With gaming addiction on the rise as the NHS launched its first national pilot programme for treating 12 to 20 year old online gaming addicts and the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) announced to classify gaming addiction as a medical disorder in 2018, there appears to be a real threat on the horizon. So, what can be done?
Parents need to set clear rules
In order to “train” children from early on how to discipline themselves with their use of online activities, adults can support them by leading as an example of course. The rules they set for the use of online gadgets should apply to everyone in the household, however, children must also understand that they have different needs. See some of the expert tips by iaps.uk on how you can establish and manage such rules:
- Creating a rule book for online use at home and outside – if someone breaks those rules a possible penalty like a reduction of screen time could be agreed.
- Limiting screen time and ensuring you can get access easily to your child while they’re engaged with a gadget, e.g. they’re not locked in their room
- Agree no screens before school – at mealtimes – at bedtimes
- Trial OUR PACT – an app allowing you to switch off the apps on your child’s phone, and to a schedule
- Trial CIRCLE WITH DISNEY – an application that claims you can manage all devices in your home setting time limits and turning off individual apps.
- Young people can download FOREST helping them to control their own screen time. They plant a seed and a forest grows in the app, the more time you spend on your phone less trees grow. Proving popular with young people to help focus during exam times.
Children need to analyse and reflect their own online activity
Nowadays, many smartphones and tablets offer monitoring tools, which allow the user to see how much time they spend using certain apps or doing specific online activities. There are also online products to help you with that such as Norton Family Premier, which can be used on all devices the children use at any time.
Look at the results together and discuss reasons and solutions for reducing screen time. Let your child come up with reachable targets for their online activities so they can achieve them. Agree on other activities they can do with the time they save being away from their gadgets to offer motivation.
If you feel you need more guidance in this matter have a look at the informative and resourceful website “Digital Parenting Coach” where you can download a guide for parents amongst other useful tips.
Another way to empower children to learn managing their online presence safely and responsibly first hand is to start their own blog or online journal. Under adult supervision creating and running a blog can offer the learner many opportunities to improve their digital skills to become an educated digital citizen. More information about how to start a blog and e-safety can be found on our UK Education Blog: https://education.clickdo.co.uk.