A leading charity has put together five top tips to help parents get the whole family off the computer and away from the TV
It follows research by Action for Children has found that many British parents are finding it easier to get their children to do homework, go to bed or have a bath than asking them to turn off their phones, laptops and TVs.
The tips are:
1. Plan fun activities for the whole family that don’t involve technology.
2. Create a balance between technology use and other activities by creating a weekly schedule on the principle of an hour of ‘energy in’ (technology use) equalling an hour of ‘energy out’ (other activities).
3. Tap into your own experience: when you were a child, what was your favourite game to play? Share these with your children.
4. Identify the challenges your children enjoy in the video games they play and replicate them. Do they like games about sport? Encourage them to play the real deal in the park or go as a family to a local match. Are their favourite games puzzles or brain-teasers? Organise a board game night.
5. Practice what you preach: when your children are having screen-free time, turn off your devices too. Don’t waste the opportunity!
The poll of more than 2,000 mums and dads found almost one in four mothers and fathers struggle to control their children’s screen time.
Action for Children spokesperson Carol Iddon said: “Technology is an often necessary part of the lives of children and parents alike, but it’s important to maintain a balance with other activities and quality family time.
“We know from our extensive work with families that strong relationships with parents build resilience in children, making them less susceptible to bullying or abuse outside the home, and encouraging them to speak to their parents about any fears or concerns.”
In recent months other studies have highlighted continuing concerns that many young people may be spending too much time online or watching TV.
A Cambridge University study published in September suggested an extra hour a day of television, internet or computer game time in Year 10 was linked to poorer grades at GCSE.
For more information visit childrenforaction.org.uk