Now that technology is a big presence in most of our lives, it’s important to know how much time we should spend in front of the many screens we’re exposed to each day, and find a happy medium.
Kids in the digital age
Kids love screens. They’re bright and colourful and attention-grabbing. And as much as they are an essential part of being a kid in 2014 and beyond, they can be addictive and often come at the expense of things like quality family time, play dates and exercise.
Schools have made technology part of the curriculum, and rightly so. But in some households, this habit has extended into entertainment as well. When your kids are constantly glued to a screen, it’s not just that they aren’t being active, it can also lead to sleep deprivation.
Do you know how much time your kids spend with digital media each day?
Our screen time suggestions
0-2 years old – Kids below the age of 2 should stay away from screens altogether
3-5 years old – An hour a day is more than enough for this age group
6-18 years old – Stick to 2 hours a day.
Tip: Virgin Active offers great ways for your kids to stay active in a safe environment. They’ll get to run around and play and socialise. It’s a great idea to get your kids introduced to an active lifestyle as soon as possible. That way, they’re more likely to be fit and healthy when they grow up. Find out more about Club-V and Club-V Max right here.
If your kids are old enough to use the gym equipment or go to group exercise classes (14 and up), bring them with to gym! Go for a swim or take a Ride class together. Spend some time together while staying active!
Tip: Virgin Active has created a special group exercise class, Kaos just for the 8 to 13 year olds.
Students and their screens
For students (teens and young adults), social media, selfies and instant messaging are massive. But how does that affect them? New research suggests that technology used in the classroom for non-academic purposes has worsened exam scores. The constant ‘multitasking’ that is involved is attractive but the effects are more detrimental than most people think. Phones and laptops can’t be banned from lecture halls, but the awareness and value of ‘being in the moment’ can go a long way, not just academically.
Tip: A great way to stay social and active (and away from the screen) is to round up a bunch of friends and do a group exercise class. Virgin Active has something to suit everybody’s tastes. You can see which class will suit you and your goals best right here. Is there supposed to be a link here ?
Active parents, active kids
Set an example. Your children look to you and what they see affects how they’ll be. Many of us spend our days cooped up in the office, glued to our computers or mobile phone. And it’s the same when we get home: TV, Facebook or a little online Scrabble. This is an example that kids are exposed to. Adults actually have to make even more of an effort to counteract the effects of our modern lifestyle, by actively making choices to go ‘old school’ and reduce screen time.
Our bodies are meant for movement. Did you know that sitting is fast becoming the new smoking, adding to health issues like obesity and other related cardiac risk factors?
Tip: If you feel like you aren’t being physical enough and need an extra push to get there, why not consider a Personal Trainer? For motivation in numbers, try a group exercise class. And if you prefer flying solo, spend some time on the treadmill or indoor bike. Swim some laps. If the weather’s good, take a hike! Don’t forget: Our saunas and steam rooms provide a great way to rid your body of toxins and to de-stress after a difficult workout or long day at the office. Spend some time in them.
Track your screen time and make a change
Start tracking how much time you and your family spend in front of a screen, including things like TV- and DVD-watching, playing video games, and using the computer for something other than school or work. Then take a look at how much physical activity all of you get. That way you’ll get a sense of what changes need to be made.