Finding solutions to the problems of screening life, not living it

In today’s culture of getting things done the screen may seem like an easy solution.  A recent survey commissioned by ParticipACTION found 74 per cent of parents with children 12 and under have used a screen to occupy their children when they are busy, trying to get things done or want some quiet time.

But, it’s important to remember moderating kids’ screen time is essential for healthy development. ParticipACTION’s new campaign, Make Room for Play, calls on Canadian families to put down their screens to encourage more active play.

The average Canadian child spends seven hours and 48 minutes a day in front of screens – that’s almost a 40-hour work week.   However, only 54 per cent of parents are concerned about the screen-time habits of their children. Too much screen time can make it hard for a child to sleep at night, raise a child’s risk of attention problems, and leave less time for active, creative play.

The good news – 87 per cent of parents say they plan to make physical activity a priority for their children in the New Year, and ParticipACTION’s Make Room for Play campaign offers a great opportunity to help parents get their children more active. The campaign, which launched today, includes a series of four 30-second videos running on television, in cinema and online, supported by digital ads, social media and tips and tools for parents and caregivers.

Visit www.makeroomforplay.com for more on how kids—from toddlers to teens—can reduce screen time and increase play time, such as:

•   Make family rules that limit how much screen time your kids are allowed each day.

•    Eliminate background TV as it’s likely to draw your child’s attention. Instead, turn on music.

•     Set a good example and limit your own screen time.

•     For younger children, avoid using screens as an “electronic babysitter”.

•     For older children, don’t allow a TV, computer, or cell phone in your child’s bedroom.

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