The Skinny on a Good Media Diet for Kids This Summer
A recent study shows that kids gain weight over the summer -- here's what parents can do about it.
San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) May 25, 2007 -
Parents probably don't need any reminding, but summer is just around the corner. With it will come hours of free time that kids are bound to fill with television, video games, the Internet -- and maybe some unwanted weight.
A study released earlier this year found that kids actually gained more weight over the summer than they did during the school year, drawing into question the assumption that kids spend their summers playing outdoors.
"Media is a huge part of kids' lives today -- kids actually spend more than twice as much time with media each week than they do with their parents," said Common Sense Media CEO and founder James Steyer. "It stands to reason that, given more free time when they're out of school, kids are inclined to use more and more media."
Previous research has shown that the more time kids spend watching television, the more likely they are to be obese.
"Media is fun for kids, and it can be a great way for families to bond together," Steyer said. "The challenge for parents is to make sure that media is a positive part of kids' lives. In addition to the risk of obesity, unsupervised media use can pose a number of other hazards to kids, particularly those old enough to go online."
To help parents ensure that their kids are using media in healthy, positive ways this summer, Common Sense offers the following tips:
1. Set boundaries. Agree with your kids in advance about how many hours will be devoted to watching television, playing XBox or IMing friends. Make sure you include reading, playing and being outside as part of every day's activities. Setting a clear limit on the amount of time kids spend with media will reduce their risk of obesity.
2. Review Internet safety basics. Yes, our kids say they know the rules, but it doesn't hurt to remind them never to give out personal information or meet strangers. And you might want to take a look at their MySpace page -- just to be sure.
3. Do your homework. School's out for kids, but parents still have homework. Before you let your kids go to a movie, surf a new site or watch a new TV series, make sure you know the content and that it's age appropriate. The good news: All the information you need is readily available at www. commonsense. com.
4. Enjoy media together. Have a family movie night. Take a trip to the bookstore or library. Rent video games you can play together. Enjoying media with your kids can lead naturally to conversations about what they're seeing, playing and hearing -- and can help them think more clearly (even in the summer) about the messages they're absorbing.