Parenting

Here's One Way to Get Computer-Addicted Kids to Exercise

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Shai Shalev, an Israeli engineer, was so sick and tired of watching his kids rot away in front of electronic devices that he decided to do something about it. He connected a computer to an exercise bike, forcing his children to literally pedal for screen time:

The computer is connected to an exercise bike — and the screen is locked. it’s simple! You unlock the screen by pedaling the bike. Other options enable parents to preset free daily time for their kids, and allow kids to earn credits on the bike and save them to use later.

Currently the computer scientist and aeronautics engineer is gathering names of people willing to beta-test the device for eventual production. But, while his invention resolves the problem of getting screen-addicted kids physically active, it still does not address the psychological issues of screen addiction. Previous studies have determined that physical activity doesn’t necessarily cancel out the psychological detriment (think: social, emotional and mental development, or lack thereof) of too much TV or computer time. In other words, Shalev’s option to preset “free daily time” should be a requirement.

Researchers have found that the easiest and most effective way for parents to cut their children’s screen time is to cut down on their own dependence on electronic devices. Given that some hip workplaces are starting to adopt active workstations for employees concerned about getting the “secretary spread,” it might be a wise idea to employ daily time presets across the board. Paper and pencil anyone?

Photo credit: Times of Israel