Editorial: Go out and play

How much is too much screen time?

It seems like since television was introduced in the middle of the last century, people have been worried about spending too much time in front of a screen, especially for kids.

There was one animated warning about the perils of watching TV that showed a child who watched so much that his eyes turned into two rectangles that other kids could watch reruns on. Wonder if they could get different channels on each eye?

Nowadays, the concern is how much time we, and our kids, are spending looking at smaller screens on phones and tablets. In this case, though, there might be something to worry about, at least according to a new report released by Nature Canada.

Screen Time vs. Green Time outlines a shift in the way Canadian kids and teens are spending their time.

“Excessive screen use is not only robbing our kids of memories playing in the outdoors, it is hurting our kids’ health,” said Jill Sturdy, NatureHood program manager with Nature Canada.

The findings of the report say that 85 per cent of children aged 5 to 17 aren’t getting a good balance between adequate sleep, physical activity and screen time.

Prolonged inactivity increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular issues, so this is not a warning to be shrugged off.

But on the other side of the coin, this isn’t a call to bail on our connected culture, which is far from a negative influence. If nothing else, it’s opened many eyes to a larger world, and brought us closer together. There’s no doubt that connected world has its dark side via corporate and darker influences, who are fashioning their apps and devices to be seductive and prolong the time we spend with them but the potential is there to create better, wider communities of people.

Sure, put limits on your kid’s screen time (and possibly your own) and get them enjoying the outdoors, but there is no need to turn your back on the what these incredible devices can offer.

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