The parents of today cannot raise their children as their parents did 30 years ago. Many things have changed and there are new obstacles. Years ago, children were able to go outside and play on their own, walk to school without supervision and had only a handful of channels to choose from on the television. In fact, for many kids, TV did not keep them engaged due to the lack of children's programming. Back then, most parents were not concerned about their children becoming obese, overweight or sedentary. The children were more physically fit due to the availability of daily activity. Move the clock ahead 30 years, and a major crisis is taking place.
Technology Vs. Exercise - One of the major challenges parents are facing today is the technology available to their children. What makes technology great is the fact it makes our lives easier, it has advanced us in medicine, and has made life more exciting, entertaining or fun. However, this technology is contributing to a generation of sedentary children who really enjoy all these cool gadgets. Psychology Today suggests that children eliminate all electronics use for several weeks with an “electronics fast” to allow the nervous system to “reset.” The magazine continued to state "If done correctly, this intervention can produce deeper sleep, a brighter and more even mood, better focus and organization, and an increase in physical activity." So, the question arises when it comes to children's health: Is technology or exercise winning the battle with the obesity epidemic facing the children of the world? The 2:1 Club is a program that teaches children to give up some technology while increasing their exercise time.
Please watch the explainer video below to learn more about the purpose of the 2:1 Club.
The Children: Unfortunately, when it comes to physical activity, a large percentage of children from around the globe are just not active. Reports from The President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition have stated that 40% of all 5-8-year-olds suffer from at least one risk factor for heart disease (physical inactivity, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure). According to the CDC, the percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity in the United States has more than tripled since the 1970's. This data supports the fact that childhood obesity is still on the rise and technology has been a major contributor in this development.
The Parents: The key to reducing childhood obesity are the adults. Parents need to monitor their children's routines each and every day. Taking a relaxed approach to how your children eat and play can prove to be very dangerous. Children must be educated on how to lead a healthy lifestyle which includes eating properly, exercising daily, hydrating correctly, getting adequate sleep and reducing technology.
Due to the rise in the childhood obesity statistics, a major concern for parents is the amount of sedentary time their children endure throughout the day. The basic goal of the 2:1 Club is to teach children that technology is an earned privilege, as opposed to an expected daily occurrence. Statistics show that children watch between 2-4 hours of television each night. If you add other forms of electronics to this, half of a child's day may be exposed to some form of technology, therefore engaging the child in less physical activity. Not only do they sit a good majority of the day at school, when they come home, they sit again while watching TV, playing video games, listening to music, playing on the computer or talking on their cell phone. Some type of happy medium or compromise must take place to combat this problem.
Introducing The 2:1 Club: The principle behind the 2:1 club is not to completely take technology away from children, but to limit it. Very young children should not have the luxury of using technology so freely. It should be earned through physical activity. For every two minutes of physical activity a child performs, they earn one minute of technology time. This way, you are not taking away technology completely, rather, limiting the amount of time the children use it. For example, if a child rides their bike for an hour, they can play on their video game system for 30 minutes.
Are you interested in giving the 2:1 Club a try? To begin, a basic contract between parent and child can be found in the download section of this website. This contract helps begin the process of reducing technology while increasing physical activity. It is obvious a parent could not be with their children 24/7, so the honor system will come into play here. This means you will have to trust your children somewhat to follow the rules while you are not around. Is this the solution to fixing the obesity epidemic facing the youth of the world? No, but it's a small step in the right direction. As mentioned earlier, the concept is not to take away the technology fully, rather, just reduce it.
Please feel free to use the 'Contact Us' link to ask any questions pertaining to the 2:1 Club. All questions will be posted here anonymously.
Question: Do we need to sign up on line to participate in the 2:1 club?
Answer: No. For fun, go to the downloads page and print the written agreement between you and your child to reduce their technology time. Signing up with this make believe contract is more than enough to get you started in the 2:1 Club.
Question: My child just sits in front of the TV all day and refuses to do anything else. What can I do?
Answer: Well, this is where your parental authority must take over. Remember, health habits in children start at a very young age. If you child gets deeper into the habit of watching TV, it will be harder and harder to break as the get older. Check out Len Saunders' Commercial-CIZE webpage to break your child of the TV habit.
Question: We don't have long periods of time to exercise. What can we do?
Answer: According to The President's Council On Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, "Thirty to sixty minutes of activity broken into smaller segments of 10 or 15 minutes throughout the day has significant health benefits." The trick is to get some exercise whenever you have a chance.
Question: I cannot keep an eye on my child 24/7. How do I know they are not using any technology when I am not around?
Answer: You don't know. As mentioned a few times on this page, your children are on the honor system. You have to educate them on this program, then trust them.