Keeping Kids Addicted to Electronic Screens (Computer, Video Games, TV)
By Michael Grose
Childhood today is an indoor activity. A recent News poll survey
found that children under 10 spend less than ten per cent of their
free time playing outdoors. The older children become the less
vigorous activity they engage in. The average time for 5-6 year old
children involved in vigorous activity was 4.3 hours. By the time
children reached the 10-12 year age group this figure had halved to
2.2 hours. Most of children's physical activities are performed at
The biggest factor affecting children's play habits is the
revolution in sedentary entertainment options- television, computers
and video games. Most of the research available about kids and
screens focuses on television viewing, and that is inconclusive.
Many children when they leave the TV use a computer or play a video
game so they simply replace one screen with another rather than
engage in physical activity.
Here are some ideas to help ensure children spend more time
involved in active pursuits away from electronic screens:
- Set time limits on the use of television, computers and
video-games. One Australian study revealed that 40 per cent of
parents in homes with televisions have no time limits or rules for
TV viewing and just fewer than 50 per cent of families eat their
evening meal in front of the TV.
- Keep televisions, computers and video-games in public places
so that you can monitor their use.
- Have screen-free time. Either once a week or have some time
each day when all screens are off, unless they are needed for
- Ensure a range of alternative play options are available that
suit the interests of each child.
- Actively encourage each child to participate in at least one
weekly creative, community-based or sporting activity.
How children spend their time influences their personal and
social development as well as their physical well-being. Some
children need little guidance regarding their use of free time,
while others benefit from parents' encouragement to try healthier
alternatives to the range of electronic screens that compete for
their attention. If your child suffer from video game addiction
problem, you might want to consider signing up for
video game addiction program
at the addiction rehab centers near you to get their lives back on track
before it is too late.
Michael Grose is a popular parenting educator and parent coach. He
is the director of Parentingideas, the author of seven books for
parents and a popular presenter who speaks to audiences in
Australia, Singapore and the USA. For free courses and resources to
help you raise happy kids and resilient teenagers visit