*This is a collaborative post.
In recent years, children have been ‘trapped’ indoors by smartphones, tablets, videogames, and television. With the growing advancements of new electronic devices and the early age at which kids are now introduced to digital gadgets, it seems that playing outdoors or engaging with offline activities are gradually dying out.
In various parts of the world, interaction between children doesn’t seem to be a priority anymore, making it more and more difficult to persuade kids to ditch their digital devices and spend time interacting with other people.
During 2016, the UK government released a study conducted over two years with the aim to identify visits to the natural environment by children. The study revealed that over 10% of children in England hadn’t played out in a natural environment such as a garden or a beach for over 12 months.
In November 2019, the Guardian reported in an article that a Common Sense Media had found that 53% of kids in the US had their own smartphone by age 11 and 69% by age 12.
Whilst several studies reiterated how harmful smartphone usage can be on a children’s intellectual growth, social interaction abilities, and overall wellbeing, it can be overwhelming for a parent to find alternative ways to keep kids busy.
Luckily for parents, there are lots of different activities that children can engage with, including ones that require the supervision of an adult. Among these are gardening, where children can grow their own plants and outdoor sports that are proven to be beneficial for children’s health, mind development, and enhancement of inter-personal skills.
Skateboarding is a sport that combines such skills. This popular sport is known to offer several benefits including burning calories, improving physical resistance, increasing body flexibility, and teaching precision and coordination.
This piece hopes to simplify the task of getting your child off their iPhone, swapping it for a skateboard instead. Let’s take a look at things that can encourage your child to take such step.
Encouraging your child to skateboard is a great opportunity for them to make new friends. In a world where making virtual friends seems to be easier than real life friends, you could help your child understand that going skateboarding will be beneficial for his social life too. He will be able to enjoy real human interaction with other children and these could become close friends even outside of skateboarding.
Meeting new people at the skatepark will also mean finding friends that share your child’s similar interests.
A personalised skateboard
Skateboarding can encourage your child to get creative too. One of the most fun things about this sport is that you get to choose your favourite board and design it to fit your taste. Beginner skateboarders often get offered access to a buying guide which includes options to customise your first skateboard with your preferred designs, wheels, deck, and other parts.
A new skillset
Skateboarding is one of the many sports that offers many physical and mental benefits. If you are a parent searching for non-digital ways to entertain you kids, then you’ll be happy to know that skateboarding isn’t just fun — it’s a sport that can help your child develop new skills and skateboarding tricks.
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect right? In this case, practice will help your child find a new passion. Once a child gets used to an activity they enjoy, kids are more likely to become dedicated to it and, as they improve their skills, it can develop into a passion of their own.
Quality time together
If you manage to get your child to choose skateboarding over a smartphone, then you’ll most likely be happy to take him to the skate park and enjoy watching him.
It’s scary to think that parents are potentially unaware of most of the online activities that their children engage with each day. When a kid spends hours browsing the internet or watching YouTube videos, there is no real-time interaction with their parent, which can deteriorate their relationship.
As a parent, you also have the assurance that sports like skateboarding can be safer than the internet. There is one such thing a child could do at the skate park, which is skating and making new friends while you keep an eye on him. However, the internet is full of inappropriate and harmful content that you might not be able to protect your child from.
Although there is ever-growing concerns about the amount of time children are spending on electronic devices nowadays, it’s good to know that there is hope for many parents to persuade their kids and to encourage them into offline activities and sports that can be beneficial not just now but also for their future.