According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, 25 percent of three-year olds and 50 percent of five-year olds spend time online every day. With obesity reaching epidemic levels in the U.S., it should come as no surprise that pre-schoolers spend more time online than they do engaged in physical activity.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that too much technology in children’s lives has been connected to higher levels of aggressive behavior as well as diagnoses of depression. The first “prescription” a pediatrician offers to parents of anxious youngsters these days? Turn off the television, video games, computer, phone and tablet.
But being “over-plugged in” isn’t just a problem for children. Teens and adults are showing multiple signs of detachment that are similar to children raised in large orphanages. Unwillingness to make eye contact, inability to stay active in a conversation and discomfort with physical touch are being blamed on too much time spent with technology.
All that technology isn’t just a time waster. It’s also pumping out positive ions and radiation that have been shown to affect overall wellness.
Convincing your family to unplug may be a challenge. But starting with small changes can yield big results. Try these tips to make unplugging easier:
Keep a media diary
Jot down how much time each family member spends online, watching TV, playing video games, texting, etc. Most people are surprised how much time is spent plugged in. Awareness often leads to the self-challenge of cutting back.
Create a technology budget
Work with each family member to determine what’s a reasonable amount of technology time.
Swap technology for physical activity
What distraction works for smokers trying to quit and dieters who crave their favorite food? Increasing their heart rate through physical activity. The same trade (exercise for technology) eases the unplugging process.
Put your cell phone on “do not disturb” or airplane mode. Store video games and tablets out of site. Consider placing your TV in an armoire that closes. Out of sight really is out of mind, making unplugging much easier.
Boost the benefits
The opposite of unhealthy positive ions is, of course, negative ions. Unplugging reduces positive ions, but why stop there? LIFE Himalayan salt lamps emit negative ions that produce a calm that you might otherwise only experience in nature. Nothing reinforces a new behavior like a reward and the negative ions from LIFE Home's lamps reward you with improved relaxation and an increased sense of wellbeing.