If you’ve got children then you’ll probably be having the same tech battle as many other parents up and down the land. You’ve no doubt remembered how you used to play outside as a child but now, in 2018, kids find the lure of a gadget, a TV, a phone, a tablet, is preferred over a run or a play outside.
Indeed, in research conducted by Persil, it was found that young children are spending twice as long looking at screens as they do playing outside. By the time they get to seven, they’ve calculated that children will have been looking at screens for the equivalent of 456 days – or four hours a day. In comparison, only an hour and a half has been spent outdoors.
It seems that three quarters of parents have used phones and tablets as a way to entertain youngsters, even though 60% admit that it could potentially affect their child’s creative thinking and problem solving abilities. Some 40% of parents have also found that children are using two screens at once.
This is where safety comes into play, and parents really need to start looking at monitoring, firewalling and filtering the internet feed on the phones and tablets used by kids.
Sir Ken Robinson, a leading expert in education, creativity and human development and chair of the Good Child Development Advisory Board, stated as part of the research that…
If you’re an adult now, how much time did you spend as a child playing outdoors, making up games on your own or with friends, dashing around, taking tumbles, all for the sheer fun of it?
Until recently, children spent many hours every week on this sort of physical, imaginative, social play.
’Real play’ like this is not only enjoyable: it is vitally important in young lives.
Research has long shown that it has essential roles in the balanced development of all children and young people.
Although the study found that 62% of parents wished their children would spend more time playing outside, around the same percentage admitted to using a screen as a way to keep children occupied.
But it’s catch 22. How do you get kids outside without giving them a smartphone so that you can see where they are and call them? It’s a trap that a lot of parents fall into. If you give kids a smartphone so that you can keep in touch with them, they’ll end up staring into it – even when they’re at the park. Perhaps a different way forwards, and one worth considering, is to get a tracker like we’ve recently reviewed. They’re small, they can be put into pockets or bags and you can see where you child is at any time. Better still – it’s less hassle than a phone (no in-app purchases and constant broken screens to worry about) and you’ll end up spending a whole lot less per month keeping the thing running. Plus, best of all and definitely worth thinking about, it’ll be one less screen for your kids to get addicted to.
With the screen use causing kids to have a “detachment” from reality, it’s important that parents do take a more decisive and influential role in the lives of children, else the cycle will continue again and again.