Should Athletes Be Concerned About Screen Time?
I think we’ve come to a time when we all understand cell phones and tablets have their purposes, but are also associated with many negatives in society.
Isolation. Loneliness. A false sense of connectedness.
So why should athletes, and their parents be concerned about screen time?
Studies have shown increased screen time can be linked to increased risks for obesity over time.
Other studies have correlated increased screen time to poor sleep.
Even further, you can find many studies showing screen time increases reduced productivity, focus, attention levels, and much more.
Let’s add this frightening finding, that most tweens are now spending less time outside than prisoners.
Yes, you read that right.
Other reports have stated that as many as 25% of youth believe video games are a form of exercise.
So we’ve got housebound youth, with increased risks for obesity and poor sleep habits, tacked to an inability to focus, or pay attention to detail.
Nothing above sounds like a high level athlete to me.
Now sports aren’t the be all and end all, at least not competitive sports. But wouldn’t you love to see kids throwing a baseball in the front yard? Playing a game of 21 on their driveway basketball hoop, or having to slow down your car for a group of youth moving a road hockey net aside on a quiet street? That would be wonderful.
Why should you talk to athletes about reducing screen time? For the same reason you unplug when you go to a cottage. The same reason professional teams, or the World Junior teams abstain from social media during tournaments and finals. It feels good, it helps you focus, and it gives you time to do things that are good for you, physically, and mentally.
I’m not saying steal your child’s phone, because of course who doesn’t want to watch Kawhi Leonard draining a legendary shot for the Raptors, or McDavid showing off ridiculous puck skills. But the balance is already at a point of unbalance.
Put down the phone, even the one you’re reading this on, pick up a stick, glove, bat, or ball, and play.