suggestion Number 1…Having a reason to be outside will at the very least let the kids know how long they will have to ‘suffer’. I suggest filling small balloons with water and food coloring or add a small plastic toy and set them out to freeze. The kiddos will know the balloons are out there and their natural curiosity will poke holes in any stubborn teenage attitude. No matter the temperature wrap the entire family up in boots, hats, overalls and go outside even for a little while to investigate your ice creations. Who know what else will happen out there.
Choose to live.
See you out there!