May 2-8, 2016 is Screen-Free week, the annual celebration where millions of people turn off their televisions, computer screens and video games.
The reality is that kids are spending way too much time in front of screens – an average of 32 hours a week for preschoolers, and more than 50 hours for older kids. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under 2 and less than 2 hours per day for older kids.
We all know that a lot of screen time is bad for children. Just how bad, you ask? Toddler screen time is linked with reduced physical activity and higher BMI. For children of all ages, time spent in front of screens is associated with childhood obesity. In fact, children with a television in their bedrooms are more likely to be overweight and report less physical activity than children without televisions in their bedrooms.
The good news is that reducing screen time can help prevent childhood obesity and lead to better school performance. Screen-free week is a fun and easy way to help kids reduce their dependence on television, video games, computers and handheld devices.
Turning off screens frees up time each day for fun activities you can do as a family, such as reading, playing outside, creating crafts of art, pretend play and cooking. Get tips & resources and meet local businesses dedicated to health during Screen-Free week at Healthy Melrose 2016, Saturday, May 7th, 10a-1:30p at the Melrose Middle School Athletic Complex.
Kara Showers and Lauren Roche
Mass in Motion-Melrose/Wakefield, Melrose Health Department