Wean off the Screen: February 8, 2011

TV, cell phones, video games, texting, ipods, the list is endless! “Welcome to 2010. You know, you have your PSP, you have your video games, but also lots of kids are on the computer now so it’s not just the TV that is our biggest culprit. It’s all this other technology,” warns Dr. Angela D’Alessandro, a pediatrician on The Children’s Hospital medical staff.

Technology that is causing more kids to gain weight. “As a kid in Southwest Florida, we were outside from the minute we got home from school until the minute the dinner bell rang and on bikes, in the pool, pick up games of kickball in the street. And now, kids have their computers, their texting on their cell phones, they’re watching TV, and they’re not outside as much and this is part of that obesity problem with kids.”

Dr. D’Alessandro suggests that parents set a time limit on technology. “I use a cold turkey method. This I how much you get, and then it’s off.” She says every parent must have a strategy when they are weaning their kids off the screen. “You need to have some backup. What’s the backup plan? And again, there’s a lot of really fun things you can do like planting a garden, likes make a grocery list and go shopping together. Basketball in the front yard. Let’s walk the local track a few times.”

Parents should also follow the same advice. “That’s the beauty of it!” she laughs. “It’s good for you, too! So, not just for the kids, but also for the parents.” This weaning off the screen should be a weeklong event and not just during the weekdays.