Kids, Parents, Screen Time vs Face Time

April 15th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Did you hear that Ronald McDonald is getting his walking papers? Who’s next Captain Crunch….Snap, Crackle and Pop….The Pillsbury Doughboy?This has come on the heals of much heated debate on advertising to children. Whether it’s billboards, television commercials, logos, fun-loving caricatures, games, web-sites – advertising is everywhere. It’s 2010 folks. The dotted line in the sand has been drawn between childhood obesity with this advertising.

There has been a lot of study on the concept of screen time. Screen time is the amount of time spent in front of any type of screen – the television, the computer, hand held devices, you got the picture? Research also shows that screen time is higher than ever. In fact people who have more than 2 hours per day of screen time are more likely to be overweight. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think you need to be Einstein to make that association.  Let’s face it, we live in a world with so many conveniences that we now need to make a concerted effort to use more energy and get our kids to do the same.

Do we need to do a study looking at parental face time with their kids versus kids screen time and obesity. Let me guess. The results will probably show parents who are more engaged with their kids’ daily activities – hence spending more face time, have kids less likely to be overweight or obese, especially when the parents limit screen time. Eureka, I’ve split the proverbial obesity atom!!

I’m not about to lay blame on anyone for the obesity statistics. I think it makes good sense for parents to set limits on screen time and a whole lot of other things kids do. The principle is fundamental. My Mom was a masterful limit setter when I was a kid. She used to get my sisters and I to step in line with the mere mention of the dreaded “wooden spoon”. I don’t remember ever seeing it, other than when it was being used to stir something she was cooking. But she got her point across.

She would allow us a certain amount of time watching “the idiot box” then we had to go outside to play – whatever season it was, no matter the weather. Just go outside. Spending more face time with your kids may result in decreased screen time. Makes good sense to me.

I don’t think retiring these characters is the answer to the obesity conundrum, unless they’re not towing the party line at work. Maybe we need the Green Giant to keep them all in line!!

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