Sadly, childhood obesity has risen dramatically over the past few years. With the percentage of overweight children up into the high twenties to low thirties, it is evident that the health and well-being of America’s kids is rapidly on the decline. While some people attribute this drastic change to poor parenting, an increase in fast food consumption, or the prevalence of television in today’s society, the underlying cause might have a lot more to do with how these children are spending their computer time. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, which are both now available in mobile versions as well, have overtaken the Internet world. In fact, the average person spends anywhere from eight to twenty hours a month on Facebook alone. Could these sites be the real cause of the downfall in children’s health? If so, what can be done to stop it?
The Real Enemy
It is important to understand that computers and the Internet in general are not the enemies here. In fact, sites like Google, Dictionary.com, and other educational sources are actually very helpful tools for both adults and children alike. The real enemies with which these kids are at war are procrastination, laziness, lack of drive, and mind-numbing sites with no educational value. Facebook and Twitter are two of these websites. Though these social outlets are a great place to reconnect with old friends and make a few new ones, this is all they should be used for.
The problem is that these sites provide a lot more to their visitors than just an online social gathering place. Games like Farmville, Fishville, Yoville, and whatever other –villes there are out there have begun to consume hours upon hours of people’s time. Kids will come home from school and log on to Facebook just to sit and play one of these ridiculous games for the rest of the evening. Where is their exercise? Where are their friends and fresh air? What can be done to break this terrible pattern?
The Real Solution
Though it seems there is little that can be done to avoid this problem, as Facebook and other toxic sites will most likely be around for years to come, there are some very realistic ways to break kids of their gaming ways and get them back to being fit and healthy. Exercise, social stimulation, and parental control are absolute necessities in a child’s life. Parents of obese children often tend to give up once their child passes a certain point. They do not know how to handle the weight gain or what to do to reverse it. It’s actually pretty simple—be the parent.
Many kids play games on the computer for hours on end simply because they are allowed to: so, why not? These children have never been told by an adult to get up, get off the computer, and go do something useful. Many parents, unfortunately, have fallen into the pattern of letting their children turn to social media for all of their daily entertainment. Kids need to be outside, running and playing with their friends, not cooped up in the house all day long.
Perhaps there is more to the childhood obesity problem than poor eating habits and lack of outside stimulation. Websites like Facebook and Twitter have begun to consume people’s lives. Instead of always searching for things and people outside the home to blame for a child’s weight gain, take a look within the house and really evaluate what other factors might be contributing to this nationwide epidemic.
Valerie Mellema is the owner of Words You Want and has over 7 years experience in the SEO writing industry. Read about what Words You Want has to offer and learn some great content marketing tips at http://blog.wordsyouwant.com.