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“We never had this stuff as kids.” “Do you guys ever go outside?” “They play with their electronics and never play real games. What a shame.” These are some of the sentiments expressed by adults living in a world where kids seem to replace more and more time for physical activity with screen time dedicated to smartphones and videogames.

The kids on the receiving end of such comments about their leisure time habits usually take it with a grain of salt, at most responding with an eye roll or a sarcastic comment of their own. And the adults making the comments are halfway yearning for this generation of kids to have as similar of an upbringing to them as possible. Now, as annoying as some adults might come across to kids on this matter, they have a good underlying point in airing their grievances.

According to the CDC, obesity affects approximately 12.7 million American children and adolescents. Culturally speaking, two of the biggest factors this trend is largely attributed to are the prevalence of fast food and electronic use.

With digital gaming’s convenience, attractiveness, and realistic playability, it makes for an easy way to have fun without requiring much effort. Thinking about it like that, it’s no wonder kids abandon the outdoors. Of course this negatively affects their physical health, but what’s preventing them from seeing this? The way I see it, it’s largely the fault of parents.

Parents want the best for their kids, and this includes making their kids happy. This generation of parents, in particular, seems to prioritize their kids’ happiness even higher than a lot of things, which is nice, but also detrimental to their growth.

It’s a classic argument that kids get spoiled if they’re catered to too much. It seems a root of the obesity problem is parents feeding into the videogame culture because kids want the games and these games are easy distractions. But that’s not an answer parents should be seeking.

It’s not easy to tell a kid no, but when it comes to an excess of screen time, a bit of a crackdown could go a long way.

If kids are discouraged from playing videogames, and encouraged to play real sports and go outside to interact with other kids from a young age, they’ll develop all types of skills that’ll shape them into more well-rounded individuals. This includes keeping them healthy through having fun.

Tennis is a perfect solution for this. Basketball is a perfect solution for this. Anything requiring kids to go out and experience other kids and the world is a perfect solution.

The bottom line is this: kids need to hear “no”, and most parents would probably agree with that, but there’s not enough “no” going around. By denying kids too much screen time that will likely lead to unhealthy habits, parents will be opening new and better doors for their kids that’ll help them both down the road and in the immediate future.

Give the kids tennis racquets, guide them towards their nearest living schoolmate, and let some traditional fun rock their world for the better.

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