3 Ways to Stop Scrolling and Go Outside: A Parental Guide
In our increasingly digital world, screens are an ever-present part of our lives. From smartphones to tablets and computers to televisions, it’s challenging to escape the digital glow. While these devices offer numerous benefits, they also pose challenges, especially for parents managing their children’s screen time.
According to a report by Common Sense Media, children 8 years old and under spend an average of 2 hours and 19 minutes every day on screen media. This excessive screen time can have a significant impact on children’s physical and mental health, including issues with sleep, attention, and even academic performance.
However, there’s a simple, effective solution: outdoor activities. These activities offer numerous benefits for children’s development, from enhancing physical health to improving mental and emotional well-being. This blog post will delve into the impact of excessive screen time, the benefits of outdoor activities, and practical strategies for parents to encourage their children to swap screens for the great outdoors.
Understanding the Addictive Nature of Screens
Screens and digital content can be incredibly addictive. This isn’t coincidental; many apps are designed to keep users engaged for as long as possible, using techniques like rewards, notifications, and endless scrolling. According to a study published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions, these features can trigger the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward, encouraging the user to repeat the behavior.
The effects of excessive screen time on children’s physical and mental health can be significant. Physically, prolonged screen time can lead to sedentary behavior, which is associated with obesity, poor posture, and vision problems.
Mentally, excessive screen time can lead to issues like decreased attention span, lower academic performance, and sleep disturbances. A study in JAMA Pediatrics found that children who had more than two hours of screen time a day had lower scores on thinking and language tests.
While we at SuzyApp strongly believe in the importance of letting kids enjoy themselves outdoors, screen time has become an unavoidable phenomenon, as by the age of 14, more than 91% of kids already have a phone. Therefore, we aim to make screen time healthier for kids by making it a fun learning experience while empowering parents to place trust and responsibility in their child’s digital freedom.
SuzyApp is a smart parental control app designed to help manage your child’s screen time more effectively. It’s not just about limiting screen time, it’s about making the time your child does spend on screens more productive and educational.
SuzyApp allows you to oversee how your child interacts with their device, including content consumption and screen time. It sequences the content presented to your child, unlocking access to their favorite gaming and entertainment applications only after they have completed an educational activity. This works on the principles of delayed gratification and promotes the development of the prefrontal cortex, thereby improving their decision-making, impulse control, and grit.
Moreover, SuzyApp offers a curated list of educational apps, based on your child’s profile, known for their ability to engage and teach. This way, children can learn while having fun, get less frustrated, and maintain good screen time practices. By using SuzyApp, you can transform your child’s screen time into a fun, healthy, and educational space, while also encouraging them to spend time outdoors. It’s a win-win solution for parents striving to strike the right balance. Take the first step towards a healthier digital life for your child. Download SuzyApp today.
The Benefits of Going Outside
Engaging in outdoor activities offers numerous physical health benefits. These activities often involve exercise, which can improve cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles, and increase flexibility. According to the American Heart Association, children should get at least one hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day.
The mental and emotional benefits of connecting with nature are equally important. Spending time outdoors can reduce stress, improve moods, and boost self-esteem. A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that walking in nature reduced negative thoughts and feelings of depression. Moreover, outdoor activities can also boost creativity and problem-solving skills. Being in a new environment can stimulate a child’s curiosity and imagination, while activities like building a fort or navigating a trail can teach problem-solving.
Practical Strategies to Reduce Screen Time
Reducing screen time starts with setting clear boundaries and rules. This could mean limiting screen time to a certain number of hours per day or only after homework and chores are done. The American Academy of Pediatrics provides a handy tool for creating a personalized family media use plan.
Creating screen-free zones and times in the home can also be effective. For instance, making bedrooms a screen-free zone can help improve sleep, while setting screen-free times, such as during meals, can encourage family connection. A study in Computers in Human Behavior found that screen-free meals can improve family functioning.
Parental control tools can also be a helpful way to manage screen time. These tools can limit access to certain apps, set daily screen time limits, and even monitor usage. We at SuzyApp combine these factors to make a smarter parental control that parents and children can both benefit from. Learn more about us here.
Encouraging Outdoor Activities
There are countless fun and engaging outdoor activities for children of all ages. From traditional games like hide and seek and tag, to nature-based activities like bird watching or gardening, the options are endless. The National Wildlife Federation provides a great list of nature activities for kids.
Incorporating outdoor activities into your family’s routine can help ensure they take place. This could mean scheduling a daily walk after dinner, or setting aside time each weekend for a family hike or bike ride. A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that family support is key in encouraging physical activity.
Nevertheless, resistance to going outside can be a challenge, but there are ways to deal with it. Offering a variety of activities, inviting friends along, and leading by example can all help. Remember, the goal is to make outdoor activities fun and enjoyable, not a chore. The Child Mind Institute offers more tips for encouraging outdoor play.
Role of Parents in Balancing Screen Time and Outdoor Activities
Parents play a crucial role in balancing screen time and outdoor activities. Setting a good example is one of the most effective ways to encourage healthy habits. If children see their parents regularly engaging in outdoor activities and limiting their own screen time, they’re more likely to do the same. A study in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that children’s physical activity levels are strongly influenced by their parents.
Having open conversations with your children about screen time and outdoor activities is also important. This can help children understand why balance is important, and give them a chance to have input on the rules and boundaries. The Child Mind Institute offers tips on how to have these conversations.
Rewards and incentives can also be effective in promoting outdoor activities. This could be as simple as a special treat after a family hike, or earning extra screen time by participating in outdoor play. However, it’s important that these rewards don’t become the sole motivation for going outside.
Balancing screen time with outdoor activities is crucial for children’s physical and mental health. Not only does it help prevent the negative effects of excessive screen time, but it also provides the numerous benefits of outdoor play. As parents, it’s our responsibility to guide our children towards this balance.
Taking proactive steps, such as setting clear boundaries, creating screen-free zones, and encouraging outdoor activities, can make a big difference. But remember, every child is different, and it’s important to find a balance that works for your family.
Spending time outdoors can provide lifelong benefits for children, from improved physical health to boosted creativity and problem-solving skills. So why not start today? Encourage your child to put down the screen and step outside.
In this journey, tools like SuzyApp can be a great help. SuzyApp helps manage your child’s screen time, ensuring they have a balanced and healthy digital diet. It’s a great way to make screen time more productive and educational, while also encouraging outdoor activities. Give SuzyApp a try today and see the difference it can make in your child’s life.
SuzyApp guarantees a fun & healthy use of screens for you children!
SuzyApp is the smarter parental control childproofing any device while also providing a balanced use of screens by unlocking entertainment applications after completing a fun educational activity.