A mere 20 years ago, children used to play outside all day, riding bikes, playing sports and building forts. Masters of imaginary games, children of the past created their own form of play that didn't require costly equipment or parental supervision. Children of the past moved a lot, and their sensory world was nature-based and simple. (The Impact of Technology on the Developing Child)
Today, children spend significantly more time connected to technology, with an average child spending up to eight hours per day plugged in—while the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that young children be limited to no more than two hours daily.
In a 2014 study, 60 percent of parents felt that the amount of time their children were using technology was having a negative effect on time available to spend with friends and family. At that time, one in three children ages 7 to 8 owned a cell phone—and phone ownership is likely to continue to increase.
And when children spend too much time with technology, you may notice “attention difficulties, low grades, impaired sleep, obesity and withdrawal from family life,” among other challenges.
So, What Do You Do?
Technology, of course, can be wonderful—as a learning tool, as a way to keep in touch with others, as a way to just have fun. But, it’s also important for children (and adults, for that matter) to unplug from technology to participate in social activities and physical exercise.
First, help your child find alternatives, whether that means physical activities such as jumping rope, wheelbarrow races, running through obstacle courses or any of the other activities listed in 25 Exercise Games and Indoor Activities to Get Kids Moving. While physical activity is important, you can also encourage your child to read, or you could hold a family board game night, or help your child to develop his or her imagination by creating a tongue twister or inventing a make-believe animal, complete with sounds, favorite foods and more.
Another article, Ten Steps to Successfully Unplug Children from Technology, follows that same theme, suggesting the following: “Help children create a game, song, joke, poem, story or dance. Buy a book of games, create a story night, play wrestle, make up a play, build a fort of couch cushions, or family cooking night are but a few of a myriad alternatives to technology use.”
Schedule Summer Camp!
Horizon Education Centers is planning plenty of unplugged summer day trips, and it’s easy to get first dibs. Steps include:
- Prepay for your child’s summer camp activity fee before April 15, 2016 by stopping at your center’s office:
- For one child: $150
- For two or more children: $300
Consider using your tax refund to sign up.
It’s hard to believe, but true: Summer is just around the corner. We’d love to talk to you about your summer camp needs, so be sure to visit www.horizonohio.org!