Christmas is coming.
It seems to get earlier and earlier but there can be no question that it’s right around the corner.
This means pressure and expectation for, and upon, all involved.
For those responsible for organising the gifts, this can often be a difficult time.
How much to spend, what to buy, what is (and is not) appropriate for children and young people; these are common dilemmas that parents (and other adults) must face as the Festive Season approaches.
It doesn’t get easier. Far from it, in fact.
For those perusing Christmas Gift Lists, we suspect the latest technology/gadgets are prominent.
The latest iPhone. The latest Xbox. The latest smart speakers. It’s becoming quite a minefield.
That research released in recent days suggests that, more than ever, parents in the UK are struggling to get a handle on their children’s tech habits/consumption just adds to the anxiety.
Emanating from a recent survey, the research suggests that:
- 43% of parents in Europe believe that gadget use is having a negative impact on children’s sleep.
- 38% fear that time spent on tablets and smartphones is damaging social skills.
- 32% are concerned that such gadgets/devices are also bad for a child’s mental health.
The research, conducted by Norton, the internet security firm, suggests that children ‘crave screen time more than sugar and sweets’ these days, that children in the UK are more likely to be looking at a screen than playing outside and that almost a quarter – 23% – spend more time online than their parents.
On average, according to the research, British children spend three hours a day on their devices.
‘Modern parenting isn’t easy,’ Nick Shaw, the General Manager of Norton UK, told the BBC.
To us, that’s quite an understatement.
Taking everything here into account, it’s quite clear that modern parenting presents some significant challenges, never more so than at Christmas, when pressure and expectation are in the air.
What to buy, what is (and is not) appropriate; these are not questions for us to answer.
What we can do is help parents (and other adults) to negotiate that minefield.
iPhone or Xbox (or something else altogether), our advice is the same:
- Set rules/boundaries. Err on the side of lower rather than higher screen use.
- Stick to them.
- Keep gadgets out of bedrooms.
- Set an example yourself.
This (again) is difficult, but it’s so important.
Back to the Norton survey: 9% of parents set no rules on use at all; 65% let children use devices/gadgets unsupervised in their bedrooms; 49% want to set limits but don’t know how; 43% said children were able to get around the rules/restrictions that had been put in place.
It’s quite obvious from this the approach that needs to be taken.
We can’t stop technology, or curb our children’s desire on get their hands on the latest devices.
But we can implement rules, we can encourage sensible use and we can minimise the risks and the dangers, in doing so solving some of the dilemmas that can make organising gifts such a troubling task.
Christmas is coming and it’s right around the corner.
Take our advice, be prepared, think ahead and keep that pressure and expectation in check.
Concerned about YOUR child’s screen time and/or online habits?
Need help setting/implementing rules about online/social media/smartphone use?
Think gadgets and devices are damaging a child’s mental health?
You can always contact us here.