Do Your Kids Spend Too Much Time Online?

Read this article on News.com about kids and their online time, Parents fret that dialing up interferes with growing up, it mostly talked about how much more time kids are spending online, chatting, playing games, etc.

A report on teenagers and technology released this summer by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that teenagers’ use of computers has increased significantly. More than half of teenage Internet users go online daily, up from 42 percent in 2000, the report said; 81 percent of those users play video games, up from 52 percent.

Instant messaging has become “the digital communication backbone of teens’ daily lives,” used by 75 percent of online teenagers, according to the Pew report. “Parents are really struggling with this,” said David Walsh, the president of the National Institute on Media and the Family, a nonprofit educational organization in Minneapolis that began a program this year to help families reduce screen time and increase physical activity. “As the gadgets keep evolving, they keep consuming more and more of our kids’ time. Our kids need a balanced diet of activity, and the problem is that it’s getting out of balance. I don’t think as a society we’re dealing with it yet.”

Parents are mostly worried about their kids spending too much time in front of the computer and not getting enough activity and contact with the real world.

A survey of 8- to 18-year-olds by the Kaiser Family Foundation this year found that the total amount of media content young people are exposed to each day has gone up by more than one hour over the past five years, to eight and a half hours.

But because they are multitasking, young people are packing that content into an average of six and a half hours a day, including three hours watching television, nearly two hours listening to music, more than an hour on the computer outside of homework (more than double the average of 27 minutes in 1999) and just under an hour playing video games.

I have the best solution in the world to help parents regulate their kids online time. Little League sports. Baseball, football, basketball, softball, soccer, flag football, there are any number of little league sports and every area has some local little leagues you can join with things to do for both boys and girls. Little League will make sure your kids are getting exercise, they will help your kids develop character, they will help your kids realize things like not everyone can be quarterback, not everyone can be CEO of an organization. It will help teach your kids about life, about teamwork, about sharing and giving, and it will reward them with experiences they will cherish forever. Sure, there are up and downs, in every game there is one loser and one winner, but these experiences will prepare them for the real world, and it will help them get the exercise every child needs, as well as shorten the amount of time they have to sit around and chat with their friends online.

Plus, you have the added benefit of strengthening the local little leagues who are losing kids every year, there are so many different things kids can be doing nowadays, like playing games on their Xbox or PS2, watching movies, chatting on the computer, browsing sites online, etc. I’m President of our local baseball little league and it’s a lot of work, it’s not for everyone, but I can tell you, I would love to have lots more kids show up this baseball season, to help make our league stronger, help our kids get stronger and healthier, plus, they get exposed to lots more kids when they start playing the other teams from other leagues, kids they will end up in high school or college with one day.

Many parents say they are limiting screen time, checking their children’s Web-surfing histories and using filters to block objectionable material. Another strategy is to keep only one computer in the house and to place it in a common area, like the family room, better to monitor children’s online habits.

Another strategy is to take your kids to little league, stregthen their bodies and minds at the same time. I didn’t play any sports when I was little, my dad was a gear head, but you don’t have to coach if you don’t want to, their is always someone willing to take that task on, plus, it will enable your kids to be able to coach their kids or their grand kids. I can’t wait to see what my boys and girl can do with their kids when they grow up, and I can’t wait to be sitting in the stands watching my grand kids play baseball and football just like my kids. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Here is a link where you can search for your local little league baseball teams, Click here.