At NurseryBook HQ, we have been talking a lot recently about National Unplugging Day, a day where parents and childcare professionals can pledge to switch off all technology for 24 hours and connect face-to-face with children instead.
It is, of course, easier said than done. Smartphones keep our lives in sequence, providing us with music, news and entertainment. Meanwhile smart tablets have taken over from the bulky computers we once huddled over, and we now walk around constantly with a digital sheet of paper. We check school times through the school’s website and we choose the best nurseries and child-minders through a selection of digital reviews. Technology is at our fingertips, who can blame us from taking advantage of it? In a world where we look at our smartphones over 200 times a day, can we manage without it for one whole day?
NurseryBook passionately believes you can use technology to make children’s lives better; we’ve developed an EYFS app that gives carers more time to play and helps parents engage in children’s early years learning journeys even when they aren’t physically there. It must be acknowledged that we can all be a little too reliant upon – and distracted by – our tablets, phones and laptops. National Unplugging Day is a day that helps us remember and appreciate the days that you and I grew up with, the days of hopscotch, bike rides, trips to the playground and distinctly not a glimpse of Google.
Despite the benefits of digital technology, there is a balance to be struck. MyFamilyClub.co.uk, a leading parenting website, found on average parents spend equivalent to four hours a day on their smartphones. There is no denying that this has a huge impact on their relationships with their children. Technology can make life easier in so many ways but, when it comes to your children’s development, there is nothing more powerful than turning off the Kids TV and engaging fully in playtime.
National Unplugging Day is a great start and raises awareness of this critical issue, but we want its sentiment to continue every day. Technology can and should enhance the modern lifestyle but it must never replace face-to-face communication.
Dr K. Young runs an internet addiction clinic and really emphasises that parents should not give young children technology as a reward, and instead do tasks together. Dr Young believes strongly that internet awareness should be incorporated in antenatal classes!
NurseryBook warmly supports National Unplugging Day because it is in line with our message; to give all children the best possible start by increasing engagement from parents and carers. And those of us with children all pledge to switch off for at least 24 hours! National Unplugging day is not a step back from technology, but it is a step away from our reliance on technology. Let’s find a balance that allows children to experience the active and engaging childhood we had, with skipping ropes, painting and taking time to indulge in the words and feel of a real book not a Kindle.
Support #Unplug2015 with #NurseryBook and pledge to #GoGadgetFree on the 28th June 2015 and beyond!