Outside All Day
Playing outside has never been a less popular option for children.
Children are kept inside out of fear of crime more and more even though all forms of crime are at their lowest levels since the 1950s. This is because like their children, parents watch too much TV, and in particular, too much TV news. TV news, which makes money by scaring you into watching, turns one crime in the entire country into a first person experience for tens of millions of people, even though they might live 2000 miles from where the crime took place. A crime that happened two time zones away seems like it happened on your street, so you lock your children in the house and put them in front of the TV.
Children are kept inside because there is a pathological fear of the sun that Dracula would find extreme. Never mind that people spent their entire lives in the sun for 2 million years. And never mind that the most dangerous forms of skin cancer have nothing to do with sun exposure. And never mind that Vitamin D and sun exposure is turning out to be very important for many bodily functions including the immune system and mental health.
And it seems that in addition to making children fat, physically weak, and unable to concentrate, keeping children indoors also seems to weaken their eyes. According to an article in LifeHacker, Spending More Time Outdoors May Help Prevent Nearsightedness. Exposure to bright sunlight regulates the growth of the eye itself, and by doing so, helps prevent the type of eye growth that causes myopia, also known as nearsightedness.
The pattern here is obvious. The human body is built for activity, and specifically outdoor activity. Cavemen, and pre-historic children did not sit indoors in school for 6 hours per day, and then spend another 4.5 hours per day (the national average for children) motionless in front of the TV. They moved around outside. So our bodies are made to do the same.
If you do not encourage your children to run and play outside in the sun, they will be less healthy and less happy.
comment on forum
In Training For A Bad Life
Brain science demonstrates that the brain becomes what the brain does. If we train the brain to require constant stimulation and constant flickering lights, changes in sound and camera angle, or immediate feedback, such as video games can provide, then when the child lands in the classroom where the teacher doesn’t have a million-dollar-per-episode budget, it may be hard to get children to sustain their attention.
- Douglas Gentile, ISU associate professor of psychology
That quote says it all. The brain becomes what the brain does. The way I have said it in the past is that the human body and brain are always in training, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. If you run 10 miles per day, you are training to be a runner. If your child reads and plays with toys and friends all day, she is training to be smart and fit and adaptable. If your child watches TV 4 or 6 hours per day, she is training to sit and stare and be sedentary and anti-social. Look at your child now. What is she doing? That is what she is getting good at.
ISU study finds TV viewing, video game play contribute to kids’ attention problems
Psychologists at Iowa State University have found:
that children who exceeded the two hours per day of screen time recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics were 1.5 to 2 times more likely to be above average in attention problems.
“There isn’t an exact number of hours when screen time contributes to attention problems, but the AAP recommendation of no more than two hours a day provides a good reference point,” said Edward Swing, an Iowa State psychology doctoral candidate and lead researcher in the study. “Most children are way above that. In our sample, children’s total average time with television and video games is 4.26 hours per day, which is actually low compared to the national average.”
What do those numbers mean? Children who watch more than 2 hours of TV or “screen time”, which includes movies and video games, are twice as likely to have attention problems. So if a child has attention problems, and watches more than 2 hours of TV or Video Games per day, there is a 50% chance that those problems are caused by the TV.
The lesson here is clear. Cut back on your child’s sitting and staring time per day. And if your child is showing signs of attention problems in school, cut the cord.
comment on forum