SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE: It's time to unplug and play
A STUDY on Malaysian youths show that youths spend about 32.6 hours in a day on media-related activities such as watching TV, surfing the Internet, listening to the radio and reading magazines. How come 32.6 hours? Are there not 24 hours in a day?
Well, technology allows us to multitask. One can talk on the phone, watch television, check the Facebook account with the music on at the same time. However, research shows that out of the 32.6 hours, 26.8 hours are spent on sedentary activities or activities where there is not much interaction with family and friends.
Children spend about 5.3 hours in school, 3.3 hours on the Net, 2.5 hours watching television, 1.3 hours on the phone and 6.8 hours sleeping. There is not much time left for engaging with the family.
This is not only happening to children; adults also love the screen. Malaysians spend an average of 20 hours online each week.
More than half (53 per cent) of Malaysian digital consumers surf the Internet on a daily basis, while 35 per cent go online several times a week. This is followed by time spent watching television, that is 10.6 hours per week.
The take-up rate for smartphones and tablet computers is gaining significant momentum in Malaysia. Smartphone ownership is set to almost double during the next 12 months to reach 89 per cent (up from 48 per cent today) of all digital consumers aged 15 years and above while tablet computers are anticipated to be in 75 per cent (from current 18 per cent) of all digital consumers' households surveyed. This means Malaysians will spend even more time on the Net.
Consumers' appetite for media and Internet-capable devices has also increased opportunities for simultaneous media consumption: more than two-thirds (71 per cent) of those surveyed claim that they watch TV and browse the Internet at the same time.
While computers remain the primary platform for simultaneous usage, one out of 10 (11 per cent) digital consumers says they watch TV and access the Internet on their mobile phone simultaneously.
An international survey had found out that Malaysians have the highest number of Facebook friends, with an average of 233 in each account.
Malaysians spend nine hours a week on Facebook, which is one of the highest compared with other countries, and more than 10 million Malaysians are currently Facebook users. The statistics show that we might have more "digital" friends than "real" friends; communication has moved from engaging friends or family members face to face to messages on the screen.
More screen time also means less active activities. According to the Third National Health and Morbidity Survey 2006, the prevalence of physical inactivity of Malaysians is 43.7 per cent, where urban adults were found to be more inactive (45.6 per cent) as compared with rural adults.
The inactive lifestyle is one of the causes that leads to obesity. In Malaysia, about 43 per cent of adults, some 20 per cent of adolescents and 26 per cent of primary school children are either overweight or obese.
Instead of spending 5.6 hours a week playing online games, we should get out of the screen and start sweating through sports and recreational activities.
The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) initiated the annual Screen-Free Week in 2009. It falls from 21 to 27 April. This is the fourth year we are bringing this message to children, families, schools, and communities urging them to spend these seven days turning off entertainment screen media and turning on life.
It's time to unplug and play, read, daydream, create, explore, and spend time with family and friends. Log on to www.kkk.org.my/english for more details about the campaign.