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How can I get my tech-loving teen to be more active?

3 years ago

2 experts and 1 parent have answered

Jo Middleton writer
Jo Middleton Writer, parent, blogger Bristol, GB

I’ve always found it strange that we spend the first years of our kids’ lives trying to get them to sleep, and their teenage years trying to make them to get up. When my children were small I remember thinking to myself how when they were older I would let them lie in bed all day if it meant I could get some peace and quiet.

Of course it doesn’t work out like that. Priorities change, and as your children grow up it can be an uphill battle persuading them to stay active when all they want to do is play on whatever the latest cool gadget may be. There is good news though – technology and exercise don’t have to be mutually exclusive. There are ways that you can harness your teenager’s addiction to all things techy and turn it into a force for good.

Take the Nike + FuelBand SE for instance - funky gadget, style statement and personal coach all in one. The FuelBand has become a massive tech fitness trend and is perfect for teens who need a little encouragement to get out from behind their screens, as well as grown-ups who like a bit of healthy competition. Worn around your wrist, the FuelBand counts your steps, looks at how strenuously you are exercising, and awards you ‘fuel’ points. What’s extra fun is that you can go online, compare your scores and compete with other FuelBand users.

If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to a FuelBand, there are plenty of very affordable, engaging apps that could help to kickstart a New Year fitness plan. The Couch to 5K programme for example promises to take complete beginners up to running a 5K in less than three months, using GPS to track your route, distance and speed as you run.

2 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
expert answer
Andrew Weekes expert
Andrew Weekes Techy engineer, father of two. Sevenoaks, GB
Technology expert

Get them playing Ingress!

Stories abound on the internet of amazing weight loss amongst players of the game (almost 23kg here, so far!). It's a modern, high-tech virtual reality game in which the only way to play is to fire up your phone and get walking!

It's a bit alien to many, one real online conversation about it went like this: -

Q. "How do you move"

A. "With your legs!"

It's Android only at present, but is supposed to be arriving for iOS in the not too distant future - play it as a family and have loads of fun, meet lots of other tech-loving geeks, and get a whole new social world which involves walking surprising distances.

P.S. Join the Enlightened... :)

P.P.S. Another game I've been meaning to try is Zombies, Run! (

"Get Fit. Escape Zombies. Become a Hero."

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Experience 3 years ago
expert answer
Adam Clark expert
Adam Clark Father of 5, Technology Expert San Luis Obispo, US
Technology expert

Find a way to connect their online world to their offline world. Use the one to leverage the other. For instance, my son loves to watch "EvantubeHD" on Youtube. He wants to be just like Evan. So, one thing we do is then help him create his own videos. He loves the process and gets active in setting his video shots up and the editing, etc.

He also loves rocks. So we use online apps and websites to help us with our offline activities like rock hounding. Then he can create videos, read more online, and use the web to show off his offline life.

Sometimes, however, we just have to get him off the computer and off the internet all together and make him go outside, go play, etc. It's a bit like working with an addict sometimes, but if you manage that actively and add offline life as a normal habit of life, they will learn to set new expectations for themselves.

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Experience 3 years ago

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