Spending some time Unplugged this Festive Season!

The festive season can be a demanding time and one where families can be literally snowed under by the amount of technology that suddenly surrounds them! It really is important to spend some time unplugged over the festive season!

Here are some tips to help you create a balance and spend some time unplugged over the next few weeks!

It is important to empower kids to make smart choices about what they do when they are online. This can mean everything from who they are interacting with, to the language they use and also the amount of time that they are spending online. Often it is only when they are asked to have a think about the amount of time they spent in front of a screen, for example, over the last week that they realize how much time that actually is. It is totally understandable that kids can be unaware of how much time they spend online. With the growing popularity of messaging apps, sharing of content like videos and even music streaming, it can be very easy to spend quite a lot of time online every day.

Encouraging kids to spend time offline is undoubtedly challenging, however it is very important. The continual development of face to face social and emotional skills cannot be underestimated. While teenagers, in particular are focused on the now, they sometimes can fail to see the future implications of their current actions. For example, in only a few years’ time these young people will be employees and they will have to be able to make decisions and interact with colleagues and work for the most part within a team. All of this involves face to face interaction and the ability to form productive professional relationships. It is crucial that these interpersonal skills are developed from an early age and are reinforced and bedded down during adolescence. It is a delicate balance between encouraging the use of technology and all the positives that brings while at the same time promoting time spent offline.

Talk with your child about why you want them to have a balance in relation to the amount of time they spend online. It is always a good idea to suggest that this is something for all of the family to try. Teenagers, in particular like to see their parents also have a digital detox! Prioritizing a family activity that does not involve technology each week is a great way to introduce a digital detox. Encourage your child to spend time interacting face to face with their friends as opposed to messaging them. They will get to see a real reaction to what is being talked about instead of a managed response via a screen. Learning to read body language is another crucial skill that will stay with them long into adulthood.