Lately (ok, over the past 9 weeks) I’ve been spending way too much time in front of the computer. I usually spend a fair amount of time on the computer but recently it multiplied exponentially! It started with a 3 week online graduate course needed for my teacher recertification and then led into teaching an online course that started the day after I finished class. Add in some blogging here, there, and everywhere, procrastinating from paid work via Twitter and Facebook, and keeping up with my favorite blogs and all of a sudden I was in a funk.
The hours in front of the screen seemed to have melted my brain. I lost my creativity and was having trouble blogging. I couldn’t get out of paper-writing mode and I quickly amassed a ton of draft posts but none were deemed acceptable. I started to feel really sloth-like despite my commitment to morning Stroller Strides workouts. My body ached and I think I started to develop carpal tunnel syndrome for the first time in my life.
Yes, those nightly dates with the computer really affected me. And not in a good way. Luckily a night away from computer for some retail therapy served as my restorative celebratory cure.
If clocking overtime in front of my computer knocked me into a funk, then what does too much computer time do to our kids?
I think of my brain melt as what happens to a child when they spend more time in front of a computer than doing creative free play. The computer only engages two out of our 5 senses. Children receive visuals from staring at the moving images on the screen and auditory stimulation from sounds but a computer never requires them to touch, taste, or smell. While learning does occur through websites and software, it is much more meaningful if it is hands on and engages all of a child’s five senses at once.
It is no wonder I felt so sloth-like having spent more time in my office chair than anywhere else during the course of a day. As a mom of an active toddler and preschooler, I’m used to being on my feet all day only pausing to sit down for a meal or to use the potty. Seriously.
We all know of the studies about television being linked to obesity. The computer is just as bad. An April 2008 study by the Journal of Pediatrics correlated screen time to physical activity. Research found that children ages 7-12 who didn’t meet the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines for daily exercise and used the computer for more than 2 hours a day were 3-4 times more likely to be overweight. Yikes.
I felt a noticeable difference in myself based on my nightly use of the computer. Being sedentary along with aches and the start of carpal tunnel were just the beginning. I shudder to think what might have happened if the amount of time I spent on the computer during the 9 weeks was a regular occurrence.
Do we really want that for our kids?
I’m not a doctor. I don’t play one on TV. I don’t have guidelines or recommendations about how much time children should spend on the computer. I just know what I started to experience after spending too much time in front of my computer and it was awful.
I think the amount of time a child spends on the computer differs for every family and for every child. I think, as parents, we have to be sensible about what is right.
Do what you think is right for your children and right now, I think it’s time for me to get up and enjoy the rest of the beautiful day outside!
This blog post is original to Tech Savvy Mama and may not be reposted without permission.
Thanks for reading Tech Savvy Mama through your feed!
Original post by Tech Savvy Mama