We never had as much opportunity to get lost in front of a television, computer, iPod, cell phone, etc., when we were kids, did we? Our moms didn’t have to wrestle with technology the way we do; so how do we re-frame our approach and strike a balance we can all live with? Never fear, Diane Lang’s here to help!
It’s a constant battle with the media and all the technology around us. There are a lot of great things about TV, video games, and computers. There is an educational value to all three but what about the negatives? It is possible to help your children make healthy choices about TV, Video games and computer, and here’s how:
1. Research says young kids watch between 4 and 6 hours of TV daily (this also includes video and computers). This is way too much time. A healthy amount of time to spend in front of the TV and related technology is 1-2 hours a day. This is also a realistic amount of time. Some research says less then an hour a day but as a parent we know this might not be realistic. Permitting 1-2 hours a day is more realistic.
2. Offer alternatives to TV and technology. Have your kids signed up for activities that involve either socialization and/or physical activity. Also, offer alternatives like board games, playing outside, arts and crafts, music/dance, play dates, etc.
Have a flashback moment: When I was a child how did I occupy my time? Think of all the fun things we did as a child before video games and computers. We played outside, hide and seek, tag, swings, collecting leaves and rocks, puzzles, playing cards, board games, etc.
3. When your child watches TV, try to be involved. Watch the program with your child. Discuss the program afterward. Ask questions: What did she like about the show? what was his favorite character?
4. Understand the consequences of too much time in front of the TV, computer or playing video games. A lack of physical activity can lead to obesity. Children can also have less fresh air due to the TV, Computer and video games being inside games. There can also be a lack of socialization: they now say that teenagers are getting depressed due to social networking on their computers with such sites as Facebook and MySpace. Fight this battle with younger kids. Set up play dates instead.
TV shows include a lot of commercials — this puts you in a tough situation because your kids will be constantly wanting and asking for new games, toys and sugary foods. Fight the battle by using DVDs where there are no commercials.
In the end, it’s a matter of setting sensible boundaries and sticking to them, making alternatives to screen time available and at-the-ready. Good luck!
Bio: Diane Lang is an educator and Life Coach. Diane has dedicated her career to helping people turn their lives around and is now on a mission to help them develop a sustainable positive attitude that can actually turn one into an optimist, literally. A therapist and educator of Positive Psychology, she has seen that it can provide a strong foundation for finding great happiness and is gratified that it is becoming a mainstream method of treatment. As an expert in her fields of therapy, Diane has been featured in the Daily Record and Cookie Magazine, seen on NJ 12 TV and the national television program “Fox & Friends”. She has also participated in a reality based Internet show, ourprisoner.com, hosted Generation X-tinet and appeared in various educational videos. In addition Lang writes a bi-weekly column “The Balancing Act” at www.thealternativepress.com and sharing her expertise on parenting and living a positive lifestyle on The WTBQ Expat Show.
Catch one of Diane’s upcoming New Jersey workshops: 4/18 at Westfield Adult School (Happiness – Living an Optimistic Lifestyle), 4/19 at Washington Township Public Library (The Developing Child – Birth to Age 3), 4/20 at Washington Township Public library (The Developing Child – Ages 3-7), 4/25 at Westfield Adult School (Create Balance and Relieve Anxiety), 2/26 at Mt. Olive Adult School (Letting Go of Anger).
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