The causes of childhood obesity, a problem of epidemic proportions in the United States, is no mystery when you consider that the average child spends 7.5 hours per day in front of a computer, a TV screen, and the other myriads of electronic devices available. It seems that kids today are born with the capacity for operating electronic devices built right into their genetic code. This comes in handy for parents when the TV remote stops working. However, childhood obesity is just one of the reasons Slyde the Playground Hound encourages children across the nation to “UNPLUG and GET OUTSIDE.”
Families are encouraged to participate in National Get Outdoors Day, this Saturday, June 11th. Check it out by visiting http://www.nationalgetoutdoorsday.org/. Whether you get outside by “walking” to a local park or make plans to take the whole family somewhere, make it OUTDOORS and make it UNPLUGGED.
Sherry Turkle, Director of MIT initiative on Technology & Self, suggests that families can select when and where to use technology by creating space and places where everyone,Mom, Dad, and children,agree to unplug their electronic devices in order to be fully present for thosethey love. You can listen to a provocative conversation between Krista Tippett, the host of NPR’s Podcast On Being and Ms. Turkle at being.publicradio.org/programs/2011/alive-enough/.
Ms. Turkle says families have to remember they have choices about whether or not to let technology control every minute of every day. By creating sacred places and spaces to UNPLUG, at the dinner table for example, family members can reap the benefits of uninterrupted, quality family time.
Another place to UNPLUG is at the playground. When a child is attempting to get the attention of a parent, “Hey Mom, look at me,”while they swing upside-down from the monkey bars, instead of being “plugged in” to a blue tooth, tweeting the world, or checking Facebook, the parent can be available to give the child their full and undivided attention, if she has intentionally made the decision to do so.
Many parents are looking for an organized way to control technology without it controlling them. May we suggest a list of do’s and don’ts to consider regarding use of the Internet for family members. The list is rigorous, so sample theitems that fit your family’s style and needs. Go tohttp://safely.yahoo.com/parents/family-online-and-mobile-device-agreement/.
There are hundreds of ideas for enjoying the outdoors,many of them in your own neighborhood. So what are you waiting for? You can fight the childhood obesity epidemic and have fun doing it. And remember, Slyde says, “UNPLUG and GET OUTSIDE.” http://www.kivitv.com/story/9840616/be-outside-idahos-child-obesity-problem?redirected=true