How to get your kids offline and outside!

Welcome to my Digitaldetoxforkids blog.

I am starting this blog because of my own experience with my kids and the digital age.

My eldest daughter is 14, my youngest 11. My 11 year old is a digital native.

I can’t say I get it right all the time but I try to get a balance between allowing them to use all the wonderful things on the internet, such as Wikipedia for homework but also making sure that they get off their devices and outside enough, interact with real people and importantly interact with nature.

I admit to sometimes spending too much time on the internet myself scrolling though Facebook, reading mindless blogs😀 we all do at and it is such a waste of time.

Every week I will discuss the risks of too much screen time and make suggestions on how to get your kids offline and link with various partners that can help.

One useful book that came to my attention recently is ‘Mind Change’ by Baroness Susan Greenfield. The book is controversial but it raises some valid points about the risks of too much screen time and there is a very good chapter about gaming and addiction.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mind-Change-digital-technologies-leaving/dp/1846044316

Susan Greenfield

In addition, Professor Tanya Byron, a British Psychologist, says “The less children play outdoors, the less they learn to cope with the risks and challenges they will go on to face as adults…  Nothing can replace what children gain from the freedom and independence of thought they have when trying things out in the open”.

Who knows what health problems, both mental and physical, sitting on screens all day will be causing in the future.

So let’s see what we can do about it and how we can change things.

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How do we get our kids offline?

Now I know what you are thinking, ‘How can we get them off their ‘phone/iPad they will protest too much, how can we make the alternatives appealing?’

Make the alternatives as fun as possible – take them to the woods, to a beach, for a swim, to the zoo or bowling is a good family event. I find that taking them out is the best and sometimes only way to get kids away from screens!

bowling

Or how about a reward system:-

Every few hours hour of musical instrument practice/playing a board game/going on a walk = half  an hour of screen time in the early evening*

You will find that the more time they spend offline the livelier and more talkative they become which is a reward in itself to a parent.

The dreaded blue light..

iphone-1067982_1920

* The reason I talk about screen time I the early evening is that there is now good evidence that the blue light emitted by screens suppresses the hormone melatonin and this is our sleep hormone. So being on screens in the late evening can disrupt our sleep pattern and as we all know children need a good amount of sleep in order to function well and learn well at school.

A good article here

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/q-a-why-is-blue-light-before-bedtime-bad-for-sleep/

So I hope this is of some use please post in comments any other suggestions you have, I need help too!

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