Long ago, television was blamed as the source of children’s negative attitudes, behavioral problems and physical detriments like obesity. The term “Couch Potato” was coined then coined, to describe someone who sits in front of the television all day long. Spending so much time in front of the TV has been said to increase one’s idleness, and decrease his physical activities and critical thinking.
However, in today’s world, computers have caught up with television sets; we live in an era of digital natives. With the invention of the internet, the world is at our fingertips.
It is not surprising to find people who spend their time in front of the computer all day long. This digital era is the birth of the new term, “Mouse Potato”.
There have been alarming reports of how inactivity in children has drastically increased. Not to mention, childhood obesity rates have doubled in the last thirty years. Based on a study done by the American Obesity Association, there are 25% of children who are found overweight.
Based on the above statistics, parents should do something to combat the threats of their children turning into “mouse potatoes”. While it is true that the online world can offer information to children, spending too much time on the computer can have detrimental effects.
Technology has helped us in so many ways in terms of our lifestyles. However, it can be damaging if it is not used in moderation.
What can parents do
Setting computer rules at home will help prevent your child from being glued to the computer. Allocate specific time slots for children to use the computer. This will encourage them to prioritise their needs, and use the computer more effectively, instead of surfing aimlessly.
You can also provide software that will protect children from spam and other malicious virus or pop-ups online. One example will be Norton Online Family. Parents could also initiate other physical activities which could be a form of bonding and diversion away from the computer.
With such easy access to the internet these days, parents not only need to set rules to regulate the use of computer time, they also need to monitor their child’s web traffic, to protect them from any potential online predators.
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