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Screen time or time to get out in the real world!

Parents are worried about their children with too much screen time and the overall affects it has on children. As children who spend more than two hours per day in front of their screens tend to have more depressive symptoms and can even have a higher propensity for obesity in not eating nutritious foods while on the screen. From playing games, to texting or watching videos, it will not only impact on their health but also their vision.

There are a number of ways to protect our children from screen time, one way is to improve their screen contrast by filtering blue light while they are using these devices. These filters are available as Apps or overlays for smartphones, tablets, and computer screens and reduce blue light from these devices without affecting the visibility of the display. Some are made with tempered glass that protects your devices screen from scratches. Then there of course is wearing glasses to increase contrast by reducing the blue light from digital devices, as a number of lens manufactures produce lenses that filter blue light.

We can simply just set limits on screen time, but if we do what can our kids do with their time? Especially when the school holidays are here! As even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, our research revealed that 83% of parents were concerned about the amount of time their children spent in front of screens and monitors.

So, what can we do to help our children become more physically active during the pandemic? It’s about being a good role model to encourage our children and changing some of their behaviour. Maybe you can change your home environment to encourage a more active and less sedentary lifestyle, such as devoting space to a home gym or overall to think how they spend their time at home.

It is important that families develop new routines for staying physically and mentally healthy and one way is for families and children to get involved in volunteering. As we look around, we see a world where our children are all too often in the world of computers and TV screens and are removed from real life experiences. By children interacting with people from all walks of life they can discover their strengths and qualities and use them to help others. Volunteering is a great way for kids to dig deep and get some hands-on experiences and be a valued member of their community. You will eventually see that your kid’s emotional development and communication skills will be improved giving them that sense of social responsibility.  The time your kids spend volunteering will actually increase their empathy in relating with the people they will serve.

Why not volunteer with your whole family, as volunteering together as a family will give your family a purpose as you serve together. Your kids will learn from your example as you share empathy and compassion with others. It will give you a common ground as a family and allow you to share something you’re passionate about. Your whole entire family can learn about teamwork and accomplishing something as a group. You don’t have to spend hours volunteering, as there are volunteering opportunities where you can pick and choose where you want to help out. It’s important to choose something fun and discuss your options as a family.

A quick examination of media reports on reasons for volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic highlights that some people just want to give back, in feeling that they are doing something at a time of crisis. It enables them to cope with sad accounts they hear everyday in the media. Volunteering can be very comforting indeed in helping people overcome feelings of helplessness and give back to the community.

One way to volunteer is through Knox which is jointly governed through a partnership between the five Knox neighbourhood Houses-Coonara Community House, The Basin Community House, Rowville Neighbourhood Learning Centre, Mountain District Learning Centre and Orana Neighbourhood House. The volunteer resource centre is funded by Knox City Council and its purpose is to increase volunteering opportunities.

Just go to http://volunteerforknox.com.au and have fun searching!

Natalie Monelli

  • Aug'20

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