Technology has changed the way we live our lives in many ways, and the way we raise our children is no exception. In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the amount of time that children spend with screens and the inevitable negative consequences of the consumption of social media.
One of the most significant changes that technology has brought about is the way that children play. In the past, children would spend hours outside playing games, riding bikes, or just running around. Today, however, many children spend their free time indoors, playing video games, watching TV, or using their phones.
This shift to more sedentary activities has had a negative impact on children’s physical activity levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 20% of children and adolescents aged 6-17 years meet the recommended amount of physical activity for their age group.
This lack of movement naturally leads to an increase in obesity, which then also affects self-esteem and overall mental health. This can lead to a toxic cycle of depression that creates less activity and being less social, and vice-versa.
Nowadays, communication has become more remote, and remote is emotionally removed. The kids meet online and play together on the screen; they are connected but very much disconnected from reality.
When most of our communication is done on the screen, we lack the physical connection between humans. We are being robbed of all the positivity that comes with it! During a positive physical human interaction, the brain releases a number of hormones and neurotransmitters that have a several positive effects on the body and mind.
Some of the hormones and neurotransmitters released during positive physical-human interaction include:
Oxytocin is often called the “love hormone” because it is released during activities that promote bonding, such as hugging. Oxytocin has a number of benefits, including reducing stress, boosting the immune system, and promoting trust and empathy.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is associated with pleasure and reward. It is released when we experience something that we enjoy, such as eating food or spending time with loved ones. Dopamine helps to motivate us to seek out pleasurable experiences and to learn new things.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is associated with mood, sleep, and appetite. It is released when we feel happy, relaxed, and content. Serotonin helps to regulate our mood, sleep, and appetite.
Positive physical human interaction helps reduce stress, improve our mood, and boost our immune system. It helps us feel connected to others and to build stronger and more meaningful relationships.
These are skills that kids might lose due to lack of physical activity can have a profound effect on their trajectory in life.
- Gross motor skills: These are important for activities such as running, jumping, and climbing. Kids who are not active may not develop these skills as well as active kids.
- Fine motor skills: These are the skills we use to control our hands and fingers, such as writing, drawing, and using tools. Kids who are not active may not develop these skills as well as kids who are active.
- Social skills: Kids who are not active may not have as many opportunities to interact with other kids. This can lead to problems with social skills, such as making friends and cooperating with others.
- Problem-solving skills: Kids who are not active may not have as many opportunities to solve problems. This can lead to issues with problem-solving skills, such as finding solutions to challenges and making decisions.
- Creativity: Kids who are not active may not have as many opportunities to be creative. This can lead to problems with creativity, such as coming up with new ideas and expressing themselves in new ways.
It is important for kids to be active so that they can develop these skills. The decrease in physical activity among children is a serious concern and it is vital for maintaining healthy weight, reducing the risk of future chronic illnesses and improving mental health and cognitive function.
There are a number of things we as parents can do to encourage our kids to be more active like.
- Limiting screen time
- Ensuring that children have plenty of opportunities to play outside
- Enrolling children in organized sports or physical activities
- Making physical activity a family activity
- Setting a good example by being active yourself
We must remember that even small amounts of physical activity is better than none at all. So, if your child is not getting the recommended amount of physical activity, encourage them to be as active as they can, even if it is just for a few minutes each day.
As I am a big believer in Krav Maga and martial arts as a mandatory life skill, I would, of course, suggest you enroll them in a program they could benefit from. During the school year, it has to be integrated into their schedule as a part of their weekly activities. During the summertime, you can enroll them in summer camps that will provide them with a full day of empowering activities. With the right guidance, our children will grow to be stronger healthier adults.
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