Kids and Video Games: The Couch Potato Syndrome
When Atari first hit the market over twenty years ago, everyone, young and old alike, was into video games. It was something new that the family played for hours. Now, video games have become more sophisticated and are played by younger and younger groups of kids. But, even though these games are fun, watch out or your kid will morph into the unyielding vegetable known as the couch potato.
You usually gave the old man staring blindly at the television this moniker but it now applies to kids caught up in the video game craze. You’ve weaned them from endless cartoons and cop shows but they’ve traded it in for a console and a joystick. It’s not that video games are bad. They have their redeeming qualities just like television. The name of the game here is moderation.
Even if you don’t know an elf lord from a troll prince you can make sure that that is not the only thing your kid knows about. Video games are a way for your kids to relax but not the only way. Engage your children in other activities (preferably outside) to break the couch potato cycle.
Endless video game playing has added to the sedentary lifestyle of today’s youth. Instead of playing outdoors with balls and bats they are inside sitting comfortably on the couch or one of those gaming chairs and signing on for virtual worlds unknown to most parents. It scares you because you no longer understand the world of video gaming.
Obesity is now an epidemic with our kids. They lack proper daily exercise to keep their weight under control. By exercise, we mean movement. Kids exercise more than you think. Walking to and from school or dancing to their iPod tunes keeps the body active enough to burn excess calories. They don’t even have to play a sport to get what they need to stay healthy.
Video games are mostly played sitting down. That’s how they were designed. Think of it like an office job. Computers were designed to be used sitting down. It’s a necessary evil but it doesn’t have to ruin your health.
One solution is a set schedule for their afternoon. When your kids get home from school, let them know the order of the day. First, they can tackle chores. After energizing them again, lead them to the homework table.
What do you know; it’s now time for dinner. After dinner, they have a choice of television or video games. All of the other important things are done so they can relax and unwind with either but not both. This limits their time to one or at most two hours of gaming a day as their last activity before bed. After all of the other stuff you’ve given them to do, they might just fall into bed early.
Break the couch potato cycle with a limit on video games and other creative ideas.