Screen Time vs Green Time

Like most parents, we often find ourselves in a love-hate relationship with screens. Sometimes, a few minutes of Minecraft or an episode of a television series buys us all a much needed break, but inevitably we feel guilty. Are we failing our kids? Are we melting their brains? Are we giving them too much screen time? Perhaps we need to change the narrative and look at it differently. Rather than focussing on reducing screen time, perhaps it may be more helpful to find ways to increase green time into their schedule.

Striking the right balance between physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep can help children and young people to:

  • improve cardiovascular fitness (healthy heart and lungs)
  • improve strength and posture (healthy muscles and bones)
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • support better mental health, self-esteem, and confidence
  • do their best at school and in other learning activities
  • better regulate their emotions
  • enhance their social skills.

Technological developments in recent decades have increased young people’s engagement with screen-based technologies (screen time), and a reduction in young people’s contact with nature and exercise (green time) has been observed concurrently. This combination of high screen time and low green time may affect mental health and well-being (Slobodskaya, 2020). Regular physical activity, and the incorporation of this into the everyday routine of youths, creates the building blocks for a healthy future. Fitter Futures is more than just an exercise program for kids. It is about creating healthy habits, offering a much needed break from school studies, fostering connections with friends, improving confidence and creating a consistency in green time as opposed to screen time.

The CDC notes that youth ages 6 to 17 should have a minimum of one hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day. They need aerobic activity, as well as exercise that strengthens their muscles and bones. Incorporating movement into their daily regimen will not only help them to become more fit and healthy, but it can also reduce the risk of depression (Qld Health). Striking a balance between the amount of screen time, and getting kids moving, is key. It doesn’t always have to be about decreasing time in front of a computer or a video console. Rather, it’s about spending more time being physically active.

Recently, an increase in the number of youths and adolescents presenting with low muscle tone and back pain have come to Fitter Futures to try to improve overall well-being and to regain a balance in their lives. Our coaches provide opportunities and experiences specifically designed for youth and teens that positively influence their choices around physical activity, creating new and healthy habits that become a positive lifestyle choice. Kids having fun and being engaged is of prime importance at Fitter Futures.

We know changing routines can be challenging at times. Remember that every step taken to achieve the right balance will help your children be stronger, smarter, healthier, and happier so sign up now for a free trial and see the difference a Fitter Future can make to your child.

Slobodskaya, H.R. (2020). Physchological impacts of “screen time” and “green time” for children and adolescents. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7473739/#!po=14.8045 (30/1/23)
Queensland Health. (2019). Exercise, sleep and screen time – what do kids need? URL: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/physical-activity-exercise-sleep-screen-time-kids-teens (30/1/23)

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