B'ville: Step away from the screen

Believe it or not, the average child spends more time in front of a screen than in school. And with the increase in technology (more screens providing stagnant entertainment), the problem is only getting worse.

"It used to be TV, but now screen distractions include computer screens, cell phones and more," said Ann Smiley, director of the Lysander parks and recreation department. "I personally think the biggest [offenders] are TV and computer, not just playing games, but [instant messaging] and going onto my space."

Smiley and Lysander's Recreation Supervisor Tony Burkinshaw recently attended the annual New York State Parks and Recreation conference where they caught a presentation from the Center for Screen Time Awareness, an organization that promotes being aware of how much time adults, but mostly children spend in front of a screen.

"We as professionals are concerned about the issues of childhood obesity," Smiley said. "It is in the papers regularly and was a big focus of our conference."

Time spent in front of a screen not only can lead to childhood obesity, but it can also lead to attention deficit disorders, lower grades, impairment of socialization skills and more. In an effort to bring awareness to these increasingly important issues, Lysander parks and recreation department will participate in Turnoff Week, a worldwide coordinated effort to turn off all screens and turn on the world around them.

"[Turnoff Week] is all about making people aware of just how much their kids and we are sitting in front of a screen," Smiley said.

Celebrated from April 21 to 27, Smiley suggested the following activities for Baldwinsville residents to enjoy during Turnoff Week next week:

Go to a park

Take a walk on the walking paths

Go to the library

Read a book

Go bowling

Go to Beaver Lake Nature Center and enjoy a walk, a canoe ride on the lake, or just a relaxing afternoon

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