A: The temptation and
excitement of video games is difficult for kids to resist. If your
child is spending more than three hours a day playing video games,
that adds up to over 21 hours a week! That may be more time than he
spends reading, participating in family activities -- or doing
homework during the school year.
Researchers have found a strong link between screen media use and
obesity. Today's children are increasingly at risk of the health
problems caused by obesity. Consider that the time children spend
using screen media replaces time they could spend in physical
activity. Children are more likely to snack, and more likely to
snack on unhealthy foods, when they eat in front of a computer or TV
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than one to
two hours per day of quality media time for children. This includes
TV, videos and video games.
Here's what you can do to reduce the time your son plays video
Establish time limits. Then tell your son what you have
decided. It may help to get a kitchen timer. Have your son set it
for the amount of time he is permitted to play. When the timer goes
off, he turns off his game, too. Remove the controllers to the games
if your child breaks your rules.
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your son's video game activities. If he has a computer or a
television in his bedroom, move it to a more central location.
Hang around. If you're always there curiously watching and
wanting to see what your son is playing, he's likely to want to be
somewhere else doing another activity!
Provide alternatives to video games. Sign your son up for
a summer activity. Get outside for a walk or a game of catch with
your son. Do a craft project, play a board game, visit the library
or do a puzzle together.
Pitch a "reading tent" in the back yard -- or even in a
corner of your living room! Stock it with lots of interesting books
For more information about helping
children learn, go to
http://www.parent-institute.com. To submit your own question,
use the form at
howitworks.php. All questions will receive
a prompt answer by e-mail.
Copyright 2006, The Parent Institute
"Ask the Learning Advisor -- Ideas for Raising Successful
Children" is a free, syndicated column from the Parent Institute.