There’s no denying that our world is dominated by digital devices.
Almost everything that we do these days revolves around the use of technology and the internet. Of course, there are plenty of advantages to technology, but there’s also a few downsides. We’ve all been known to have excessive screen times and a little too much reliance on these digital devices. Not to mention the effect it can have on your mental health!
We often talk about adults having a break from technology, but what about our kids?
As a parent, you might wish that you could spend some more quality time with your family. But, it's hard to have a meaningful conversation when your children are spending hours scrolling through their phones, watching too much TV, or playing video games.
Lots of families are seeing their kids buried in their electronics, missing out on quality family time. Technological advances are great for helping children learn and read, but they can be damaging not only to their wellbeing and to their relationships too.
So, what can you do to help? Well, one of the best ways to stop screen time taking over your family’s lives is by introducing a digital detox for kids.
What is a digital detox?
A digital detox is when someone stops using technology for a short period of time, usually to focus on other parts of their life. This includes devices such as smartphones, TV’s, computers, and video game consoles. There are many benefits of a digital detox that can be applied to both kids and adults, such as reducing stress levels and promoting a healthier lifestyle.
If you’ve noticed that your kids are too attached to their screens, then a digital detox could help. But, this doesn’t mean going full cold-turkey! Just unplugging from technology for a short break every day can be enough to help your kids develop healthier habits.
When to know if a digital detox is needed for your kids
How do you know if your kids are too reliant on technology? Here are a few signs your child could use a break from their digital devices:
- You argue over electronics: Do you find yourself in an argument with your children every time you tell them to switch off the Playstation, or shut their laptops? If you do, then your kids could be in need of a break!
- They’re too reliant on technology for entertainment: Research conducted in 2016 found that the average child can spend up to 8 hours a day on electronic devices! If your kids spend countless hours on their games console, or if they spend all their free time in front of a TV, then a digital detox could be needed to help them explore new activities.
- You’ve all developed bad habits: Does your family watch TV when eating dinner? Do you all text each other from another room instead of talking face-to face? Do you all sleep with your mobiles next to your beds? Do you all sit in the same room scrolling through social media without speaking? Then it sounds like it's not just your child that needs a digital detox!
How to plan a digital detox for kids
Okay, so now that you know that your children need to take a step away from technology, how do you go about actually helping them to do it? Here are a few strategies for creating a digital detox for kids:
Lead by example
Practice what you preach! Encourage your children to take a break from their electronics by leading by example. So if it's meal time, make sure they don’t see you scrolling through your phones and answering emails/messages at the table.
Likewise, don’t stay up all night binge watching the latest Netflix series if you expect your kids to be in bed early. Why? Young children learn from what they observe from their parents, so when it comes to teaching them about the importance of a digital detox, you need to set the right example.
Limit screen time
Let’s be clear; technology is not a bad thing! And this means that a digital detox doesn’t mean completely cutting it out forever. Balanced screen time habits can create plenty of opportunities for learning, collaboration, and of course, fun!
Instead, you should establish some screen time limits for your kid’s digital detox. Plan out when certain electronic devices can be used and for how long each day. Two hours of screen time per day is a great place to start, but every family is different. Do what feels best for your kids.
Don’t allow technology in certain areas of your home
Try to make sure that digital devices are only in certain parts of your home. For instance, there should be specific ‘designated’ areas where your children are allowed to use their laptops, screens and other devices. Keep them in one particular room, such as the living room or a playroom. However, the dining room and their bedrooms should be electronic-free zones.
Keep your kids busy with these screen-free alternatives!
Now that their screen-time is limited, your kids will be able to try new hobbies and activities that don’t revolve around technology. Here are a few ways you can keep them entertained:
Before the internet and video games were invented, most kids played outside all of the time. So if your kids need a digital detox, encourage them to go outdoors. Playing outside has lots of benefits for children, one of the main ones being exercise.
Take your kids for a bike ride, enroll them in their local football team, or simply have some family fun with outdoor games, like rounders. Not only will it keep your kids away from the screen, but it’ll help them lead a healthier lifestyle.
Getting your child to realise that electronic devices aren’t the only source of entertainment can be done by planning regular family trips together. Take them to the beach, plan a road trip, visit the zoo, or go camping. Not only will this strengthen your family bond, but it’ll be lots of fun too!
Playing board games will give your kids some screen-free time that’s beneficial for their learning development and thinking skills. We all know that playing board games is a great way to have some good ol’ family fun, but they also help to create some lasting memories that both you and your children will cherish.
Picking which board game to play can be half of the challenge. Why not take a look at some of our family favourites to help you decide?
Start your kids’ digital detox with Gibsons
At Gibsons, we produce games and puzzles that entertain all generations. If you’re looking for some fun screen-free activities for your kids during their digital detox, then roll the dice and take a look through our award-winning family board games. You can view the collection here.
Got a question about one of our games or puzzles? Feel free to get in touch, a member of our team will be more than happy to help you.