In today’s world, technology and the use of digital devices is inescapable for both adults and children of all ages. Some children can spend hours upon hours on smartphones, ipads and watching television. However, it would be unrealistic to eradicate technology altogether and arguably there is amazing educational value in apps and tv programs that can teach children whilst they’re watching so they definitely have a place in this generation.
However, at Mila and Pheebs, we believe it’s all about balance.
Children should spend at least an equal amount of time developing their skills, playing, being creative and using their imagination as they do watching apps or television. In other words, 50% using digital and 50% having digital detox time.
So what are the benefits of having some digital detox time?
Break from Digital Eyestrain
Using computers and digital devices can have damage on children’s eyes including dry eyes, eyestrain, headaches and blurry vision. Whilst they affects are usually temporary, they can be uncomfortable and easily avoided.
Encourage Social Behaviour
Whilst apps and television can show people and reactions through the screen, it’s not the same as real life face to face conversations and behaviour. Taking a break from digital allows children to sense other people’s facial expressions, tone, body language and be able to communicate more effectively.
Better Nights Sleep
A child who has slept well is more focused, alert and more well behaved. However, holding a digital device means light is directly centered on the eyes. Therefore, too much time on digital before bedtime can affect the quality of a child’s sleep.
There’s no doubt children learn a huge amount during the school day and a child’s brain needs space to absorb, process and memorise these learns. When a child jumps straight onto a device after school, they’re not necessarily getting the time to have a break.
Avoid Brain Overload
Similarly, devices can provide a whole host of information in one go. For example, a smartphone or ipad story can show images, words, animation and music all at once to a young reader. This can be overwhelming and rather than take the time to process each line or picture in the storyline in their own time, the child has to keep up with the tempo of the story being played.
‘A child’s mind is not a container to be filled but rather a fire to be kindled’Dorothea Brande
We hope these points highlight why it’s important for a child to have a balanced lifestyle with digital and a break from digital in equal measure. We think you’d agree that life is getting faster and faster with children having little time to ‘get bored’ with so much stimuli available. However, 2019 seems to be the year where people are realising how fast paced our lives are and the importance of slowing down, taking time out from digital and reconnecting with each other. Let’s take our children on this journey too.