Did you know that rarely are we ever more than a couple of metres away from our mobile phones? I know that this is certainly the case for me! And if you’ve ever lost your phone, I bet you’ve experienced that genuine feeling of panic when you realise it’s one of your main connectors with friends, business, social interests, important photographs, even your banking.. everything digitally important to you is stored on that critical piece of technology.
And it’s not just our phones which play such a significant part in our lives – it’s anything and everything from our tablet to our eBook, and from our satnav to our digital tv. Life would be very different without any of these items which entertain us, help us do business, educate us and even help us get from A to B.
But of course as adults, we have ‘work-arounds’ should we lose our tech. We know we can visit a friend or pick up the landline to make a call, dig out a paperback or a newspaper to read, plot our route on an ‘old-fashioned’ map, entertain ourselves with a game of cards or classic board game… very few of us would say we could NOT manage without our digital helpers, but we readily acknowledge that they make our lives that bit much easier.
Children are, conversely, digital natives. The digital world is the ONLY world they know – a world of online education, entertainment and communication. So it’s not surprising to see various studies report that not having access to the internet can have as negative an impact on a child as having excessive access can…
But it is this total reliance on digital technology which consistently fuels concerns from parents and teachers about a wide range of issues, extending from disturbed sleep patterns, to academic struggle, poor family relationships, impaired social functioning, and emotional and psychiatric problems.
To manage the pros and cons of digital tech use, we’re sharing some of our top tips for trying to achieve a better balance – and note that they apply to adults as much as they do to children!
- Phones and devices can only be charged downstairs and overnight – that way, no tech is taken to bed by anyone.
- No screens at the dinner table – meal times are a time for real-life interaction.
- Tech free time – this could be for one day on the weekend, or for a family day out, or even for a whole week in the holidays.
- Shared tech – with fewer devices in the household, such as tablets, time on them has to be shared out.
- Tech as a reward – time on devices has to be ‘won’.
- Educational tech time – certain times of the day are for ‘learning’ tech only.
- Use of control features and apps to limit use – as well as parental control features, and content-streaming profiles, there are apps to limit data usage or restricting texting and web browsing to certain times of the day.
If you’d like to find out more about some of the issues around digital technology and media use, and its impact on children – please do get in touch. We currently offer:
- Self Harm & Compulsive Media Use: Managing risk and digital pressure: The impact of young minds meeting small screens – running in Oxford on 12 March 2020 and in London on 11 June 2020
- Managing Digital Pressure; Pre-emptive Strategies for Improving Student Wellbeing – offered as an in-house training option.
Just drop us a line for full details. We’d love to hear from you.