As a parent, do you struggle to get your kids away from screens? Get them to focus on real people, real events, the real world? A good solution is to get them into karate class.
Screens are everywhere. Phones. TVs. Movies. Laptops. Watches. Screen time’s a fact of life. But as parents we have to govern when and how our kids engage with screens, and how much time is too much.
Here’s a revealing statement about what too much screen time does to a young person’s brain:
“Early data from a landmark National Institutes of Health (NIH) study that began in 2018 indicates that children who spent more than two hours a day on screen-time activities scored lower on language and thinking tests, and some children with more than seven hours a day of screen time experienced thinning of the brain’s cortex, the area of the brain related to critical thinking and reasoning.”
That’s where martial arts comes in. Karate students and instructors have their eyes glued on each other, not a screen. If your glance is askew, even for a second, you miss a move. Kids feel it. Sometimes literally (in a sparring match, for instance, you’re gonna lose a point if your attention wanders). Karate gives valuable, tangible feedback. We like to say karate focuses the eyes, the mind and the body.
Karate students also feel it in another way, namely by falling behind or out of sync. If every other student is moving through Chon Ji, and you divert your attention for just one punch, you fall behind. You feel it.
What does this have to do with focus and screen time? A few things:
- Kids are active in karate.
- Kids build muscle in karate.
- Kids have fun in karate.
- Kids get to know and interact with other people—including adults—in karate.
- Kids learn to respect each other’s feelings and space in karate.
- And ultimately, kids feel physical and mental accomplishment in karate.
Karate helps kids break away from a fixation on screens, and that helps you as a parent. If you’re curious about what the black belt journey could mean for your child’s focus, get started here.