MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The pandemic put many of us in front of screens like never before. Now, health experts are sending a warning about the damage all of that device time can do to us and our kids.

The Mayo Clinic has put together a summer challenge that your whole family could benefit from.

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Shannon Bryant is a bit of a survivor after what she’s been through this last year.

“It was challenging though it was,” Bryant said. She’s a mother to four boys ages eight to 13 and has been home for much of the school year supervising distance learning.

“Their teachers did a really good job trying to keep them focused on the zoom calls,” Bryant said.

It added up to at least a few hours of screen time every day for each student, and Bryant noticed it took a toll.

“I truly believe with kids you have to keep them physically active. It’s just a must,” she said.

“We need to put it down sometimes and walk away from our computer screen. Put down the tablet and engage in the real world,” said Tina Tharp, a Community Engagement Wellness Specialist for Mayo Clinic Health System.

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That’s the goal behind Mayo Clinic’s free Slim Your Screen Time Challenge. It’s a two-month program that provides more than 100 activities for all ages.

From blowing bubbles to making slime and doing some old-school stone skipping.

“We’re asking people to do 30 of them in 60 days then just check off your activity,” Tharp said.

Tharp says the physical effects of sedentary behavior are well-known, but the side effects of pandemic life have gone well beyond that.

“Then there are the social and emotional effects not connecting with a person face-to-face,” she said.

Bryant noticed much happier boys once they were back to school in-person.

“I do hope we don’t go back to distance learning,” she said, as her household hopes for a lasting digital break.

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To sign up your family to the Slim Your Screen Time Challenge, click here.

Liz Collin