Encourage kids to develop constructive hobbies

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, May 8, 2018

This is the age of the Internet. Most teenagers in the United States have never known a time without it. As a result, people as young as toddlers go about their day-to-day lives with noses pressed against cellphone screens, eyes glued to the TV, or fingers tapping away on a keyboard. While technology has benefited the human race, it has also done a lot of harm.

According to previous coverage, when unchecked, the use of the Internet, particularly social media, can have a negative influence on youth.

Getting wrapped up in what people post on these platforms can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety, obesity and depression.

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But there is a plethora of positive things children can do, most of which is outdoors. If parents spend a little time each day encouraging children to develop other interests, these platforms will have less of a hold over young people’s lives.

Encourage children from a young age to go outside and enjoy nature. Teach them how to play  games,  how to fly a kite and how to catch butterflies. Pull out a tub of chalk and take turns tracing figures on the cement and adorning them with goofy sunglasses and outrageous hairdos.

When they are a little older, teach them how to work with their hands and how be constructive. Show them how to build a birdhouse, how to paint and how to cook their favorite meals.

Pull out an old book and show them how words can whisk them away to distant times and worlds. Being able to create something or to find satisfaction in being outdoors is inherently good for a child’s physical and mental wellbeing. These things can help keep children grounded in reality.

Don’t just lock children out of their devices – encourage them to set their devices to the side and find entertainment on their own.