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Parents anxious as 11 million school children come home for holidays

By Gatonye Gathura | Published Tue, April 18th 2017 at 00:00, Updated April 17th 2017 at 22:11 GMT +3

Parents are anxious as children are home for holidays to interact with the largest number of digital devices than ever before.

Two years ago health experts warned that children spending too much time behind television and computers were likely to be obese compared to those playing ‘hide and seek or catch’ out there. Since then latest data from Google’s Consumer Barometer shows the number of digital screens at home has grown dramatically to include cheap smartphones, play stations, iPads, iPhones, tablets, smart TVs you name them.

Home Internet has become more available as more parents work in the house and get wired to Wi-Fi and other high speed technologies.

“My 11-year-old boy, Sam, is more concerned over Wi-Fi connection than these dry water taps,” says Joyce Kabura Muthoni of Fedha Estate in Nairobi.

The fight today, she says, is no longer over obsolete TV remote control, but more trendy, numerous and addictive digital screens and devices. “Sam,” Kabura shouts from the kitchen. “Your friends are calling you at the door.” “Cool Mum, w’l txt ‘em (sic),” Sam texts mum from the bedroom brushing off a chance for some outdoor time.

Pointing from the balcony, Kabura says a few years ago many children would be out there, cycling, balling or doing cop and robbers. But there is hardly any today, with most staring at digital screens indoors or in cyber cafes.

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Physical activity

The 2016 International Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth showed half of children and youth in Kenya are not active enough for healthy growth and development.

The score card showed almost half of children and youth aged between five and 17 are not meeting recommended levels of physical activity.