Keep'er Fit

Gary Wallace

iPads at the dinner table – yes or no?

no ipad
I was coaching last Sunday in Lisburn and afterwards my son and I went to the Lagan Valley Leisure Complex. The complex was great fun for him and secretly me too, we were chasing each other round the lazy pool, throwing ourselves down slides, messing about on everything really; it was a workout in its own right!

Afterwards we went for a bite to eat in a restaurant near the Leisure Complex. It was my ‘cheat day’ I was ready for a big feed. We entered the building and the waiter showed us to our seat, nothing out of the ordinary there but then he produced a tablet for my son to play on. At first I was surprised but then I didn’t know what way to take it. My son’s eyes on the other hand lit up, he could play some cool games on this.

I posted a picture of it up on my Facebook page and received a few comments. I simply asked the question if this is a good idea or not?
Most people agreed that it wasn’t a good idea. They said when you’re out with the kids it should be spent as family time not stuck with your face in a tablet.

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I let Josh play with the tablet for a while and the worrying thing is all I did was pick up my phone and look through social media and caught up on a few messages. Not one word was spoken until the waiter came back and asked us what we wanted. After we ordered food I asked Josh to put the tablet down and just chat, all he wanted to do was play some more. After he did put it down we chatted and played some silly games while we waited for our food which was a lot better than no interaction at all.

People’s opinions on this may vary but to me it was another sign of how society is losing its interaction and communication skills which in turn has an effect on our whole lifestyle. I’m not saying we should ban tablets for kids but rather choose when and where they use them.
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The dinner table for me is not a place to hide your face in a screen, instead it should be used to interact, listen and discuss whatever you want with family and friends no matter how young or old. Plus, it’s always taking the easy option and soon it will become a habit. Before you know it your child would rather be playing computer games than going outside no matter what activity you offered.

I remember I saw a cartoon illustration of a mum in the 90’s having to drag her son in by the ear from playing football then below is mum in today’s world having to drag her son outside and away from his tablet. I think this picture speaks a thousand words.

The advancements in technology, and especially entertainment in this case, are brilliant but they are making us far more stationary and depleting our ability to use social skills within everyday life.

This is where I feel that sport and exercise plays a huge role in social and mental development of everyone. So encourage yourself, family, friends or anyone you know to lift their head out of their electronic device once and a while and see what you can achieve.

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