Fresh statistics today! Turns out children and teens in the United States spend an average of seven hours a day using television, computers, phones and other electronic devices for entertainment, compared to an average of three hours a day watching TV in 1999, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Aside from the usual concerns about violent and sexual content, the AAP is worried that this is cutting into time that could be spent on physical, social, and creative pursuits.
Clearly, there’s an argument to made for screen time that is physical, creative and social. Though the first example that comes to mind is how my kids engage in heated social discourse over who gets to sit in the corner spot on the sofa when they’re watching TV, there are great examples of social, physical, and creative exercises fostered by screen-based games. A few that come to mind:
To be clear, I’m not trying to suggest that 7 hours/day of screen time is good. In fact, I’m hard pressed to think of anything that’s good for kids for 7 hours/day. What I am saying is that there are great ways to foster creativity, social interaction, and even physical activity without swimming up stream. There’s also a huge opportunity for the private sector to deliver more products that do a better job of making physical activity more compelling through technology that may or may not have a screen attached. I’ll be keeping a close eye on the interwebs and TV (about 7 hrs/day, to be precise) and let you know what I discover along the way.