A New Kind of Cleanse: Do Without Screens!

Photo Credit: Deposit Photos
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Congratulations! It’s been nearly a month since you made the commitment to this year, (“definitely!”, “for sure this time!”, “not like last year”) to follow through with your New Year’s Resolutions, or as we like to view them at RRLS, “New Year’s Intentions”. How is it is going? Are you still going to the gym 4 times a week and reading an hour a day? Have you been able to maintain the kale, almonds, green tea and quinoa diet? Is your desk still neat and tidy and all of your receipts organized and filed?

If you’re anything close to human, of course not! You’ve cut corners here and there, possibly picked up new habits in place of old, and inevitably discovered, yet again, that expecting to change behaviour cold turkey is simply unrealistic. Guess what? That’s completely normal and okay! The value in setting goals is that we learn our limitsand capabilities, discover new strategies, and eventually find a rhythm and style that works for us individually. This typically takes more than a few weeks however.

That said, an RRLS student recently shared (and we in turn wanted to share with you) a brilliant idea for a New Year’s cleanse that he and his family have embarked upon. This cleanse is not from sugars, fats or caffeine however; it is from screens. How modern!?

Here are some startling stats to back the idea:

• The Canadian Pediatric Society tells us that “Youth are more sedentary than ever with the widespread availability of television (TV), videos, video games, computers and multimedia phones. Social networking and entertainment through newer technologies also play a role.” CPS recommends that school-age children should watch no more than two hours of television per day, with less than one hour being ideal, and that children should not have access to television in their bedrooms.

• The Childhood Obesity Foundation states that, in 2004, over 1/3 of (Canadian) children aged 6-11 logged 2 hours + of screen time each day.

• Of 51,922 Canadian youth in grades 6 to 12, 50.9% spent more than 2 hours per day in screen-based behaviours. The average daily screen time was 7.8 (± 2.3) hours.

• Limited exercise can lead to obesity. Currently, 59% of adult Canadians are overweight or obese.

• The Canadian Obesity Network estimates in a 2010 report that direct costs of overweight and obesity represented $6 billion – 4.1 % of Canada’s total health care budget.

• According to Media Smart: Canada’s Centre for Media and Digital Literacy, research has identified 3 potential responses to media violence in children: increased fear – also known as “scary-world syndrome”, desensitization to real-life violence, and increased aggressive behaviour.

In light of the above, it should go without saying that our time, especially children’s time during their early years of development, is best spent playing, exploring, reading, creating, and engaging in the world. We all know this of course, but it is easy to forget and the slippery slope to convenience and routine is very powerful.
To inspire you to make some changes in your household, we challenge you and your family to set a new kind of goal. We challenge you to set a “good intention” of limiting or eliminating screens in your home. How long can you go? What interesting activities do you find yourself doing instead? Let us know and we will write a piece about the family with the most unique and successful experience!

For more information on this subject, contact Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space at 416.925.1225 or visit http://www.ruthrumack.com.

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