According to a recent article in the Telegraph British kids are some of the most house bound and screen addicted in the world. 74% of our children spend less time than an hour a day outside which is the minimum recommended by the UN for prisoners. 18% of UK kids don’t play outside regularly at all, the main excuse given being the weather. It seems to me that although admittedly the British weather can be pretty awful the main culprit is our kids addiction to digital devices.
The same survey found that British parents estimated that their children spend 26 per cent on average of their free time inside in front of a screen, compared to 21 per cent across the other countries surveyed, and only 12 per cent outdoors.
The easy way out
As a parent I know for myself how much easier it is to let my kids play on the devices than take them out to the park to play on the swings. I’m a very active person and love being outside, yet I still struggle sometimes to get the kids outside.
I know once my kids are outside they have a great time and come back more content and settled, whereas an afternoon on devices often leads to petty arguments and grumpiness. The hardest thing is prising them off their devices to get them out in the first place.
What can I do?
I find the hardest thing as a parent is being disciplined and consistent with my children over screen time, it’s hard enough to restrict my own screen time let alone theirs! I have found the best solution is to allow them a fixed amount of time per day, and allow them to choose when that is, I have put a chart on the fridge where I can note down their screen time for the day. Kidslox helps with me with this as I can give a fixed amount of screen time after which the device locks by its self which saves the struggle of getting the device off my children! Kidslox is working on a new feature to only allow a fixed limit of screen time per day so I’ll soon be able to bin the chart on the fridge!