Scare-enting

Racepoint Global

Written by: Sophie McGinness – PR Apprentice, Racepoint Global UK 

We live in a world that is constantly connected by wifi yet, in many ways, disconnected from the matter that makes it. Parenting has never been an easy task and nor has growing up, but these essential parts of human life have come to clash like never before. With one generation who grew up without mobile phones, trying to bring up a generation who are attached to mobile phones like an umbilical cord, miscommunication and misunderstandings are inevitable. Attempt to separate a three year old from their ipad if you require further explanation.

Where are parents expected to see the fair balance? How to do you keep your children safe while keeping them up to date? After all, the vast majority of jobs become more digital by the day; is it really a good idea to try and go back in time?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than one hour of screen time for children under the age of six. However, it isn’t as simple as setting a timer. As psychologists delve deeper into the understanding of our relationship with technology, it appears there is a question of the quality of screen time and context to be had.

Jocelyn Brewer, a Psychologist specialising in ‘digital nutrition’ compares media to diet. You can consume 1200 calories a day and have stuck to the recommended count, however if your 1200 calories is made up of a mars bar, a vanilla latte and a burger the quality of your diet would be less than someone who consumes double the calories in juicy greens.

“It’s not just about whether you consume any potential digital junk foods, but also your relationship to technology and the role it plays in your family life,” says Brewer. “We know that using screens to soothe or pacify kids sets up some concerning patterns of relying on devices to calm or distract a child (or teen, or adult) from their experience of unpleasant or uncomfortable emotions – so we want to avoid using screens to placate tantrums, just like we want to avoid eating ‘treats’ to calm emotional storms.”

In short, technology and screens can be beneficial and part of a healthy lifestyle, but using them as a pacifier, a means of bribery; or allowing it to become a young person’s main source of confidence and social life is much the same as using sweets or toys as a means of encouraging good behaviour. It works for the first five minutes but ensures a difficult long run.

Here are some great apps that limit screen time, and technology that can improve your child’s learning:

Learn to read for free on tablets

An extreme form of screen detox, where your card is charged for an early unblock – watch your willpower against tantrums soar instantaneously.

A more easy going option, Space encourages you to reduce screen time with progress charts and goals as well as providing you with opportunities to use guided breathing to calm anxieties.

Most importantly, keep everyone safe: This is a free antiviral developed by military computing experts