You’ve spent another school holiday cursing our Great British weather and struggling to find great family days out. There’s only so many times that you can go to the park in the grey rain, or get properly wet by going swimming. You may have allowed your kids to spend a bit more time playing Minecraft and other family games on their iPad or Xbox than you would normally. Then you see social and mainstream media awash with experts saying how bad it is for your kids, so you ask yourself, ‘Are my kids spending too much time online’?
Back in August 2017 we tackled the question head on after the Children’s Commissioner suggested ‘screen time’ should be limited. We concluded that there were many benefits of the technology that children were growing up with and they should be allowed to enjoy it as part of an overall healthy lifestyle.
If your kids are spending 5 hours a day with headphones on watching YouTubers, cut off from you and the ‘outside world’, this might be something to be concerned about.
But if your child enjoys their time watching YouTubers whilst also playing educational games like Minecraft, is this really something to worry about? As long as there is a healthy balance with other social activities, we don’t believe so.
And we’re not the only ones, even the London School of Economics is now championing the benefits of screen time
Games developers have focused on the potential social and family benefits of games, and there are hundreds of games that promote interaction compared to when I was a kid playing on my Spectrum in my bedroom. Many of the games that children enjoy today like Fortnite are educational, co-op games that can be enjoyed by playing along with family and friends – encouraging problem solving, teamwork and communication. There’s also a wave of new family games that are available that combine screen and physical play or ‘Augmented Reality’ which are also a great alternative to just using tablets on their own. Games like Beasts of Balance and Lightseekers were extremely popular with visitors to last year’s Digital Kids Show.
If you’re worried about the dangers of online gaming, this is an entirely different arguement and rightly so. Parents should understand the potential risks. Talking regularly with your child, understanding what they like watching/playing, ensuring parental controls are set up and playing games that you believe are age appropriate for your child is an absolute minimum. ‘Parental Guidance’ is a practice that our friends at iNet Guardian are passionate about. Check them out if you have any questions about your child’s online behaviour.
If you’d like to learn more about why your kids enjoy games, online content and how technology could even help them in their later life through coding and other digital skills, then you should get down to Digital Kids Show for a family day out in Manchester and London (coming soon). You can even get involved and be a big kid yourself!
Half Day tickets are available now from just £14.75 + booking fee. Book your tickets here https://www.digitalkidsshow.co.uk/book-tickets-manchester/