Children don’t play as much as they used to for a lot of reasons. One very real barrier to play is the constant lure of screens – video games, television, the internet and smartphones – that has replaced time spent running, playing, and being active.
The Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Children and Youth recommend limiting kids’ screen time to two hours or less a day (and zero screen time for children under the age of two). However, Canadian kids are spending an average of 7 hours and 48 minutes a day in front of television, video games and computer screens.
Too much screen time can:
Make it hard for a child to sleep at night
Raise kid’s risk of attention problems, anxiety, and depression
Raise a child’s risk of gaining too much weight
Leave less time for active, creative play
The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Children and Youth recommend at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity every day. Yet only 5 percent of children today are achieving this.
The benefits of moving more are amazing! Science has shown that when children increase their daily physical activity, their overall quality of life goes up. They sleep better, have improved academic performance, increased self-esteem and they decrease their chances of developing many diseases such as heart disease and type-2 diabetes. In short, physically active kids are generally healthier and happier.