Lord of the WiFis: Attack of the Couch Slouch

Lord of the WiFis: Attack of the Couch Slouch

(The 1st of a Series)

In today’s society, we are bombarded by more information than ever experienced by previous generations. The speed of information gives us the illusion that we can accomplish more, faster and better than any generation before. Although technology has advanced rapidly, our genetics have not. The gap between the rate of receiving information and actually processing it can directly affect our ability to prioritize.

I wrote the above statement approximately 3 years ago when I started building the website for my business. An important realization came to mind as I was sorting through some of my past projects: The impact from what you’ve said or written in the past, things that may have seemed somewhat inconsequential or of little importance back then, will more often than not have a more significant impact on yourself when revisited.

When I grew up in the late 70’s and 80’s, video games were just getting started. Even when Nintendo hit the stores, practically wiping out the competition, it was a rarity to spend all day inside. At some point, we had had enough of Punch Out or Legend of Zelda and our parents said we’d go blind in front of the TV which was more than enough to get us out the door and in the field. Now we walk around with screens six inches from their faces all the time.

What was once a “momentary activity” to engage in for a minute section of our day has now become a controversial compulsive habit that negatively impacts society as a greater whole. I see video games, the Internet, SmartPhones and the like as mere tools. Like most things in life, “intent” plays a very large role in determining whether or not something is good or bad. For instance, too much exposure to bacteria can be bad. However, exposure to bacteria helps the body develop a healthy immune system. Too much time spent exercising can be hard on the body, but regular exercise with proper rest helps develop a strong body and healthy mind. The point here is about maintaining balance, which is a problem that society has been struggling with since time immemorial.

So how does a parent, teacher or caregiver stop the dopamine drip of a habit from turning it into a deluge of addiction?

  1. Limit access: whether it’s food, video games, or a favorite sport, everyone needs a break, self reflective time or just time learning to be in their own skin. It’s important not to forget that alone time has many healthy benefits.
  2. No devices in the bedroom. For many reasons, all devices should be charged and kept outside of a child’s room. (more on this in the upcoming blog posts)
  3. Play video games with your kids. Create physical penalties for making mistakes in-game like push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks or burpees. That way, the intent for playing video games is no longer to just “play the game” but rather spend valuable time with loved ones. Besides, you won’t be slouching on the couch the whole time.

Defining clear, positive and balanced boundaries creates good habits early on which will help children learn to self-regulate their time wisely. This fosters self-confidence and a sense of self-control that will pay dividends later in life as well as strengthen your familial bond.

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