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Where Have All The Children Gone?

Where have all the children gone?

The statistics prove where they are! This post was written to make myself and other parents feel bad. I have no excuses and need to step it up a notch… do you? We know darn well where the children have gone, and we as parents are responsible.

You know you’re getting old when you starting making statements like, “When I was a kid…!”

Well, when I was a kid and especially during Canadian winters, the streets were filled with children, and even adults, playing street hockey, building snow forts, and generally having fun regardless of how cold it was.

Today, and many days this winter, I have noticed that when I am outside with my daughters playing in the snow, and generally re-living my youth through them, there is an eerie silence. That silence is infrequently interrupted by garage doors opening, and the odd mini-van coming and going!

Where have all the children gone?

I’m not a perfect parent by any means, and during the winter my kids only play outside a few times a week. Just a couple times a week is too little. Just a short 25 years ago, I would be out playing from the time school let out until the street lights came on… every single day!  Today, the Nintendo DSI, homework, the Wii, gymnastics, piano lessons, computers and a freaking busy life tend to get in the way of spending time together, let alone outdoors. Then throw in the fear of predators and an unsafe violent world, and NO wonder life has changed.

Either way, we are responsible as parents.

What do the statistics say about where the kids are 24/7?

(4.0 hrs) They are watching an average of 4 hours of TV a day. Number of minutes per week that the average child watches television:  1,680  http://www.csun.edu/science/health/docs/tv&health.html#tv_stats

(9.0 hrs) They are sleeping on average 9 hours a day. http://www.bls.gov/tus/charts/chart16.pdf

(5.0 hrs) Most are in school 7 hr a day 5 days a week or averaged out to approx.  5 hours daily per week. This doesn’t take into account homework.

(30 min) Homework. http://social.jrank.org/pages/985/Trends-in-Elementary-Secondary-Education-Why-So-Much-Homework.html

(30 min) Only 13% of Canadian Children are getting the recommended 90 Minutes of physical activity daily. 87% are not.  http://www.activehealthykids.ca/ecms.ashx/ReportCard2009/AHKC-Longform_WEB_FINAL.pdf

(1.0 hrs) 48% of Canadian children spend at least an hour online per day. http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/resources/research_documents/statistics/internet/parents_aware_kids_use.cfm

(1.0 hrs) Eating http://www.bls.gov/tus/charts/

(3.0 hrs) Miscellaneous. Hmmm… guess this would consist of bathroom breaks, playing with friends, talking on the phone and or a million other little things.

As depressing as all the above statistics are, and how much worse it could be if I threw in childhood obesity, the decreased time spent with our children for multiple commitments, and the stress that technology has truly placed on our lives, there is only one solution.

Schedule as often as possible to turn the technology off, unplug the world, and show our children how to make snow forts, build tree houses, capture frogs and breath the air of life we so desperately need just as bad as they do!

Do you disagree, relate or what?

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