Sitting has become the new smoking. In the United States, more people die of physical inactivity than smoking each year. Children establish habits of moving their fingers and not their bodies through an addiction to sedentary electronic devices.
Time spent plugged into technology and gadgets has replaced time spent with family, exercising, academics, and more. Healthy habits can be established early by promoting unplugging as an entire family. An excellent and fun way to unplug and get active is to install a basketball goal at your home and encourage friends to come over to play to help break the addiction to technology. Shooting hoops, doing layups, or playing games such as H-O-R-S-E or knockout is a great way to unplug, start moving and be active.
PHIT America shares that 80% of children are at risk to disease because of physical inactivity, which the World Health Organization ranks as the fourth highest cause of death. PHIT America found eighty-three million Americans are sedentary and the number is still rising. Entertainment and technology are a huge factor in this, because 24% of all teens in the USA say they are online at all times.
Researchers have linked greater media exposure to negative health outcomes such as obesity, tobacco use, sexual behavior, drug and alcohol use, and lower academic achievement, according to PHIT America. Increased screen time also exposes children to aggression, harassment, and bullying that occurs in social media. Overall, the longer children are plugged into social media and screens, the less time they spend in the real world: playing creatively, keeping regular sleep hours, exercising, having face-to-face social interactions, and spending time with parents and caregivers.
There are countless ways to limit your child’s exposure and prevent negative impacts on their development:
- Limit the amount of time kids can use it and monitor it
- Fitness first – activity before technology
- Encourage friends to come over and play
- Install a basketball goal at home to promote physical activity
- Invite friends over to play on basketball goal to encourage socialization
- Spend time playing together as a family shooting hoops
- Keep TV, computer, and other electronic media out of the bedroom at night
- Eat at the dinner table and not in front of a TV
- Have screen-free days outside without technology
- Do not leave TV on as background noise
To learn more about PHIT America, visit: phitamerica.org.