As a parent or carer we want our children to be healthy and happy so that they may grow into resilient young adults. Whilst digital devices and screen time continue to play an important role in our children’s lives, it is important to create a balance between online and offline activities to boost both your child’s mental and physical wellbeing.
Using digital devices provides a variety of different learning and recreational experiences for your child; however, device use restricts physical activity, which is important to help your child maintain a healthy weight.
With 1 in 4 Queensland children now considered overweight or obese, it has never been more important to encourage our children to put down their devices in favour of more active pursuits. In fact, the Australian Health Survey (2011-2012) reported that only one-third of children, and just one in 10 young people undertook the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day, leading to an increased risk of obesity and chronic disease later in life.
Screens are all around us. Some are more obvious than others, but the following list will help you identify the screens in your home.
The amount of screen time will differ between ages. This infographic is a good guide.
What can I do to help reduce my child’s screen time?
Modelling positive behaviours – both in terms of device use and physical activity is vital to help you moderate their screen time. Here are a few simple steps to help you get started:
For pre-schoolers, a healthy 24 hours includes:
For optimal health benefits, children and young people (aged 5–17 years) should balance a high level of physical activity with low levels of sedentary behaviour, and sufficient sleep each day. A healthy 24 hours includes: