If you care for kids then juggling home and work life can be crippling – made even worse when the buzz is that kids are getting addicted to online gaming…here are some sensible ideas from the SmallBusinessMarketingCoach.net…
Recently the media has been highlighting childhood gaming addiction, with the popular ‘video’ game, Fortnite, coming under fire. In 2018 the World Health Organisation (WHO) stated it had identified online gaming as a medical disorder which will means it may be treatable by the NHS here in the UK.
In spite of the hype, it is a sad fact 4% of youngsters are clinically at risk of internet addiction (WHO). Fortnite is certainly not the only game under scrutiny but certainly is the most popular video game in the world with 40 million monthly players.
To help prise the kids from their screens, DS2 (aged 15) came up with a list of 20 fun (and mostly free/earn pocket money from!) things to do instead of sitting in front of a screen the whole of the summer holidays. (I am, of course, going to be quoting these back at the said 15 year old when he is nose to screen).
With a plea to parents – be authentic…if the kids are going screen free, make sure you do too – avoid the ‘do as I say not as I do’ scenario!
1. Play back garden sports – hold your own Test Match, Wimbledon or Football World Cup tournament.
2. Take your dog – or someone else’s – for a walk (ask first, don’t just take them!) or clean pet beds and bowls or simply play with them.
3. Go to the cinema – your local independent cinemas is a gem – support it this summer.
4. Visit a museum or historical place – we are close to Kirkstall Abbey which is free to look round.
5. Talk to (phone, Skype, Facetime – yes they may need the screen for this one!) or visit a grandparent
6. Play a board game like Monopoly…we seem to have a fetish for this board game with about 9 variations! Most of these versions go on, and on, and on…so will keep them busy!
7. Sort out old toys and games and sell them with parents’ help AND PERMISSION! Take a look at Ebay/Gumtree/Facebook selling sites/Schpok/boot or garage sale.
8. Look out for organised events for kids on your local council and community info boards.
9. Visit the library – our local library holds events and readings for all ages, and advertise what else is going on in the area.
10. Help with the weekly shop and create their own list (with a little supervision or their basket will be full of energy drinks and chocolate.) When ours were quite little they’d push a tiny ELC trolley to fill from their ‘list’, however once over about 3 feet in height that wouldn’t quite work – not as cute…
11. Set up water slide – we use a large bit of plastic sheeting and a water sprinkler. Hill not needed just a bit of a run up…
12. Go out with friends and create mischief – then the parents will have you back in front of the console! (DISCLAIMER – do not do this, 15 yr old slipped this in…)
13. Use stop motion technology to make a film. There are fantastic apps for tablets which help with this – they’d need their screen, but this is creative…LEGO people are brilliant for this.
14. Get in the kitchen – bake, cook or make – it will be chaos but think of the benefits – cake and less screen time – winner all round…
15. Earn some money! House clean, car washing or lawnmowing (one friend says that since they got a Karcher, the kids LOVE cleaning.)
16. Helping upload photos from phones/tablets/digicameras to an online photo storage system or order your favourites as prints or a book.
17. Learn to skim stones – being awfully careful of the water and not hitting other people with the stone of course – we live near a landing on the River Wharfe is a fab place to do this.
18. Set up an obstacle course and time yourself and friends – you could add ‘faults’ like in show jumping for added fun!
19. Put on a play – and of course mum, dad, neighbours, grandparents et al would LOVE to be your audience…
20. Raise money for a charity – let the kids think up something THEY WANT to do – might be making something to sell or an activity they can get sponsored for – the neighbours may be delighted they are doing a sponsored silence!!
If you or your kids are especially worried about screen time or things that happen online, here are a couple of useful UK websites:
www.bbc.com/ownit – offers useful advice on all aspects of a kid’s online life.
First published in the Community mag I am Voluntary Editor for – Causeway.