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Outdoor Activities to Encourage Children to Unplug

Over the past few years, technology has become more apparent in the every day lives of humans than it ever has before. The excessive use of technology is affecting people of all ages, especially young children. Just a few short years ago kids had only a few options for screen time entertainment such as watching television or playing video games. Nowadays they have even more options with new additions like cell phones, ipads, and tablets. Think about it. Have you ever seen a young child scrolling on their phone outside sitting on a bench instead of playing a game of catch? The increase in options is making technology a children's go-to first choice for entertainment needs over things that were once common like playing tag with friends or going for a bike ride.

According to a study done by Common Sense Media, the number of kids younger than 8 years old who had access to a cell phone, tablet, or ipad rose from 52% to 75% in the years of 2011 to 2013. Children are starting to use technology at a younger age and in dangerous amounts of time. Spending an excessive amount of time using technology can build up to the children having other negative effects such as cyber-bullying, sexting, violent behavior, and most of all lack of physical activity.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that children spend about 7 hours of their day using their computer, watching tv, or spending time on their mobile phones. Spending 7 hours a day on technology can lead to a very sedentary lifestyle for the children. Having a sedentary lifestyle and staying in the house all the time can lead to other risks as well such as health problems, lack of focus, and difficulties in school.

To prevent these risks parents, guardians, teachers, and families need to set rules in place to limit screen time for their children and engage them in productive and active activities instead. Psychology Today recommends limiting the amount of time children spend with technology weekly, introducing them to more educational learning material like books and projects, create technology free zones or rooms in the house, and get them to spend more time being active outdoors.

Encouraging children to unplug and get outdoors will drastically improve their health both physically and mentally. It is important to come up with creative ideas such as building a tree house, planting a garden, or even a simple game of tag to keep the children engaged and interested in spending their time outdoors instead of in front of their televisions or phones. Listed below is additional information on children and their technology use, along with fun outdoor activities and projects to encourage them to unplug and be active outdoors.

Screen Time and Children

The Impact of Technology on the Developing Child

Kids and Technology

The Future of Play: How Technology is Changing the Way Kids Play

Center for Children and Technology

Children and Technology: Parenting Tips for the Digital Age

Digital Guidelines: Promoting Healthy Technology Us/e for Children

Kids and Screen Time: What Does the Research Say?

The Impact of Media Use and Screen Time on Children, Adolescents, and Families

Obesity in Children and Technology

Does Your Child Really Need That Screen?

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