About twenty years ago, children used to play outside all day long until it got dark, ride bikes, build forts and play sports. Children used to crate their own form of play and nature was their playground. The dining room table used to be a gathering place to bake together, play games, do crafts and homework. Today’s families are much different as they depend on technology to get things done faster and more efficiently. Families have not noticed the significant changes it has had to the family structure and lifestyle.
A 2010 Kaiser Foundation study stated that elementary aged children use entertainment technology such as, TV, video games, and internet about 7.5 hours per day, 75 percent of these children have TV’s in their bedrooms, and 50 percent of homes in America keep the TV on all day. The “dining room family time” has been replaced by take out and the “big screen.” Kids have become more isolated from their parents and family time is mainly sitting in front of the television watching sitcoms or movies.
Children have become more sedentary. They are not reaching developmental milestones resulting in limited sensory and motor development. The impact of the overuse of technology on the developing child has resulted in an increase in developmental delays, behavioral and psychological disorders, learning difficulties, coordination difficulties, unintelligible speech, writing and reading difficulties, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, obesity, and childhood diabetes.
Healthy childhood development is dependent on movement, human interaction, touch, and being in nature. Children should have 2 to 3 hours active play to obtain adequate sensory stimulation to their vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile systems. “Tactile stimulation received through touching, hugging and play is critical for the development of praxis, or planned movement patterns.”