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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Keeping Kids Addicted to Electronic Screens (Computer, Video Games, TV)

By Michael Grose

Childhood today is an indoor activity. A recent News poll survey found that children under 10 spend less than ten per cent of their free time playing outdoors. The older children become the less vigorous activity they engage in. The average time for 5-6 year old children involved in vigorous activity was 4.3 hours. By the time children reached the 10-12 year age group this figure had halved to 2.2 hours. Most of children's physical activities are performed at school.

The biggest factor affecting children's play habits is the revolution in sedentary entertainment options- television, computers and video games. Most of the research available about kids and screens focuses on television viewing, and that is inconclusive. Many children when they leave the TV use a computer or play a video game so they simply replace one screen with another rather than engage in physical activity.

Here are some ideas to help ensure children spend more time involved in active pursuits away from electronic screens:

  • Set time limits on the use of television, computers and video-games. One Australian study revealed that 40 per cent of parents in homes with televisions have no time limits or rules for TV viewing and just fewer than 50 per cent of families eat their evening meal in front of the TV.

  • Keep televisions, computers and video-games in public places so that you can monitor their use.

  • Have screen-free time. Either once a week or have some time each day when all screens are off, unless they are needed for educational purposes.

  • Ensure a range of alternative play options are available that suit the interests of each child.

  • Actively encourage each child to participate in at least one weekly creative, community-based or sporting activity.

How children spend their time influences their personal and social development as well as their physical well-being. Some children need little guidance regarding their use of free time, while others benefit from parents' encouragement to try healthier alternatives to the range of electronic screens that compete for their attention. If your child suffer from video game addiction problem, you might want to consider signing up for video game addiction program at the addiction rehab centers near you to get their lives back on track before it is too late.


Michael Grose is a popular parenting educator and parent coach. He is the director of Parentingideas, the author of seven books for parents and a popular presenter who speaks to audiences in Australia, Singapore and the USA. For free courses and resources to help you raise happy kids and resilient teenagers visit http://www.parentingideas

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