May 22,

Mayor Proclaims Screen Free Weeks in Peterborough

May 7, 2018 – Today more than 200 Queen Elizabeth Public School students joined Mayor Daryl Bennett as he declared the weeks of April 30-May 13 “Screen Free Weeks” in the City of Peterborough.

“Encouraging kids to unplug electronics and engage in more physical and social activities will help improve their overall physical and emotional health and well-being,” said Mayor Bennett. “Putting down the phone, turning off the TV, and being more active is an important message for all of us.”

In honour of Screen Free Week, the school held a special “Loose Parts Play Day” to encourage healthy and active living as part of their curriculum and daily lives. “This year we expanded the day to include the entire school,” said Julie Hoit, Principal of Queen Elizabeth Public School. “We see positive benefits in the students’ mental and physical well-being after being outside and playing all day.”

Joining in the fun was Diane Lloyd, Chair of the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board. “Today’s event is designed to inspire parents and caregivers and their children to replace non-educational screen time with outdoor play and other healthy activities such as screen free family meals, reading, dancing and gardening,” she said.

Screen Free Weeks are all part of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge, a province wide initiative focusing on healthy eating, healthy hydration, physical activity and reducing screen time. It is coordinated by the City of Peterborough and Peterborough Public Health.

Healthy Kids Community Challenge’s current theme, “Power Off and Play!” promotes the benefits of reduced screen time for children and encourages kids and families to build a balanced day by replacing screen time with more physical activity. For the next few months, community wide programs and resources will be promoting powering off before sleep, during meal and snack time, and encouraging physical activity, social interaction, and fun and educational activity options for children.

“The goal of this program is to create communities where it is easy for children to lead healthier, active lives,” says Healthy Kids Community Challenge Coordinator, Claire Townshend. “Children are encouraged to stay within the recommended screen time guidelines, power off devices at least one hour before bed, and eat meals and snacks away from their devices.”

To learn more about Healthy Kids Community Challenge, please visit www.healthykidsptbo.ca or follow @HKCCPtbo on Twitter and Facebook.

QUICK FACTS

  • 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.
  • Healthy Kids Community Challenge Peterborough is among 45 communities selected to take part in the Healthy Kids Community Challenge province wide.
  • The Canadian Society for Exercise and the Canadian Pediatric Society’s recommended screen time limits are:
    • Under 2 years of age – no screen time
    • 2-4 years – less than 1 hour per day
    • 5-17 years – no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time per day

For further information, please contact:

Claire Townshend, BHSc, MPH

Healthy Kids Community Challenge Project Coordinator

705-743-1000, ext. 355

ctownshend@peterboroughpublichealth.ca

 

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