With the advent of the internet, how people interact with others has changed forever. Today, children start watching television at younger ages than in the past and they also spend a large amount of time in front of computer and smart phone screens. However, with less time spent outside playing and interacting with friends face-to-face, both children and adults are having more health-related problems.
Lack of Social Interaction
One would think that having additional ways of interacting with people would be a good thing. However, an article in the Annuals of Disease in Childhood states that children who engage in large amounts of television watching, computer and smart phone socializing actually have less effective social and communication skills. Without the experience of physically interacting with peers, they do not learn social nonverbal cues for effective communication.
Additionally, both children and adults who use social media extensively for extensive social interaction suffer from higher rates of anxiety and depression. While chat rooms and social media posts may provide an outlet for individuals, it also provokes anxiety and compulsive behaviors. Often, users find it difficult to stay away from checking their email, chat rooms and social media posts. These behaviors can become detrimental to healthier and more productive activities.
Sedentary Health Problems
There is no denying that television and the introduction of the computer have opened doors for new experiences and knowledge. However, children who do not engage in healthy physical activity often become adults who are also sedentary.
Today, children are more likely to come home from school and sit in front of the computer or television rather than go outside and ride their bikes or play with other kids. Unfortunately, the frequent result is children who are overweight and prone to health conditions that were mainly experienced by adults, such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
For adults who are not physically active, these problems are also present. Being employed in a profession that requires a great deal of time sitting at a desk or staring at a computer often leads to increased weight, high blood pressure, increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart problems. Additionally, many adults suffer with back and neck pain and repetitive motion injuries as a result of sitting at a desk and working on a computer all day.
The Prescription for Relief
The good news is that for many children and adults the solution costs no money, does not require medication and is accessible to almost everyone. Being physically active does not require suddenly becoming a marathon runner. Instead, taking a daily afternoon or evening walk is enough activity to maintain heart health. For optimal weight loss, being active at least 30 minutes daily along with eating a healthy diet can cause the pounds to fall off. Eliminating high sugar and processed foods can also dramatically impact weight loss. Simply eliminating soda from your diet can have a surprisingly positive effect on blood sugar, blood pressure and weight.
What other activities do you enjoy as an alternative to watching television or computer games?
– The Alternative Daily