How To Cure Your Kids’ Gaming Addiction (And Get Them To Play Outside!)

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It’s common today for children to spend too much time indoors playing video games, browsing the internet or chatting with their friends over social media. But the effects of not spending enough time outdoors can be quite detrimental to children, setting them up for a pattern of unhealthy living than can last well into adulthood, and for health problems later in life. In this guide, we’ll explain why it’s so dangerous for children to be living an overly sedentary lifestyle, and how you can help change this behavior early on and get them to spend more time outside.

 

The facts on children spending time indoors and health risks

A recent British survey of parents with children between the ages of 4 and 14 revealed that at the time of the research (2016), children were spending only around 4 hours a week playing outside. Their parents had  spent a little over 8 hours a week outside when they were children. Other developed countries have similar data. What’s going on here?

A lot of it has to do with the fact that there are so many more options for how children can spend time and entertain themselves nowadays. Most of these options, unfortunately, are centered around indoor electronic distractions.

The sedentary lifestyle can have a plethora of destructive health effects on children’s bodies. When combined with sugary diets, which are all too common these days, it can lead to a significantly increased risk of childhood obesity, which is on the rise. This sets kids up for an increased risk later in life for hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease and diabetes.

Much of the time children spend indoors is spent looking at electronic screens (especially smartphones, laptops and various handheld devices). Many studies have indicated that spending too much time looking at electronic screens only a few inches away has led to an alarming increase in myopia (nearsightedness) among children and young adults. These effects are most pronounced in East Asian countries. One study in South Korea found that an incredible 90 percent of children had some degree of nearsightedness. Subsequent research found that this was directly tied to reduced exposure to sunlight, which is of course linked to not spending enough time outdoors.

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