Charity warns getting kids offline and away from TV is becoming an uphill struggle
Parents should encourage more family based activities says charity
More than a quarter of parents in Scotland struggle to get their children to unplug and take part in activities away from television, phone and computer screens, according to a survey published by Action for Children Scotland.
When asked which behaviour they found most difficult to control in their children, more parents said they struggled to limit technology-based activity (26%) than get children to eat healthily (17%), go to bed (4.3%) and do their homework (19%).
Paul Carberry, director of children’s services at Action for Children Scotland, 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.
“As well as the conscious effort to cut down on screen-time, some parents benefit from additional support, such as dropping in for a chat or attending some of our family support services, to learn how to better connect with their children.”
The charity is currently running its National Children’s Hour campaign, which encourages parents and children to unplug and play and enjoy some old-fashioned fun together.
It has also published a range of activity ideas on its website.
How to coax kids away from the screen
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) equaling 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 this 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.