Getting off Electronics and Outdoors

January 31, 2018

“Think of a special memory of being outside that impacted you growing up.”

That’s how Dr. Caroline Boxmeyer, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at the College of Community Health Sciences, began her lecture for the Mini Medical School Program on January 29. The program is a lecture series the College provides in collaboration with The University of Alabama’s Osher Lifelong Learning institute, or OLLI.

While her lecture was titled “Getting your Grandchild off Electronics and Outside,” the advice shared was not just for children.

Getting off electronics is often difficult for many reasons, including that technology is a useful tool that has become part of everyday life. But screens are addictive and work on the same addiction pathways as drugs, Boxmeyer said.

“Be mindful of children,” she noted. “Their brains are still developing their foundational stretchers and connections. We want to be mindful about how they are spending their time when that is happening.”

Taking a break from electronics has many benefits, Boxmeyer said. It can help reduce anxiety and stress, increase positive thinking, and improve overall health and wellness. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests children need to spend 15 to 60 minutes outside each day to experience a positive impact on the human body.

Ways to get outside include: