With kids out of school and at home looking for things to do, don't settle for them spending hours playing video games, surfing the Internet, watching friends' posts on Facebook or talking on the smart phone. Instead, spend some time checking out ways to help them escape and get involved in life outside the box.
They will be grown and may be busy with their own new family and even in another state before you know it. So capture your time together now and treasure it!
Check out your local museums for special exhibits over the holidays.
Check out local community theater for neat shows your children might enjoy.
Catch a local production of the Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol.
Attend a house of worship for a special holiday event.
Go to a nearby park and sled, skate board, roller skate, play street hockey, or just take a leisurely stroll together.
Shovel snow with them or make snowballs or a snow man if you are lucky enough to have snow.
Drive around and see the Christmas lights at night in the neighborhood.
Read a good Christmas tale aloud.
Build a fire and share stories by the flickering light.
Sing carols together.
Play a favorite Christmas album and sing or dance along.
Shop together for gifts and forget the surprise element so that you can spend more time together shopping and so that everyone gets exactly the model of digital device they want!
And cook together. Have each person choose a recipe and prepare them all in the kitchen together, each working on their own recipe. It's a blast!
If your child thinks your selection is just too corny, go ahead and plead that they do it for your sake. We parents have some prerogatives even with older kids! They will usually admit afterwards that it was a fine experience.
Besides the inherent value of grabbing more time together and reconnecting, sharing your stories, global philosophies, and laughs, pulling them away from the digital devices has great physical, emotional, and even mental benefits to their health.
Studies are mounting showing that in young people, depression, dissatisfaction with life, anxiety, poor academic performance, and lack of concentration are all associated with heavy cell phone use. It is easy to say that more time at the cell phone obviously means less time studying, but researchers have even considered that and found that there is a stronger association than just the time lost factor.
For xample, a study of college students back in 2007 found a strong positive correlation between Internet and cell phone use on the one hand and anxiety and insomnia on the other. The researchers summarized the study as demonstrating promising tools for assessing "these new behavioral addictions."
A 2012 study found that young people had more sleep disturbances, stress and other mental health problems. This study was done at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. They conducted four studies including 4,100 young adults aged 20-24. According to one of the researchers, "Regularly using a computer late at night is associated not only with sleep disorders but also with stress and depressive symptoms in both men and women." The study found that a combination of heavy use of both the computer and cell phone strengthened the link between ICT (information and communication technology) and sleep problems and depression.
As for serious problems of physical health, there are numerous studies which have shown that frequent use of cell phones, especially close to the head or carried near the waist, are associated with increased likelihood of brain cancer, infertility, and other scary problems.
A year ago, Pembroke Pines Florida passed an ordinance warning residents of the dangers of cell phone use after hearing testimony from a lawyer who realized that the cancers in his hand, the side of his head, and his hip were directly associated with his cell phone use with that hand, his ear on that side of his head, and the pocket by that hip. The city is recommending that residents keep their phone at least one inch from their bodies and use text, email or speakerphone in preference to holding the phone near their bodies.
As Nikken consultants, my partners and I regularly have folks test their strength either holding their cell phone or holding something else. Their strength is dramatically reduced when holding the phone, especially if it is turned on. But even when turned off it is ready to receive incoming calls, so it is actively in the matrix of radiofrequency waves surrounding us all the time now. The good news is that if you add to your body a balancing magnetic device, like Nikken insoles, or bracelet or neck band, the effect of the cell phone is diminished. But it is best to expose yourself as little as possible to the unnatural waves coming from these devices.
They also heat up the brain. "Frying the brain" can't be good. Though important, the measurements now required for rating cell phones today only refer to this heating effect. We still don't get any information about individual cell phones and the other effects of their emissions.
Consider attaching a blocker to the ear piece of your phone. An inexpensive but well tested on is available at www.waveshield.com. I interviewed Shelly Kalnitsky on my radio show Family First. You can listen to the interview at my website, www.randyrolfe.com. Also, if you are not using Nikken products already and want more information about them, please call me or visit my Nikken website at www.nikken.com/randyrolfe.
It may seem that we are just being negative about a new technology. But it is known that it can take 10 to 20 years for cancers to develop so precautions now are better than waiting to see what happens to our loved ones 10 to 20 years from now. And there are enough results already to convince me to be on my guard.
An MTV study released this summer found that young millenials were looking for better privacy in their social media. So the younger set seems to be wising up to the stressful aspects of their new-found communication tools. The results of the study surprised even MTV. They found that 14-17 year olds were pulling away from Facebook and seeking more private networks for communicating. The study also found that the kids were "taking time to disconnect, de-stress, de-stimulate and control inputs." They found some respondents who were said to be "monotasking."
Let the children lead the way.
Randy Rolfe's Take Home Tips: There is no substitute for you the parent. That proposition is my passion! So when your kids are home, include them as much as you can in everything you do, participate in whatever they are doing if they let you, and plan on doing nothing together often! Have a fantastic winter vacation!