There are over 7 billion people in the world, and 1.2 billion of them play video games.
It’s no secret that kids are favoring video games over play time outside, with 29% of gamers being under the age of 18.
It’s easy to be caught up in countless hours of game time, as it is proven to be a stress reliver, a strategy increaser, and a safe alternative to other adolescent activities. But how beneficial is it for children to be sitting for an extended period of time? And how is it unhealthy for kids?
The answer is probably not surprising to you. Although a great number of negative effects from video games are blamed on the violent content, consumers tend to forget the physical effects caused by hours of sitting down. Video induced seizures, skeletal disorders and carpal tunnel syndrome are just some of the conditions seen in children due to excessive video game play.
These permanent effects on children have solely been created due to sitting down for as little as a couple hours a day. Our bodies are not created to function in an idle position, so having kids hunch over their game stations is more dangerous than you think.
For many of you however, having a child without a game system is worse than having one with.
It provides an escape for children to get creative and experience different situations where cooperation and self-confidence are tested. It also helps give the child a chance to increase their decision-making speed, which would be beneficial and able to transfer into real life scenarios.
Even violent games may act as a release of pent up-aggression and frustration for your kid. Kids are easily able to formulate plans, distribute tasks and set goals when using video games, and give them a sense of belonging when invited to group tasks.
So, what is the alternative? The idea of not having video games in some family households is unheard of – it keeps the peace during times of stress, it provides peace and quiet most times, and allows the mind to continue to be creative.
Not to worry. The one thing that has been scientifically proven to help all physical issues of consistent video gaming is so simplistic – standing while playing video games.
Not convinced? Here are some reasons why standing even for a couple hours playing video games is beneficial for you.
- Standing Burns Calories
According to a Harvard study the number of calories burned while standing per hour is 88. By gradually going from sitting to standing not only improves your posture, but also your health.
- Say Goodbye to Muscle Pain
Some kids may complain that their muscles hurt or feel cramped during or after playing video games. This is due to the fact that they are still growing – by not giving the body the correct posture to grow and strengthen properly only harms them in the short and long term. By standing up, the body is able to correct any incorrect forms of growth.
- Sugar Levels Can Be Controlled
Although you may feel like sugar levels shouldn’t be an issue with children, they definitely can be. By standing instead of sitting, you are helping blood sugars return to normal more quickly. This helps keeps energy levels up, regulates hormones, and promotes good metabolism.
- Sitting May Cause Cancer
A study from 2011 reported that 43,000 cases of colon cancer and 49,000 studies of breast cancer annually were caused by prolonged sitting. Pins and needles in the nerves can end up permanently giving you nerve damage, so think twice before settling in to sit for a long period of time.
- Likely to be the most obvious benefit, obesity is decreased when standing while playing video games. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic , conducted a research to correlate the difference between those who sat and ate more, vs. those who stood and added additional calories. The study concluded that the group who were standing were not gaining weight, even if it meant as little as 2.5 hours of extra standing.
Other research has concluded that you can add 2 years to your life by reducing the amount of sitting time. The average sitting time is six hours per day, so by cutting that number to 3 hours per day, could have great benefits for adults and children combined.
Who knew that the antidote to a better, longer life for your kids was something as little as standing? Not only does it promote better posture, but encourages kids to interact better with the video game.
Keeping a screen just above eye level helps generously with eye strain and helps combat slouching over the console, therefore allowing more opportunity to see better and therefore perform greater.
Even though some video games do encourage standing, such as Wii Fit and other physical activity games, it is suggested to not throw your child straight into standing up consistently. Ease them into allowing them to sit for a selected amount of time, and gradually decrease that by 30 minutes every few days to maximize full potential.
Still not convinced that your child would want to partake in a healthier lifestyle? The American Heart Association states that no amount of physical activity is enough to combat the dangerous health effects of sitting for hours each day.
That’s right, even if your energetic child has been running around for two hours straight, then heads straight to the video games, nothing is going to prevent him from potentially having disastrous long-term effects.
“Regardless of how much physical activity someone gets, prolonged sedentary time could negatively impact the health of your heart and blood vessels” states Dr. Deborah Young, chairman of the AHA report. “There is evidence to suggest that sedentary behavior could contribute to excess morbidity and mortality.”
So why not start them young? Standing desks have been continuously on the rise, with the number of desks being bought tripling over the past couple years. Workplaces in particular have seen a huge desire to trade sitting desks for standing. Instead of sitting down for an eight-hour work shift, workers are now using converted sit-to-stand desks for maximum effect.
Amongst the number of benefits that a standing desk provides, it also encourages oxygen consumption, which is helpful for children who may be suffering from health issues such as asthma.
A study conducted on whether being seated or standing while playing video games alters your oxygen intake proved to show positive results. No matter what game is being played, the level of oxygen being consumed is greatly higher when using a standing desk, rather than sitting down.
Heart disease has been continuously ranked as the largest factor for death globally, according to The World Health Organization . This is partially due to the fact that kids and adults alike have been sitting more outside of their respected jobs or schools, therefore causing arteries to slowly block due to inactivity.
Although kids spend between five to seven hours sitting at a desk at school, it is the dramatic increase of sitting outside of school that has made physical inactivity skyrocket.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that children spend an average of seven hours a day on screens, including television, computers and phones. This is due to the vast increase of social media platforms that are now aimed towards children – YouTube channels, user-friendly social sites, and most importantly, video gaming.
Converting to standing desks is a cost effective, easy to apply solution to so many consistent problems seen in research today. Some schools state-wide are even considering standing desks to incorporate into schools, which is bound to help with children with fidgeting issues, ADHD, and other health-related issues.
Kids consistently look to parents for guidance. We should be paving the way for a better way of living healthier, even if it means something as little and as simplistic as standing for longer each day.
Video games in particular may not be beneficial for some parents, but for many, it is an escape for their kids to create and expand their minds using visual effects and art. Now is the time to give your kids a standing ovation, and encourage them to use a standing desk to play healthier and happier. They will thank you later.