For most of us, summer is basically here already. While the “unoffical” start is Memorial Day, the nice weather makes me want to get outside and do things. I want to be out in the sun, with the family, enjoying the day and each others company. Yet, as simple as this may seem, I’m seeing a disturbing trend these days with families, and especially children. There seems to be a lack in the desire to spend time together outside. Today I’ll go over why this is a problem, and what you can do to maximize your summer.
What The Hell Happened
I picked up on this when it was a beautiful day outside and my son just wanted to sit inside fucking around on the TV or game system. I said to him “Go out and find your friends, its a gorgeous day outside” to which he responded “None of them want to come outside, they’re all playing video games”
I couldn’t believe it. At 10 years old, you would have to basically force me to come inside on a nice summer day. Hell, you’d have to force me to come in on a frigid winter day too. I decided to go outside with my son and throw the football around.
I looked up the street (mind you this was a Saturday at 2pm) and it was dead. When I was growing up, every kid and even the adults were outside for most of the day in the summer. It got me thinking about how I wasn’t going to be like all these parents who just give their kids an iPad and some ADHD medicine and call it a day.
Get Them Active
The only way your kids are going to be active is if you encourage it and lead by example. They know I am physically active and get them involved in sports and activities to keep them physically active as well. My son does MMA and soccer while my daughter does ballet and gymnastics. My 2 year old son is a ball of energy as well.
Outside these activities, I like to plan things outside to do as a whole family. Whether its taking them to the park, out back to play catch, even going for a bike ride, I feel that this generation of kids is are missing out on the best years of their lives to spend it behind a fucking screen 10 hours a day.
On that point, even the creators of social media and games have said publicly that they don’t even let their kids use these things. They know what its designed to do. Maybe some of you other parents can chime in here, but if I let my kids use the devices too much, their attitudes become outright nasty and they cant seem to handle things in the real world very well.
I allow them 3 hours of “screen time” a week. I have timers and locks in place on their devices so they cannot use them when I don’t allow it. Not sure about iOS devices, but Android has a feature called “Family Link” you can use to lock their shit down when you want.
Sadly, I see a ton of families that don’t “shut it down.” The kids are mindlessly fucking around on the devices. The mom is all over facebook and dad typically is either lost in the phone too, or staring off like dolt. You have parents that as I said above, give the kids an internet connection and a device and let youtube and the internet raise their children.
Worse yet, my daughter had a dance recital this past weekend. Everyone was there recording the event on their phones to post all over the internet, watching the performance over their devices instead of experiencing it first hand. I personally would rather watch it in real time than have it on my phone as a video I’d never look at again. The memories are real and you recall on them.
Same goes for the kids. They’ll remember going fishing with Dad or ATVing through the snow far more than winning at candy crush. Its up to you as the parent to make sure your kids arent internet zombies. I seriously think that synchronous in your face interaction will be a skill that will be desired in the future, as we’re already seeing the affect all this “progress” is having on human interaction. Almost like the more connected we are, the less we know how to communicate.