Bethia: I’m not against screen time. I am against the amount of screen time which I think has become the norm. I think a lot of parents worry about this. There are a lot of messages out there about growing obesity and screen time, mental health and screen time - I think it makes sense to consider the relationship our children have with the digital world.
I’ve had a lot of conversations with other parents about our recent experiences of homeschooling - or delivering work sent to us by schools - and lots of parents were concerned by how much of it was on screens (watching little Youtube explanations or watching their teacher read them a story). I’m not criticising - these are desperate times and everyone pulled together to do the best they could. I am a great believer in balance, and after many months of more-than-usual screen engagement, I believe that the summer holiday offers a wonderful opportunity to put our focus elsewhere, give our eyes a rest and spend some quality time connecting with our children.
Screen time is complex and there are pros and cons for sure:
Studies have shown that very young children who spend more time on ipads or iphones have fine motor skills that are further developed
It enables our children to stay current and ‘join in’ with what their peers are seeing and learning
There are so many amazing programmes for kids now, it’s really not all Peppa Pig! My son loves Dinosaur Train and it has a section in it full of learning and information which he can access while he is too young to ‘Google it’
let’s face it, the TV is a reliable and cheap babysitter sometimes. We’ve all had times when we needed the kids distracted while we got on with something urgent. But it’s a slippery slope and I do know friends who have slipped down it into TV-on-all-day. It’s hard to break the habit.
‘Internet safety worry’ I know is fast approaching for me as the boys get older and spend more time online. As a teacher I have been in countless safeguarding sessions and I have nearly always come away shocked at the level of danger out there and also how easy it is for children to fall prey to seeing things and doing things online which are harmful
Screens can put a wedge between us and the ones we love. They can be addictive and they take up our attention which then isn’t being given to the people around us. It’s worth thinking about how many times we give a distracted “mmmm” to our children when we are scrolling through facebook etc.
Jess: So, as with everything, it seems to yet again be all about balance. Everything in moderation. To swing back to a natural, outdoor, screen-free direction, we have decided to give away our GROWbox (in a slightly different form!) for August. SCREEN-FREE SUMMER is a helping hand for all of you amazing parents. You're doing an incredible job!
The first half of this year has been exhausting, for every parent, in any circumstance. I’m pretty sure there isn’t a soul out there who hasn’t been challenged in one way or another! You all deserve a little inspiration, so you can enjoy the family time and focus on your child(ren) without the need to worry about what to do with them. The best thing is that they might even learn a few things along the way!
You can watch our Facebook live video about what SCREEN-FREE SUMMER is all about:
All you need to do is drop us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or join our Facebook Event and be part of our summer of screen-free fun! (https://www.facebook.com/events/627924941459734/)
Sign up by Monday 3rd Aug 2020 and you will be entered into our GROWbox prize draw!!
We can’t wait to get to know you and your families better this summer. Bring it on!
GROWnings is a weekly blog conversation by "GROW together!" to reflect our values and behaviours and encouraging open conversation on topical issues.
‘GROW Together!’ is an educational resources and subscription box company to provide fun, personalised learning resources enabling engagement between parents/carers and their children. The activities focus on getting in touch with nature and encouraging a desire to protect it, promoting better mental and physical wellbeing, allowing space for creativity and connectivity. Find out more on our website, www.farleigh.org.uk/growbox, Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/GROWboxDevon/ and on our Instagram Feed https://www.instagram.com/we.are.growbox/.