Since the first home modem buzzed to life sometime in the mid-nineties, the amount of time that kids spend on screens has increased exponentially. As of late 2018, the American Health Association reported that kids and teens aged 8-18 spent an average of seven hours per day looking at screens. The recommended maximum is just two hours.
That’s not to say that screen time isn’t useful as kids can learn a lot from screens, particularly during the past seven months where kids have had no choice but to utilize screens for online learning in lieu of in-person attendance to schools due to COVID.
“A lot depends on how kids are using media, how much their parents are monitoring their use, how much time they’re spending and what exactly they’re watching and using,” says Victor Strasburger, a pediatrician and professor at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.
In the end it’s all about striking the proper balance. While screens aren’t considered to be bad, there’s certainly something to be said for staying active and getting outside to enjoy nature. Tallus Ridge is uniquely located so close to natural outdoor amenities including parks, hiking, and biking trails, that there’s a lot of opportunity for families to encourage a more balanced lifestyle.
A study from UBCO published in 2017 stated, “ . . . that people who live in greenspaces generally seem to be happier.” And there have been numerous studies that have drawn a correlation between spending time outdoors in nature and how it can help reduce stress levels and even help alleviate depression and anxiety.
When it comes to kids, there’s an opportunity here to help them live a more balanced lifestyle to feel educated and entertained by the outdoors and not feel the only thing that draws their attention is their phone/tablet/gaming system.
The question, of course, is how do you do this? We have a few suggestions:
Encourage cycling! Whether it’s around the neighborhood or into town, or even just around nearby trails—it’s great exercise and so much fun!
Parent play time! The best way is to lead by example. Get out there and spend time with the kids, play games, walk, run, and bike as a family.
Create a scavenger hunt! Kids love to hunt for things. Making it nature based to either find certain things or collect items, or even take pictures.
Create a family ‘To-Do List’ of hikes and/or outdoor activities to do throughout the summer and fall. Keep the list on your fridge and tick them off as you do them.
Connect with others in your neighbourhood for small group activities.
Pack a picnic and hike up a mountain (maybe just a small mountain) and enjoy each other’s company.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you get outdoors and take a break from screen time. Sometimes we miss the best things because we’re too busy looking down. Let’s all agree to look up a little more 🙂