Healthy Kids Community Challenge Launches Initiative to Reduce Screen Time
Feb 2, 2018
To All Families in Greater Sudbury: Power Off and Play!
The City of Greater Sudbury, in partnership with the Healthy Kids Community Challenge, is launching the Power Off and Play! initiative to encourage kids and families to build a balanced day by replacing screen time with more physical activity.
With all the new technology options and devices, limiting the time that kids spend looking at screens has never been harder. Encouraging active and fun alternatives is critical for their physical health and well-being.
Local programs and activities will help families in the City of Greater Sudbury to find ways to reduce their children’s screen time, including:
- “Snow Day”, a free outdoor family celebration on Saturday, February 3, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. near the Grace Hartman Amphitheatre in Bell Park
- “Pop-Up Skating” Instructors who will visit outdoor municipal rinks this winter to give skating tips and support to new skaters and those who want to improve
- “Drop-In Fun at City Parks”, which will support neighbourhood volunteers to open up playground buildings year-round for scheduled weekly times for families to meet, greet and play.
- “Active School Travel Planning for Active Kids” which will support more kids to walk and wheel to school and will promote active transportation options for school field trips.
Power Off and Play! is the next phase of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge, which promotes powering off before sleep, during meal and snack time, and encourages physical activity, social interaction, and fun and educational activity choices for children. Balancing kid’s screen time can increase cognitive and communication skills in a child’s development.
As part of the first phase of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge - Run. Jump. Play. Every Day. - the City of Greater Sudbury, in partnership with the Healthy Kids Community Challenge, introduced the Activate Your Neighbourhood program to 247 local children.
In the second phase - Water Does Wonders - animators Tap and Thirsty gave over 3,000 children a water bottle and rewarded them with fun stickers every time they remembered to bring it with them.
During the third phase of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge - Choose to Boost Veggies and Fruit - the Cultivate Your Neighbourhood program connected school kids to community gardens through growing, harvesting and cooking vegetables in their neighbourhood.
Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
“Our world is so technologically-connected, that we sometimes forget too much screen time can have lasting negative effects on our children’s development. Encouraging our kids to unplug and engage in more physical and social activities will help improve their overall physical and emotional health and well-being.”
— Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
“Physical activity and social interaction are important to the development of happy and healthy children. Our government supports programs that encourage our kids to move and play, while reducing the negative impacts of too much screen time.”
— John Fraser, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
“Giving our children more chances to get outside and be active is one of the simplest things we can do to create a healthier community. Playing with friends in the fresh air is about more than just having fun - those simple activities will help improve our children’s overall physical and emotional health and well-being. The Healthy Kids Community Challenge is an investment in a healthier and happier tomorrow .”
— Glenn Thibeault - Sudbury MPP
“Being a part of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge allows us to create a community where it's easy for children to lead healthier lives. We appreciate the many community partners from across Greater Sudbury for answering the Healthy Kids challenge to offer great activities and programs that promote the physical health and well-being of our children.”
— Brian Bigger, Mayor, City of Greater Sudbury
- Research shows too much screen time for children can have negative outcomes for early development, physical and psychological health, and can interfere with important daily routines, making it difficult for children to stay healthy.
- The City of Greater Sudbury is among 45 communities selected to take part in the Healthy Kids Community Challenge.
- The City of Greater Sudbury is receiving up to $375,000 per year from Ontario to fund local community projects.
- The Canadian Society for Exercise and the Canadian Pediatric Society’s recommended screen time limits:
o Under 2 years of age – no screen time
o 2-4 years – less than 1 hour per day
o 5-17 years – no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time per day