Limit Device Time
You know that sitting for long periods of time has health risks. New research from the Universities of Zaragoza (Spain) and São Paulo (Brazil) observed another issue concerning device time and children that is equally as disconcerting.
The researchers found that children who spend more than two hours a day in front of the TV have a 30 percent greater risk of developing high blood pressure. And it’s not limited to TV; any type of device time has the same effect.
Device Time and Sedentary Behavior
Sitting in front of TV screen, computer, or tablet steals from active time that children should be engaged in. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that running around playing tag burns more calories than a rousing round of Clash of Titans.
And then there’s the obesity risk. An increase in sedentary time leads to a greater chance of obesity, and in turn, metabolic syndrome. The health consequences go on with heart disease, diabetes, and more. It’s an unfortunate cascade into an unhealthy life.
This issues speak nothing to the impact on development. Children need to be active in their environments in order to facilitate development of neural pathways in their brains as well as physical growth and normal vision. You don’t get the same optical benefits looking at a screen as you do viewing the landscape around you.
Monitoring Device Time
If you have concerns for your children or yourself, start with an assessment. The Android app, aTimeLogger, runs in the background on your device. What you get is a picture of the time spent using that device by time and by app. It’s enlightening to say the least.
Then, you can make a judgment call about device time. Personally, I don’t believe any child under 16 needs or should have any kind of device. But that’s me.
This study offers a wake-up call to parents. The electronic babysitter isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. It carries serious risks that could affect your child’s health and quality of life. Is it really worth it?