Parents struggle to ‘unplug’ kids from tech

A quarter of parents struggle to get their children to ‘unplug’ and take part in activities away from television, phone and computer screens

The research, compiled by Action for Children, found that more parents struggled to limit technology-based activity (23%) than get children to eat healthily (19%), go to bed (18%), or do their homework (10%).

“Technology is an often necessary part of the lives of children and parents alike, but it’s important to maintain a balance with other activities and quality family time,” said Carol Iddon, Managing Director of Operations of Action for Children. 

“We know from our extensive work with families that strong relationships with parents build resilience in children, making them less susceptible to bullying or abuse outside the home, and encouraging them to speak to their parents about any fears or concerns.”

In light of the research findings, Action for Children has developed five top tips to help parents get the whole family to unplug and play:

1. Plan fun activities for the whole family that don’t involve technology.

2. Create a balance between technology use and other activities by creating a weekly schedule on the principle of an hour of ‘energy in’ (technology use) equalling an hour of ‘energy out’ (other activities).

3. Tap into your own experience: when you were a child, what was your favourite game to play? Share these with your children.

4. Identify the challenges your children enjoy in the video games they play and replicate them. Do they like games about sport? Encourage them to play the real deal in the park or go as a family to a local match. Are their favourite games puzzles or brain-teasers? Organise a board game night.

5. Practice what you preach: when your children are having screen-free time, turn off your devices too. Don’t waste the opportunity! 

Action for Children is currently running its National Children’s Hour, which aims to simply make time for children and for adults to have some old-fashioned fun by unplugging and playing. For more activity ideas, click here