The first time I saw a computer was at school, but I wasn't allowed to use it, they were for the boys only!
The first computer I owned, as a grown-up, was installed with Windows 98 and it cost me three times the amount of the lap top I am currently using.
My older children were nine and ten years old when we had our first computer, and although they did have a games console they still spent most of their time playing outside.
My little ones were brought into a digital home. We have all sorts of gadgets and computers, games consoles and android phones. They are embedded into our daily lives and the young ones want to use them too. Even my older children get upset if the young ones want to spend too much time on the computer or games consoles.
Things have been worse recently because Star's illness means that we haven't been able to get out as much as we used to. More time in the house means they want to spend more time with their gadgets.
A recent survey, completed by parents, showed that an alarming number of children spent most of their day with digital devices such as computers, phones, games consoles, tablets, e-readers and tv. Also, children as young as two years old where using these devices on a regular basis.
So why be concerned about the use of digital devices? Well, there are the obvious reasons such as headaches, attention deficit, sleep quality, obesity, behavioural problems addiction and eye strain. Lenstore have written a detailed blog post about the results of the survey and the effects of using digital devices on children's eyes.
We will not be losing the digital devices in our home any time soon, but we can take steps to protect our children from the problems they cause. Some of the things we do in our house are;
- Limit use of digital devices, giving clear rules on when they can or cannot be used
- Encourage the children to take part in other activities, we do lots of cooking together, or arts and crafts
- Encourage the children to play with their non digital toys, or failing that, get out some boxes, kids love boxes
- Tell them to play in the garden, we have garden toys to encourage them, and this lovely weather we've been having means that they can have fun in the paddling pool.
- Go out! Take them shopping or on day trips, or a walk to the park, just out of the house for a while
Digital devices are great, but should have their use limited. Many children think they can't live without them...well, I had to!
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