Children and teenagers spend an average of four hours a day just on television time, according to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Add in computer time, time spent on the Internet or smart phone, and video game playing, and it’s easy to see how teens can spend a significant chunk of their waking time plugged in. Electronics, while useful for communication, schoolwork and entertainment, can cause problems if they’re overused.

The 42 kids who attended Central Community House’s nine-week Summer Camp have been giving the chance to be unplugged this summer between the hours of 9:00 to 3:00 weekdays as they experienced a wide range of activities here at Central Community House.  Participants are between the ages of 5 and 13 years old.

The national statistics of children over-using technology is alarming and parents need to be aware of the dangers.  One of the concerns with too much screen time is that it promotes a sedentary lifestyle, which is one of the major contributing factors to obesity and a major risk factor for heart disease, according to the Texas Heart Institute. “As many as 33 percent of teens are obese, according to estimates by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry published by the Texas Heart Institute. Obese teens are more likely to grow up to become obese adults, giving them an increased risk for chronic health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. Trading even just 30 minutes of electronics time per day for physical activity can help significantly reduce these risks.”

During CCH Summer Camp our kids kept busy moving their bodies with popular games like Four Square, Two Square and basketball.  Ohio State University students also visited teaching healthy eating and living classes.  During these sessions they learned what they should be eating, played kickball and did an obstacle course.

They also went swimming at the local recreation center every Friday, and went bowling and skating on a regular basis, too.  They could also take a self-defense class three times a week.

Another reason to limit screen time is the content that is easily available is often inappropriate and violent.  It’s been proven that kids who spend a significant amount of time playing violent video games or watching violent television shows are more likely to fight with their peers, argue with their teachers and generally engage in more aggressive behaviors, according to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.

On the flip side, kids at CCH Summer Camp learned how to peacefully get along with others through group activities like social dancing, cooking classes and over an hour of free play each day.

“The kids are just having fun and they don’t even realize all the educational components behind the activities,” said Nikki Crowder, Youth Program Coordinator.

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