Let Them Play
School holidays are fast approaching. It is a much needed break for developing brains to organise and process information gathered over the term, regenerate and prepare for the next term of learning.
While it is nice to ‘chill out’, I urge you to resist the temptation to allow your child or children to sit for 2 hours or more playing some form of electronic game/device per day for the perceived ease of it.
As a parent I understand at times it is convenient to allow this to occur; however, laying down foundations for future growth and development creates the infrastructure to health diversity.
From the very early stages of development, the brain is constantly creating new neural pathways or ‘roads’ if you like, connecting areas within the brain, and the brain and body. Movement stimulates pathway development but it is the repetition that creates strength within these networks. So if your children are constantly sitting on their bottoms playing ‘gaming devices’, they may be doing more harm than good! Consider it current planning for future success of brain and body.
If your child asks ‘why can’t I watch TV or play my Xbox’ (for more than a 2 hour period), you can find comfort in knowing that encouraging your child to actively play stimulates different areas of the brain and its connections. Actively playing games contributes to the development of fine and gross motor skills and problem solving skills, as well as your child’s attention span, speech, memory, comprehension, balance and co-ordination. More information available at the end of this Newsletter…..
Other health professionals share a similar view…. Local Chiropractor Marcus Kennedy says:
As a chiropractor I see our seated lifestyle, particularly playing video games, as significant for 2 important reasons. Firstly, the effect it has on the spine and, secondly, its effect on the brain.
Our spines are so important to our health because they support and protect our nervous system which is the communication system for our brains and body. Sitting, unfortunately, encourages weakness in the spine and poor posture, whereas getting outside and moving around and playing generally encourages strengthening of the spine and a good posture. Have you ever noticed that people who have a nice straight posture are on the whole, far healthier than people with a rounded posture and a forward head tilt? I notice this all the time. I believe this is primarily because of the effects on the nervous system. If your brain, tissues and organs aren’t communicating well with each other you can’t reach your full health potential. That brings me to video games and their effects on the brain. Video games predominantly stimulate or, in many cases, overstimulate the small visual area of the brain. Playing sports or games with parents, siblings or friends, on the other hand, stimulates a far wider range of senses, in particular the movement centre of the brain. Movement and co-ordination are by far the biggest drivers of learning, co-ordination and overall balanced neurological development. So, if you want your kids to develop fully, you need to encourage them to take part in a wide range of activities which includes physical activity. Good posture and development, like all good health habits, start in childhood but have wide ranging positive effects right though life. http://www.wangarattachiropractor.com.au/
Similarly, Building Biologist Narelle Haw shares her knowledge regarding signs and symptoms of over use which may surprise you…
Ever seen what I like to call a “technology tantrum”? This is one that happens when you ask your child to get off the computer, PlayStation, iPad, etc. Well, it may not be just a tantrum. There is significant research linking a “technology” rich environment with behavioural issues, poor concentration, irritability, and fatigue.
Narelle says “We are now seeing many children with symptoms of what is known as Electromagnetic Hyper Sensitivity or EHS. EHS sufferers deal with symptoms from headaches and nausea to muscle aches and pains, heart palpitations and severe insomnia. But the solution is not about getting rid of Wi-Fi, computers and PlayStations. It is about using these things wisely”.
Limiting your time spent on these items (1-2 hours), and ensuring that they are not used after 7 or 8 at night, can significantly reduce your chance of being affected. Other tips include ensuring Wi-Fi routers are switched off when not in use, grounding yourself after a gaming session and switching mobile phones to aeroplane mode at night. For more information and tips see http://www.atharmony.com.au/index.php/electo-hyper-sensitivity/