Are you concerned that your child is a digital addict?

There is little doubt that we are now living in a digital age.  We seem to be swimming in a sea of technological gadgets and devices.  Even adults can find the sheer volume overwhelming – but what might it be doing to our children? Are you concerned that your child is – or may soon become – a digital addict?

Today the array of devices and gadgets available is considerable, ranging from television to computers to tablets, smartphones and MP3 players – to name just a few.

Concerns about some of these – such as the television – may have been around for decades. But others are more recent and the profusion of still more devices appears to grow all the time, with the development of new technologies limited only by the human imagination.

An independent study from Foresters (the international financial services and membership organisation ) revealed that the average family will only spend 4.4 hours in a weekend socialising together without technology, meaning a real lack of family quality time.

Some research suggests that children between the ages of 8 and 18 spend a staggering seven and a half hours a day feeding their digital addiction – whether this is by watching television, surfing the internet, playing video games or using their smartphones or tablets. Yet other research reveals that more than 20% of parents have no idea what their children may be viewing online.

As our children show signs of becoming digital omnivores, devouring technology on several platforms (often all at once!) the statistics make it difficult to understand how children are finding the time to do anything else – even the most basic of activities like going to school, eating and sleeping. And that is precisely the problem. Immersed in their increasingly digital world, children are finding it more and more difficult to relate to people in the real world and recognise the range of emotions others may feel.

The National Literacy Trust polled 35,000 children and discovered that only 25% of them did any reading outside the classroom, with 20% of them being embarrassed even to be caught reading something as old fashioned as a book.


If these are issues you identify in your own child’s behaviour, perhaps it is the moment to take time out. The Tech Timeout initiative is a campaign aiming to restore a healthy dose of reality to family life – and the goals of the campaign couldn’t be simpler.

It can be summed up by the simple act of turning it off – whatever the digital device or gadget, it has a switch. The switch lets you turn it off. And with the device turned off you might re-establish your bonds with your children (and your partner too), rekindling the art of conversation and actually involving yourselves more closely in each other’s real lives.

What may come as a mixture of surprise and relief is the fact that the Tech Timeout challenge encourages a relatively minor step in the right direction – spending just an hour a day for a week together as a family, with the electronic digital devices safely switched off.

Take the challenge

If you are worried that your child may be becoming a digital addict, if you yourself are headed that way, or if the distance is growing between you and your partner, you might want to pick up the challenge and take your own timeout.


About the author:Steve Dilworth is MD of the Member Network UK at Foresters, the international financial services (FS) and membership organisation. He has extensive experience within the charity and FS sector, with a First Class Honours Degree in Economics and a Degree in FS. He is Chair of Soho Ltd, a subsidiary of Soho Housing Association, and Chairs Bromley Neighbourhood Police Panel. In 2012 he was elected as a Community Champion for the London Borough of Bromley.


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22 Responses to Are you concerned that your child is a digital addict?

  1. Our addiction to technology or digital thing is somewhat alarming nowadays. It certainly has the benefit in our daily lives but it also affects our health. Do not overindulge into it especially among our youth.
    Dizkarteng Noypi recently posted..Kwento Mo Sa Pagong (KMSP)- Si Mang SAY, Mang SAK, at Mang SWAMy Profile

  2. Thankfully, we practice limited screen time at home so no one in the family is a digital addict.
    Kim | Mom On Duty recently posted..Sofia the First Flies to the Philippines for a Royal Meet and GreetMy Profile

  3. A nephew of mine falls into this category. Sometimes it becomes a problem when he puts going online over his chores.
    Rainbow Journal recently posted..Abé Restaurant Review: Good Food for Good Friends at AbéMy Profile

  4. michi says:

    It is really hard to entertain kids today, unlike before when gadget is not popular. I try to limit my online time too so my son will follow..
    michi recently posted..Mother’s Day at Solaire: Choose from Discounted Room Packages and Dinner Set MenuMy Profile

  5. I am a little bit concerned. But I told my husband this afternoon that I’m hiding the iPad and only giving it to him when we go out for lunch/dinner so that he’s entertained when eating. The rest of the time, he’ll have to make do with his toys and books. Gadgets take so much of their attention and honestly, having to call his attention many times doesn’t sit well with me and his Dad.
    Roxi | Mr. Jacob’s Mom recently posted..Summer CleaningMy Profile

  6. One of the things I wish we didn’t do was buy the tablet and allowed our kids to play computer games. It’s been so hard controlling their use and is one of the major issues we have at home nowaday. Grrrr.
    May De Jesus-Palacpac recently posted..5 Blockbuster reasons why you should go to Movie Stars CafeMy Profile

  7. Ria Hazel says:

    I’m not a Mom but sometimes, I cringed at parents who makes children have facebook accounts at a young age. Sana some are really responsible because there are a lot of not so nice things in the internet nowadays.

  8. Roch says:

    My aunt and uncle have taken the timeout since the doctor advised that their kid should not play with anything digital. He’s now about five years old and does know so little words because he just kept on playing games on the iPad.
    Roch recently posted..A Digital Anatomy: What Filipino Online Entertainment Is Made OfMy Profile

  9. Loila says:

    I don’t have a child but when it comes to the usage of gadgets should be considered nowadays and yes it would be better to have some rules to be applied.
    Loila recently posted..That Sweet Round SkirtMy Profile

  10. Franc Ramon says:

    I think even if its more convenient it’s better to set ground rules when it comes to tablets.

  11. I have a son with special needs and though it was hard to wean him off the gadgets I knew that it had to be done
    Leira Pagaspas recently posted..Yoshinoya Gyudon Eating ContestMy Profile

  12. papaleng says:

    Luckily, my apo is not a digital addict. ha,ha, ha… Her mom always try to schedule his digital ek-ek activities.
    papaleng recently posted..10 Fascinating Birds That Start with The Letter YMy Profile

  13. Everything that is much is bad. So that simple sentence says it all. Not buts and explanations.
    Michael David Oyco recently posted..List Of Online Buy & Sell Sites In Manila, Philippines: PH Buy and Sell Internet MarketMy Profile

  14. Pal Raine says:

    I know this is a challenge for me as a single mom. I have two teenage daughters but the only problem I have for now is my eldest daughter. I think my eldest daughter is one of the digital addict. Oh no, do I have to panic now? What should I do? She loves to play with her tablets or in our PC. And always have her cellphone even if it’s already drained, selfie here and there!
    Pal Raine recently posted..SUMMER FASHION COLLECTION of Miss Teen Philippines 2014-Davao Regional FinalistsMy Profile

  15. jane says:

    i am so guilty of this my daughter got an ipad, iphone and her own laptop. though when she does her homework there’s no gadgets or anything and can only use it until 5pm she’s in school without any gadgets from 7am to 3pm
    jane recently posted..Malaysia’s Largest Clothes Buffet 2014My Profile

  16. Patty | MrsC says:

    I take it upon myself to strictly monitor my kid’s gadget time. It’s tough coz it takes a lot of extra effort on my part, and also because I need to think of other ways to keep him busy. It makes a huge difference though. He’s been less moody, more attentive, and he does better in school now that I’m doing this.
    Patty | MrsC recently posted..Mmm-MapleMy Profile

  17. Mommy Pehpot says:

    My kids are not digital addict naman, they play outside and also read books from time to time. In a way kase ayaw ko din ng masyadong exposed sa gadgets, kahit ako, hindi maka gadget, if not for blogging, I wouldn’t be online :)
    Mommy Pehpot recently posted..Holy Week 2014 Mall SchedulesMy Profile

  18. MY daughter seldom plays with her tablet. She play more with her cousins because she likes hide and seek, lutu-lutuan, and habulan.
    Peachy @ The Wandering Peach recently posted..Lunch at Villa Escudero – San Pablo, LagunaMy Profile

  19. We usually have limited time for gadget use for our 3-year old son, that applies to me and my husband as well. Even, tv – it’s been 8 months that we have not turned it on but we don’t really miss it.
    Que Sullano – Gavan recently posted..Fun, Fitness & FriendsMy Profile

  20. Ditas says:

    I think this is a problem with our little man especially this summer time. He’s been at hooked to every digital device in the house. I’ve been encouraging him to go out and play.
    Ditas recently posted..New Life, New Beginning, New Wardrobe?My Profile

  21. David Ryan says:

    I used to be a digital addict. Now I’m kind of reformed. Feels good to stay connected with the real world.
    David Ryan recently posted..SnowVigateMy Profile

  22. Marie says:

    Honestly, I am one of those that prefer not to over expose my kids to tablets, smartphones and computers. I prefer ti wait until they are a little older.
    Marie recently posted..Pageant Diaries| Mrs. Philippines – Globe 2014: Empowering Session and OrientationMy Profile

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