textingA first-of-its kind study compares physical activity levels of children around the world. Active Healthy Kids Canada compared children and youth in 15 countries. Most developed countries received high grades for physical activity infrastructure and programs, but trailed at the back of the pack for overall physical activity levels and sedentary behavior.

One of the key statements is that kids are not playing with their free time. Their free time is being used primarily with screen time as opposed to active time. Canada has programs and infrastructure for physical activity and parents are paying for their children to participate. More than 90% of children over the age of 5 are not meeting a target of an hour a day of moderate to vigorous exercise.

This is the 21st Century. Get with it.

phoneDoctors 2 parents: Limit kids’ tweeting, texting & keep smart phones, laptops out of the bedroom.

#goodluckwiththat. LOL teens will say.

Media use has been linked with violence, cyberbullying, school woes, obesity, aggression, lack of sleep… Are parents clueless about the impact of media? This is the question asked by Dr Victor Strasbuger, lead author of the new American Academy of Pediatrics policy. (Ref: Media and Children www.aap.org)

The policy is aimed at all kids and expands the Academy’s longstanding recommendations on banning televisions from bedrooms and limiting entertainment screen time to no more than two hours daily.

The policy statement cites a 2010 report that found that North American children aged 8 – 18 spend an average of more than 7 hours daily using some kind of entertainment media. Young people now spend more time on media than they do in school. Media is the leading activity for children and teenagers other than sleeping.

While there needs to be continuing concern about the harmful effects of the 24/7 domination of media culture, the policy statement recognizes the positive and pro-social effects of media.

What is a healthy social media diet?

kidsphonesEven though kids see themselves as experts and will scoff at advice, parents, educators and doctors should promote a healthy media diet that will lead to more limits and more government research on the effects of media.

This is the 21st century and we need to get with it. Time for a fundamental cultural shift toward full support for promotion of a healthy school community.


Does a super abundance of digital distractions require that we engineer a healthy media diet? Nielsen ratings reported that the average teenager sends and receives 4,000 test messages every month.

Dr. Douglas Gentile (Iowa State University), a leading authority on the effects of media on the brains of the young, states that there are consequences to a digital glut.

Some examples:

  • Babies who watch television, in particular, end up more likely to show attention deficit problems when they reach school age.
  • The more we read online, the shallower our reading becomes.
  • Deprivation of absence from media lessens the likelihood of daydreaming and solitude. These are vital parts of life that lead to original thinking.


Anthony Storr in “Solitudes” chronicles that true creativity can only prosper if we break the constant connectivity and are given the gift of aloneness. Solitude and empty spaces provide the capacity for reaching creative potential. The stakes are high if this is not done.

We need to give help to our teens so they can actually see how they use the Internet.