‘One hour max. Choose what you want to do in that time and then it’s going off.’ Sound familiar?
Yesterday we took Noah and Ella out for the day and we stopped off in our local eatery for a bite to eat. Brilliant I thought, before sighing inwardly as I sat down and then glanced around the room. It’s the summer holidays, parents are obviously tired of being their children’s entertainer and are wanting a breather, so they’re giving in to the demands and handing over their iPad or phone for some peace.
And that’s it. The children’s eyed are glazed over, into another world. Not communicating, just zoned out on the screen. Now in this instance one of my children will try and push the ‘no screens at the table’ rule to be told ‘no.’ But they’ll try. Then I feel under pressure to sit them in a position whereby they can’t see other children with screens or distract them with something else to do.
So why on Earth did my family create an app?
‘We’ve created this app because we have the solid belief that if our children are going to spend time using a tablet then we’d rather that they’re also learning something in that time. That they’re progressing skills whilst having fun.’
Tech to talk.
Let’s face it, we live in a digital world, we communicate more often than not by technology. Not just between each other, but every brand and business uses tech to talk to its consumers. In a world that is constantly progressing and becoming more technical, more digital, more conversational in these methods, I want my children to have a healthy experience with it and knowledge of how and when to use it.
I don’t want to stop all contact with technology – it might curb their interests and stop them from becoming their generation’s computer whizz. But, I want them to learn when it’s appropriate to use the technology and when it’s not. Call it time management for young groupies or something hip.
I guess it’s teaching the balance between using a gadget when you need it and for the child to not rely on it as their sole source of fun, or from the parent’s point of view, as a silencer.
We herald adventure in the every day.
We do this as a family and always have done – make every day an adventure whether it’s making a den out of the climbing frame at home, camping at a friend’s house or kayaking in local sports teams. So our aim with DiaryZapp was to ensure that children are getting off their screens and exploring, or playing something fun, seeing friends, then capturing those carefree memories on a digital diary where they can import their photos and draw around them if they want to.
To be honest, it’s quite good fun for adults to do too! There’s no pressure on parents for every day to be one big expensive adventure, children are asked by the Zappicons ‘What made you giggle today?’ What did you learn today.’ So even if they haven’t left the house that day they’ll still have something to write about and expand their literacy skills.
Because we know that realistically kids also want to watch Peppa Pig or play on Minecraft within their daily screen time, we’ve designed the user experience so that the child can draw or write about their day, win extra points for doing so, save and share it with their friends all within 10-15 minutes. If they want to spend the hour hour playing with the in-built stickers and unicorn hats then that’s fine too, but it can be done relatively quickly and impart knowledge in that time. Just ten minutes a day during the summer holidays can curb the threat of summer learning loss.
If it helps, these are our screen time rules:
- One hour a day.
- No screens in the bedrooms.
- We use Amazon Fire tablets for kids, so that we can control the settings and usage.
- No screens at the table whilst eating.
Let’s unite and use these rules together and engage with our children when we take them out for some supper.