Over this weekend, both Liz Truss and Jeremy Hunt has waded into the debate about “restricting screen time” for children.
Liz Truss (Chief Secretary to the Treasury) comments as a parent about locking away her daughter’s phone in a box, whereas Jeremy Hunt feels able to comment about many issues in his position of Health Secretary – a good platform for his political ambitions, some might say.
There is no doubt that allowing a younger child to access a tablet/device frees up time for the parent/supervising adult to do something else. How much time should that be? and how frequently? are probably the key judgement issues, in addition to regulating what the child is viewing. It is hard to resist the screen time option to “keep a child quiet and occupied” for a period of time.
Liz Truss says that it is a parent’s responsibility to control their child’s use of devices, whereas Jeremy Hunt is suggesting legislation may be possible to force the social media technology (US) giants to change their products accordingly. Is that feasible? Does the UK with a population of 65 million planning to leave a European Union with 700 million, have that level of influence over global companies with a billion users?
However, tried and trusted traditional options still exist to entertain children alongside some screen time. How about playing games with physical objects – playing card games, dominoes, puzzles, educational games, books, crafts, things made of wood, and coloured pencils and paper encouraging a child to use their imagination, with some ideas generation from an adult.
Perhaps seen as dull and old fashioned, these activities enable a variety of learning skills to be practised, including dexterity, language, listening, interaction, maths agility and creativity – in a safe environment, with no viruses being introduced.
Give these and other games a try – visit your local high street toy shop before it disappears, or if you must, get it delivered next day by Amazon Prime !!