We all do it don’t we? We spend hours on our smartphone, the iPad, and the PC surfing the internet, looking for bargains, catching up with friends and even playing games ourselves.
Digital media becomes a problem when this is all we do and our free time is taken up entirely by a very small screen. Unfortunately, the same is true for our kids, who seem to spend all of their ‘play’ time online. So, how can we encourage our kids to spend more time playing with their friends outside or even inside – and avoid the drawcard of digital media?
Limit their screen time
This is a biggie, but at some point you might find that you have to put limits on the amount of time your kids spend online. Computer games are making our kids into solitary creatures, not interacting with their friends outside of school, but spending all of their time playing games online.
Come up with a workable plan that limits computer time to just the weekends for example, maybe 2 hours each day. It might be a struggle at first, but if you introduce other family activities into their evenings and their weekends you can make the transition to a better balance in your family life.
Have dinner together every evening
Maybe it’s about time we all moved back to family get togethers at dinner time. Too many kids eat and run back to their computers, text their friends at the dinner table, talk on the phone or even eat their dinner while on the computer. Why not put a stop to all forms of digital media at dinner time?
Call your kids in from their rooms before dinner, so you can all chat and catch up and then make sure that everyone helps to clear up after dinner. You can easily turn this into an hour of family time every evening and start reintroducing your kids into family life, without being fixed to their digital devices.
Take the kids outside for their playtime
Getting kids outside into the fresh air is becoming more and more difficult, so start initiating outdoor activities for the family. Think about day trips, picnics and outdoor games. When was the last time you all went to the zoo together? How about a game of cricket with the kids?
If you want to stay high-tech, then you could check out some of the latest remote controlled gadgets – Harvey Norman offers different kinds of remote controlled cars, which will certainly bring the kids out from in front of their computers.
In the end, it all comes down to family values and how we want to spend our time together as a family.