Active vs Inactive Screen Time

A New York Times article was released this week. How did I find it? Our 23 year old Kindergarten teacher forwarded it to me from her iPhone. She only has the “essential apps” on her new iPhone….Facebook and the NYTimes. 🙂 I’ve read the article a couple of times now and have rewritten this blog post no less than 3 as I try to make sense of what this means for kids today. The average young American now spends practically every waking minute — except for the time in school — using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation. “…except for the time in school” might be a little harsh as I’d bet most kids are on computers some how some way in most schools. Maybe not all the time, but come on, we have a lot of technology packed into schools these days. I’m sure they’re spending at least some of their time on the computers there as well. The new study shows that kids between 8 – 18 are now spending close to 11 hours in front of screens. I’ll admit that’s a lot, but where do these habits start? We know that good, balanced habits, start when you’re young. Hence the reason that still to this day when I get home from school I have to change my clothes from my “school clothes” to my “not-school clothes”. That habit was drilled into me all growing up. You come home and before you go outside or go work on the farm you had to change your clothes. To this day, much to the laughter of my wife, I still have to. I’m not comfortable until I’ve changed out of my school clothes. So I ask, who’s setting the habits for an 8 year old to spend 11 hours a day in front of a screen? I would expect screen time to increase just due in part to the fact there are more screens in our lives. But there’s a time as well for Legos and tag with neighborhood friends. Where are the parents in these conversations? When did the TV…now at 4 1/2 hours a day….become the babysitter? Who’s fault is that? Parents? Employers? Or Kids themselves? Contrary to popular wisdom, the heaviest media users reported spending a similar amount of time exercising as the...

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